Thursday, March 21, 2013

On introspection

Training time is limited. We all have just a few hours to dedicate to the art per week, but we also want to improve, as fast as possible. The school already takes care of the instruction part, but what about rolling ?

Beyond the obvious advice like using technique instead of strength, trying the day's moves, I believe one aspect is rarely talked about: observation, and I don't mean sitting on the sidelines here.
I believe chains of techniques are like streets in a European city. I face a new choice at every intersection. Do I go left or right? At first, I have no idea where the street leads. I spent most of my time as a white belt in that phase. As a blue belt, I would often would forget how I got in a specific position, only to make the same mistake again.

But that wasn't the end of it. At some point, my mistakes started playing in my head in slow motion, even a few hours after a roll. Observation is just that : recognizing the earliest point I messed up and remembering it. This didn't come by itself, however. I started asking people what I did wrong, and that alone was immensely helpful.

So next time you get caught in a bad position or submission, visualize how you got there, what the grips were, where was the weight positioned, etc. You will learn so much more from your rolling, and hopefully make better use of your time.