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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fun For Everyone?

One of the purple belts at my school, Yeti, likes to use me as a test dummy. I am small(ish) and a baby blue belt, which means that if he is really trying, there's not much I can do to resist. When I say that he uses me as a test dummy, I don't want you to get the wrong impression. He never hurts me. But I have to laugh at myself when he pulls off some sort of crazy sweep to a triangle and then says, "Wasn't that cool? I just saw that on Youtube and wanted to try it."

LOL! Glad to be of service!

And really, I am glad. Because it is a cool sweep to triangle. And while I have no idea how to do it myself, I have no doubt Yeti would help me learn it if I asked. I didn't ask because at the moment I have smaller fish to fry.

One benefit, though, is that now I at least know that sweep to submission exists. Now I can start learning how to defend it. Plus, it was kind of a fun, flippy sweep. Kinda' like when your dad used to flip you up in the air and catch you. Except when you get caught, you get choked. lol


As humbling as it may be to know that Yeti can watch something on youtube and come in and pull it off on me, it's useful for my him to try things on me because he is learning and I am learning at the same time. Fun for everyone.

But what if it's not so fun for everyone?

This past week, I had a private lesson with Fabio. It was fantastic, as always. The major focus was learning how to replace inverted guard with other attacks, sweeps or taking the back. Learned a LOT. More on that in another post. I was eager to try out some of these things.

Fabio had the same idea in mind, so he put me with one of the girls in class twice. The first time was a normal roll. I did what I normally do; grappled enough to keep her moving, catching submissions but letting her work out of them. Then the second time Fabio put me with her, he told her she was only allowed to pass my guard. If she passed, she had to go back and start again. He told us my assignment was to do all the things I had learned.

I did. And it was great practice. But the only thing was that my partner looked really frustrated about mid way through. I was tempted to stop the drill and let her pass and work like before. But I didn't. I kept on trying out my shiny, new techniques. I never hurt her or even finished any submissions. But I think she was frustrated because she spent the entire five minutes getting pulled and pushed and squashed and swept. Hey, I'm not a purple belt. I can't pull these things off as smoothly as Yeti! lol At the end, I felt a little selfish. But at the same time I learned a lot from my clumsy trials and errors in the roll.

Here's the thing. There are only a few people who are A) small enough and B) new enough for me to try out new techniques on with any success. All of them are either girls or teenage boys. Most frequently, I roll with the girls. With some of them, I don't have that same experimental rolling relationship that me and my purple belt friend have. They don't enjoy being test dummies.

So my question is, should I still test? I want to be a good friend and training partner. But I also want to be able to try things out.



I can always try them out of people who are at my level. But to test these things out, I need to be able to practice it without a ton of resistance. Kind of like drilling, you know? And, well, people at my level or higher resist!

14 comments:

Joshkie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SavageKitsune said...

Personally, I don't mind being someone's Test Dummy as long as they don't spend the ENTIRE time smashing me... give me a chance to work some stuff too!

If the person you were working with seemed frustrated, maybe better communication would have helped. She might have misunderstood the point of that one roll, thought she was really *supposed* to pass, and got frustrated when she couldn't. That might have frustrated me, if I hadn't known that my partner wanted a chance to work something specific and the point was not *really* for me to succeed in passing. In her place, I would have appreciated a "Hey, would you mind playing demo dummy for me a bit while I try a couple new things I just learned?"

Joshkie said...

They might be at that stage where they don't know what they want or how hard it's going to be to get there. Question, was it explained to him the purpose of the drill and that there are thing he can be learning from it? Do what you need to do. If they don't have the dedication to learn and persevere, that need to learn it as possible or move on.

Joshkie said...

Sorry still not coherent maybe I shouldn't make posts when I'm just getting off work, dead tiered and a little grumpy.

A.D. McClish said...

@Savage: You know, you make a really good point. She might have thought Fabio was expecting her to pass a lot. I hadn't thought about that. I have been in similar situations, now that I think of it, and it was really demoralizing because I thought I was failing. Thanks for pointing that out!!

