Thursday, March 8, 2012

Always Keep Moving

I have been trying to break a bad habit in the past few months. When I am grappling and get into a scramble and end up in a bad position, I have had the bad habit of stopping in the bad position for a little bit. For example, I am defending guard and someone passes and gets to side control. I would pause in side control for a few seconds. Part of it was being tired. Part of it was thinking about what to do next. Part of it was just feeling a little defeated, I guess.

But Fabio pointed out that, in a tournament, the person has to establish the position for 3 seconds before they get the points for it. If I keep moving, I might be able to escape before they get points for establishing the position.

So, lately, when I am grappling, it is my goal to never stop moving. If I don't know what to do, oh well. I try to just go with my instincts and see what happens. Doing that has been helpful because I am learning new ways I can move.

I try to ignore being tired. Last night a guy was passing my guard and we were scrambling. He was moving around on top of me with a lot of pressure and I was folding and hipping and folding, trying to return to guard. My muscles got so tired that, at one point, my whole chest felt like it was constricting and I felt a little panicked because I could not breathe. But I pushed through that panic kept moving until I got to my guard where I could rest for a second. It is amazing how my mind wants to give up before my body actually needs to.

If I am in a bad position and I am tired, thinking about escaping can be overwhelming. The thing that helps me the most when I am that tired is to focus on basic principles and small steps like, "I need the underhook here. Work for that underhook. Good. Now I need to hip out. Inch, inch, inch. Good." When I only work on a few steps at a time, it makes it seem like less of an impossibility. It also takes my mind off a negative fact--that I am in a bad position--and keeps it focused on a positive action--what I can do to escape.

There are a lot of times where I still run out of gas and have to pause in a bad position. If I absolutely have to stop, I defend my limbs and neck, breathe for a few seconds, then start inching and moving again.

The main things I am looking for with all of this constant movement are:

1. To move my limbs out of danger.

2. To create space for an escape.

3. To get my opponent off balance for a sweep.

4. To look for the chance to go on the offense (to attack something when someone is moving between positions, usually).

A teammate of mine who is a higher rank than me grappled me recently and, after a scramble, put me in a choke. Usually he lets me work out of submissions, but this time, he went for the tap. When I tapped and said it was a nice choke, he responded with, "Yeah, you were wriggling out of things so much and being such a pain in the ass I had to choke you." LOL. I take that as a compliment, sir. Hopefully I will get better at it.


Gina said...

This is so important! Our instructor always says the easiest way to escape from a bad position is to not get put in it in the first place, so he's always reminding us to not just "accept" it.

Jim said...

I'm a white belt, and I love reading points like this. A lot of the time, in my haste to try to catch up in the sheer amount of knowledge of positions and maneuvers and submissions that I need to learn, the philosophy of how and why to do certain things escapes notice. I do exactly what you're talking about here -- stop and assess the situation with every change in the grapple. Next time I roll, I'm going to try to remember what you've said here and apply it to my game.

Megan said...

Gosh I do the same thing. It's so hard to shake. said...

Same here. Great post Allie.

Ashley said...

Great post!

I can so relate. The combination of tiredness and mental defeat can be brutal. I think that is why competition is such an invaluable part of BJJ. It really pushes our mental boundaries. If we weren't training for tournaments, would we really care that much about that? I know I wouldn't, but I'm not as competitive in regular class as some people I know...

Dragon Lady said...

This is a great post. I completely relate. I've been working to keep this in mind whenever I roll. I can tend to get a little defeatist and give up when I'm in a bad situation. My hope is that if I just try to keep moving it might help me move away from this mentality. said...

Thought about this post as I rolled yesterday. Never realized that I had such a bad habit to break.

Liam H Wandi said...

Excellent post. Jiu Jitsu and grappling aside, it's a great way of looking at life too.

Great write-up Allie.

Megan said...

Just read this again and got something else out of it.

"Ignoring being tired"...I really, really need to try that.