Monday, February 18, 2013

Giving up

Have you ever been intimidated by a darker belt than yours, or that other guy or girl who is supposedly "better" than you? You are not alone! My last post was about how higher belts should perceive lighter belts; this is the opposite. This is advice for the little guy, and I'm not talking about weight, but skill. 

First of all, don't kid yourself, higher belts were in your place, not too long ago. Some of us higher belts might still suffer from "belt blinding" ourselves : we're impressed by darker belts or by those "better" than us. I agree that every bjj student needs to be broken down and rebuilt properly, but this post is not about that. After all, how else will we learn proper technique, if not by unlearning what comes naturally ? This post is mostly about giving up.

People give up in two ways. Some give up before the roll even starts; they set themselves up for defense only, and start reacting desperately to their opponent's initaitives and usually end up tapping shortly afterwards. The second type is more subtle. People are deep into a roll, they might get into a bad position, try to escape a few times desperately, then exhale heavily and lose all muscle strength to eventually tap as well. We've all been on both sides of this fence, and it's understandable, but we really have to make a conscious effort not to fall into our own traps ; the higher belt doesn't need any more help ! Do you want to make the higher belt's life more difficult ? Stall. Resist the sweep. Force your own technique which you KNOW works, especially if it's a defensive move! BELIEVE in it. Hesitation stinks across the gym, and it's hard to resist !

The mental side of jiu-jitsu is extremely important,  Probably the best sort of "mental training" one can do is by competing. Nothing seems to put as much pressure on us than someone good who wants to take our head off. In the end, this pressure is an educational tool. It teaches us to keep our cool when under pressure. The alternative will always be worse off.