@Joshkie: I think you and Savage were riding the same brain wave. And I think you guys might be right. But if that's the case, should I say anything or just leave it be?

I'm thinking that if this happens again, I might just try talking it out with the person after class. Probably what I should have done the other day! ;)

Joshkie said...

Why not up front so there no wasted efort. I'm not shy about asking questions from the instructor or those around me. theres nothing says you cant pause and ask a question, "hey noticed you getteg frustraded." Giver her a pointer or just ask whats going in her head. Maybe ofer to work on something with her after and the like.
Just some thoughts.

SavageKitsune said...

Yeah, talking it out on the spot is always the best course, I think. Misunderstandings abound.

But in the future, I think it's helpful for everybody to know the point of a roll... if the point is for you to be able to practice some new sweeps that you've been drilling the snot out of, it's good to communicate that to yor partner. If I was rolling with a higher belt and she just swept me twenty times in a row, I'd feel frustrated and inadequate- especially if it was the SAME sweep. I'd wonder if she or the instructor was wanting me to figure out how to defend, and if I couldn't- and they weren't giving me any advice- I'd start wondering if the higher belt was just being a jerk and trying to humiliate me.

A.D. McClish said...

Totally makes sense, Savage. Thanks for pointing that out! :)

The Lazy Man's Guide to Grappling said...

This Saturday I was visiting a gym and a guy pulled me in and used a sacrifice throw to flip me over and roll into mount. It totally caught me off guard because that is one of my favorite moves.

As a new guy, I wouldn't have dare tried that as a first time visitor but I guess as the visitor I was fair game.

BJJ Judo said...

Yes you should keep experimenting. Rolling with lower ranked people is an important part of learning new techniques because you often will not be able to make the "new tech." work on a higher ranked students. Not sure what your partner was thinking but let me provide a "possible" different perspective. She may have felt frustrated because she did not think she was helping you. From her perspective her job was to pass your guard and she couldnt. So she may have thought she was not giving you a good training set and getting frustrated with herself for making foolish mistakes. Obvisouly I dont know what she was thinking, but she very well may have been more frustrated with herself than mad at you AND if she has a competitive spirit she would probably be pissed if you backed off.

The Part Time Grappler said...

Everybody wins. The way I see BJJ, it's a vehicle to unlock this amazing person inside each one of us. You are working on technique, but actually, the technique is a vehicle putting you face to face with who you are deep inside: Helpful and kind to a fault :o)

It is also a vehicle of self discovery for this new girl. She was faced with a situation or riddle or challenge she couldn't solve, but was expected to continure trying. What is she going to do? Is she going to rise to the challenge and emerge a stronger person or will she crumble like a cheese soufle?!

At the end of the day, who gives a rat's ass who passes whos guard. the important thing (and this is all my opinion) is what kind of transformation happened. Did Allie put her kindness aside? Did the new girl find pride in her perseverence?

Dev said...

You still have to learn, and the way you learn is by trying stuff, and the way you start trying stuff is on people that you have the best chance of making it work on.

But it's give and take - you have to let them try stuff, too. So for me, I try letting people work for a while, and once they've had their fun I'll try a couple things and release.

Megan said...

Hmmm...afterward how did she react? I know I can look super frustrated while drilling, but it doesn't mean I'll never drill again. I just work through the frustration.

Stephanie said...

Basically whatever one else said. lol

I know I've always been told, and there for you have always been told as well, work what you suck at when you roll with people you out rank.

Otherwise you don't get much out of the rolls where you are the more advanced player.

Though, in the case of people who may be more sensitive, let them know before hand... "Hey I wanna work, this time. Is that okay with you?" And I am sure they would be fine with it.

And in this particular case, who doesn't need to work guard passes? If anyone says, 'me' I'm going to punch you when you aren't looking. Everyone needs to work guard passes.

It is win win for everyone. You get to work on your new fancy moves, and the newer guys get to work at defending them while you still suck at them, so they stand a better chance of being successful.

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