I’ve been meaning to say this for the last month or two, but kept forgetting by the time I get around to writing these monthly reports. But: I feel like I’m finally past that plateau (cliff, doldrums, whatevers) that was plaguing me. I’m out of that feeling of despair and “why do I do this to myself?” I feel better about my jiu-jitsu (though it itself likely isn’t actually much better; I just don’t feel so anxious about it).
I think things started to turn around when I made the decision in September to stop letting people play around with me and instead to start focusing on my own intentions in rolls. (For example, if a guy had wanted to play spider guard and so grabbed my cuffs and started to put his feet in my biceps, I used to let him do all that with minimal resistance, and then I would work against his spider guard — but somewhere in my head was the notion that I shouldn’t be trying too hard to pass or get out because my partner was trying to work something. [Or if I did pass or get out, I wouldn’t fight too hard to prevent them from recovering to the same place.])
Now I try to do what *I* want to do in a roll. Do I want to pass your guard? Yes, yes I do. Do I want to let you get those spider guard grips? Oh, heck no, pal; we’re not going there. Do I want to make mount miserable for you? In fact, I do, and you can bridge all you want, but I’m staying glued to you. I’m trying to anticipate them, yes, but so I can block and thwart and go for my own stuff. I try not to be accommodating to what my partner is trying to do. If I’m passive now, it’s because I’m trying to wait for the right moment to move, not because I’m letting my partner play their game. And there have even been a few times — the tournament, for one, and some bursts in training rounds — where I have so focused on doing what I want to do (and not on what my partner wants to play at) that I’ve had an almost out-of-body experience and have escaped, swept, and attacked relentlessly. Next step: harness/trigger that.
I still find myself dropping back in to my old habits sometimes, particularly when I’m already tired or am otherwise thinking of rolling defensively. But I think I’m getting better about recognizing when I came in to a round with the wrong mindset. I’m still having trouble switching from the “playing around” mindset to the “intentional working” mindset within a single class; if I get in the “playing around” mindset for one roll, it’s hard to transition over to the other for the next. (Although, hey, wait, I did it last night! When I rolled with Aubrey first and then once more later, while still rolling normally with all the regular guys. Yes! It’s possible! I’ve also had a mental block when rolling with one particular guy and would always drop in to “playing around” with him, but I was actually working against him last night. Progress! I sees it!)
So, hey, look — it’s a progress report that actually reports some real progress!