Operation Be More Assertive

This is building off Josh’s “Operation Be More Assertive“, because that’s what I need right now as well. Any other advice anyone gives me is pretty much useless if I can’t be assertive enough to implement it while training.

My issue is the same as Josh describes — “lazy” jiu-jitsu, in that I’m waiting to react and am not insistent on much; I tend to not fight things that my partner wants beyond a small attempt to “technically” block it; I tend to play what they seem to want to play. And, if by some arrangement of celestial bodies I manage to actually be in the right assertive mindset (and — miraculous! — even to have a round or two there!), then something in class will throw me right out and I can’t regain that mode. And, as Josh says, this hurts me in competitions, too, because I’m waiting for things rather than making them happen. (See my last tournament, particularly the round with Ashley where I waited and waited for a takedown opportunity.)

So, the Big 3 Goals are the same as his:

1. Ignore the opponent. Do not be defensive and reactive, do not wait, do not just “play along” with their game. For me, this also means not considering who my opponent is; I tend to have any assertiveness knocked out of me when sparring another woman, no matter her rank (and we have several women now who do not need any coddling at all [and even the newer girls likely don’t, either], but I’ve programmed myself to ease back when I don’t need to, and that doesn’t help either of us.)

2. Don’t give up sweeps and don’t give up ON sweeps. I abandon sweeps too soon (as soon as there’s “hard enough” resistance) and I let a sweep continue too easily (as soon as I feel I have to offer “hard” resistance). Get a little grit.

3. Take risks for submissions. Pfft, I don’t even usually go for submissions when there’s zero risk, so I need the entry-level step for this one: go for submissions rather than just position & control (and waiting for them to escape).

8 thoughts on “Operation Be More Assertive

  1. Interesting. As you know, I have an aversion to aggression, so ‘assertive’ is more appealing. I’m not a competitor, so on the one hand, this isn’t really a big issue for me. On the other, I have exactly the same problems you mention: if the person I’m sparring with is smaller than me or much less experienced, I’ll end up just maintaining position for most of the roll. If they’re bigger and/or better, then I’ll be defending the whole time, normally in the running escape position, until they can smash that and take my back.

    Up until very recently I would also say I hardly ever go for submissions. However, that’s starting to change, at least in the situation where I’m maintaining for most of the roll. That seems like a good place to start, so I’ve been making an effort to go for subs if I’m already able to maintain position on somebody. The next step for me is working out which subs allow me to attack without losing position.

    Thus far, that’s been the americana from mount and side control, the lapel/gi tail choke thing (I’m not sure it has a name, but it’s this and ezequiels. I’d really like to improve chokes in general, as they tend to both be less risky in terms of losing position and are also harder to power out of (unlike, say, me trying to armbar somebody twice my size).

    Out of interest, have you been trying for any submissions in particular? I’m assuming when you’re talking about maintaining position, you’re also referring to side and mount, but then you could of course be talking about some variation of guard or the back. 🙂

    1. Yeah, I like “assertive” better, too. I also feel that if I’m thinking “aggressive,” that my partner picks up on that and responds in kind.

      No idea what submissions I’ll eventually be targeting, the way Josh is. I know I tend to see armbars (and more rarely, triangles), and sometimes my brain thinks that loop chokes would be a good thing.

  2. From what I can recall from rolling with you briefly like 2 years ago, your passing game feeds well into armbars. You should start passing to KoB more if you haven’t already, and then moving directly to the armbar the second your opponents elbow comes up for them to try to block. Farside or nearside, whichever comes up first just nail it.

    For your bottom game it’s mostly dependent on what sweep series you favor. I favor Scissor/Reverse Scissor/Collar drag so my top subs are usually armbar, or bow and arrow choke depending on which sweep I hit in the chain.

    1. You’re right; I am usually right there. Now I just need to be assertive enough to go get the pass, first, and then the submission! 😛

      My bottom/sweeps game is very isolated, because of the non-assertiveness. But I have a few ideas of sweeps that I seem to hit the most: scissor sweep, hook sweep, and an open guard/butterfly lift sweep.

      Also, it’s been too long: we need to roll again.

  3. Just came across “Operation be More Assertive” and it is something that i need to change about the way i roll. At the moment i am the smallest(and oldest) white belt where i train, I’ve got good training partners, but i seem to be in the habit of just being defensive when i roll and just accepting that i am going to be out muscled most of the time.

    My coach has recently told me that he wants to see me being more threatening when rolling, so it’s definitely something i have to work on.

    There are classes where i do roll more assertively, but seem to fall back in defensive mode in the next class.
    So the advice here is definitely a big help.

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