Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm Doing it Again

Why is it that every time I do well at something in BJJ I start to doubt myself? I didn't have a great night last night. Nothing really horrible, I just didn't feel like I rolled well.

We worked take-downs and had 1 minute sessions practice take-downs against a teammate. I suck at take-downs. Plain and simple. Here's a break down of my problems with take-downs:

- I'm scared of hurting my knees. I had ACL surgery on the left one in 9th grade and it's always been weak and I pulled the right one about two months ago doing take-downs in class.
- I'm too cautious. Not aggressive enough.
- When I do go, I don't commit enough.
- I don't have the timing down.
- My technique is shaky at best since I've not practiced take-downs.

Steph is getting ready for February NAGA and she wants to practice take-downs, so I'm going to practice with her. It will be good for both of us. I need to get over this take-down fear I have.

Rolling went a little better, but I went with another white belt, teenage boy and I felt like I was scrambling to keep him from passing my guard. He would just explode into crazy motion and try to literally throw my legs out of the way. I think he did end up getting past once, but I was able to get back to guard. In the end, I didn't feel like I put forth a solid grapple.

And herein lies my issue. My instructor gave me two stripes last Saturday, so now I have three. Three stripes on a white belt isn't that impressive, but even so, I feel like I have to prove that I really deserved those two stripes. Not just to my other teammates, but to my instructor as well. If I suck in class, maybe he'll think he shouldn't have given me the stripes, you know?

Here's why I know I'm retarded: First, I shouldn't be so worried about how good or bad other people think I am. I should just come in and train and leave the drama at home. Second, Ben wouldn't have given me stripes if he wasn't sure I deserved them. And he's not going to change his mind based on one bad day I had. Third, even if someone thinks I don't deserve my stripes, who cares? I don't do BJJ for them. I do it for me.

I have got to get over this self-doubt thing. I mean, yes it's good to be humble. But I ruin my game by worrying so much about sucking. I'm going to make this an exercise in self-confidence. I'm going to refuse to allow myself to even think about whether or not I'm rolling well. I'm just going to roll and focus on what I'm doing.

At least, that's the plan. ;)

Before I sign off, here's something you don't see every day. Icicles on an orange tress. It just ain't right!!!


leslie said...

Bad nights happen. Frequently. I think if you aren't having bad nights or rolls then you probably aren't rolling with people who are challenging you or are sticking too much with your tried-and-true techniques.

Nearly every night since getting my blue belt, I've wanted to take it off, hand it back, and tell my instructor I don't deserve it yet. But I realize that he didn't decide on a whim on that night to give me my belt; he decided well before that, based on several days, weeks, and even months of seeing me in class. One roll, one night, or even one week of not doing well doesn't negate everything I know and have done right before. (The irrational part of my brain still wants to give the belt back, though!)

Also, if class was working a lot of takedowns, especially to start, and if you don't like working takedowns, that probably threw you off your mental game and also completely skewed your perception of how you were doing.

I, too, suck at takedowns and am mostly scared of them. My list of "why" looks exactly like yours, except I dislocated an elbow instead of hurting my knees. I've found that practicing with a safe and trustworthy partner helps a ton, though I'm still not happy to have to do them.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

1) nobody thinks they deserve promotions. you are always harder on yourself than anybody else is.

2) as for the throws. I HATE getting taken down, but I think if you play smarter, it won't be as bad. Two words for you: Grip Fighting. Your opponent has no idea that you suck at throws. If you walk up confindently and fight for your grips and act like you know some serious judo, a lot of times they will pull guard on you. (works for me).

also, think about your size, strength speed when you decide what types of throws you should work on. a takedown is 2 points whether you flip them over your head or clamp on them and drag them to the ground. So don't feel like you have to use big throws. I like trips like kouchi gari because if I don't get it, I don't expose myself to counters.

If you have a decent open guard, try the monkey flip or sumi gaeshi. if you mess up, you end up with your butt on the ground, but you still have your grips and your feet are on their legs.

jo said...

I incorporated single and double leg takedown motions into my warmups.

I'd do 20 of these during my gym warmup and I got a lot more comfortable with shooting. It helps burn in your muscle memory and is a good warmup for your legs/hips.

Whenever you want to work on something try to find a way to work a drill into a warmup - you get lots of reps that way.

Another tip I have is calm down. You feel like you have to be all intense and stuff because you are doing takedowns, but just like rolling, excessive intensity is just going to mess you up and wear you out. The calmer you are, the better you are going to be. I do much better if I just play at it. Work it over and over again with your friend until you can be relaxed.

Georgette said...

I love the gripfighting-bait-them-to-pull-guard philosophy. For one thing, it eliminates any points for takedowns they might get. Two, you get points for passing their guard and they get tired out in the process.

Dev said...

1. As with everyone else, I advocate the grip-hard-and-hope-for-the-best with regard to takedowns. While I fully believe that hope is not a method, I also have a lot more to worry about than takedowns. At the end of the day, like my Coach says, if you shoot for a takedown and screw it up, all you did was pull guard, and your opponent doesn't gain any points. Worry about something else.

2. Leslie's exactly right - bad nights happen, and it doesn't even sound like a BAD night, just not a good one. So a guy who's stronger than you almost passed your guard.. really? If he DIDN'T make you work for it, then there'd be a problem.

3. And Jo's right - you're thinking too much. Calm down. Let it happen. Work specific techniques, don't dwell on the stripes. Just play your game and make it better.

A.D. McClish said...

@ Leslie: Glad to hear I'm not the only one intimidated by take-downs. I think you're right. I let my crappiness during my take-downs affect how I thought about the rest of the night. And you're absolutely right about Ben not randomly giving us stripes or belts based on the performance of one night.

I think it's ironic that the post I put up before this one was about not worrying about stripes and then the very next day I start worrying about them. ;) I just didn't want my instructor to be disappointed with me.

@ Jo and Dev: You guys are definitely right about me over thinking things to much. That's one reason I think BJJ is good training not only for self defense, but for self confidence as well. If I can learn to react to a grapple in a calm, confident and logical way then maybe I can approach other life issues the same way. ;)

@ H.I.N. and Georgette and everyone else: This is a newbie question, but what is grip fighting? Is that working for underhooks and getting a grip on the neck or elbows?

Thanks for all the encouragement and advice, everyone! Much appreciated!

A.D. McClish said...

Also, Jo. That's a great idea about incorporating some take-down motions into warm ups. I don't step in deep enough of move through the motion quickly enough. Practice will HAVE to make it better, right? lol

slideyfoot said...

I hate takedowns too, and I'm also extremely cautious, so will frequently end up just circling round, very occasionally flailing at a leg. Of course, not such an issue for me (at least for the moment), as I don't really care about competing. Can always pull guard, I guess. ;p

This may or may not help, but my instructor (who has a black belt in judo along with his brown in BJJ) did a bit on grip-fighting a little while ago. Write-up here.

If you're ever concerned about living up to your rank, it is well worth reading and re-reading NSLightsOut's thread. Although this is easier said than done, you should try to always focus on improving technique, not what colour belt you're wearing.

A.D. McClish said...

Thanks, Slidey! As always, your links were very helpful. I think BJJ is going to turn out being something that helps me with confidence in general; not just on the mat but in every day life. Don't worry about what other people think, just try to do what you know how to do and do it well.