Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I don't really have a plan. Part Two

It was so late (for me) last night when I posted that blog that I took some short cuts. I wanted to share more about what Fabio and Ben had to say about reactionary grappling vs having a plan.

Typical to my over-analytical nature, I had come to them because I was concerned that I wasn't "planning" enough in my grappling. I was also curious about the fact that I almost never get techniques the way we set them up in drills. The only time that happens is when it's someone relatively new that I'm rolling with. More often, I'll be rolling and realize I'm at the "half-way" point or at the last few steps of a certain move and I'll jump on it and try to see it the rest of the way through. I wanted to know if that was alright. Should I be setting things up more? Should I go in with an agenda and try to execute it?

In short, their answer was no. Here are the reasons they explained to me:

1.) Plans go out the window because people are unpredictable. So much in BJJ requires using the other person's weight and momentum against them. They push, I pull. They resist, I go another way. It's very difficult to plan in a sport like this because, even if you have a general idea of how a person rolls, they can switch it up at any time. And forcing a technique to happen when you should really move on to something else is not what BJJ is all about.

2.) Your body will naturally go to the things you're good at. I am more prone to working chokes, armbars and triangles from guard. So, unless I am actively thinking about working on something else, that is where I end up. It's not that I plan it, it's just where my reactions take me during the roll.

3.) I do think that it is important to challenge yourself and to work new things into your game, but Fabio said each person's game evolves naturally over time. When you drill something over and over again, it becomes muscle memory. Then, when the situation presents itself in a grapple, you react without even thinking about it. When a new piece of the overall puzzle is becoming a part of your game, you might only get a few steps into the move and then fumble around trying to remember what to do from there. But that is a problem resolved only with more drilling, more grappling and time.

4.) One thing both Fabio and Ben were adamant about was that, if you build your game on trying to study your opponent and coming up with a game plan specifically tailored to beating them, you will end up pigeon-holing yourself. Sure, you might be able to find a hole in someone's game by watching them, and catch them in a tournament. But you will also run into people who are diverse and will switch their game up mid-grapple. Where will you be then? It's better to play your own game and to work diligently in training to be diverse and be able to handle whatever type of opponent comes your way.

So, all of this is aptly summed up by what Ben would probably in response to my worries about not planning enough: Just come in and do your thing. Stop worrying so much.

Happy rolling! :)


Megan said...

Thanks for the reminder of the natural evolution process. It's easy for me to slip and start "artificially" building myself, but like you said, there's value in letting things happen organically.