Saturday, February 6, 2010

Overcoming Freindliness

I think I'm having an aggression problem. A selective aggression problem. I don't have any issue attacking the guys with all I've got and trying my best to submit them. I usually fail, but the spirit of I'm-going-to-choke-you-out is at least there. ;) But I've been having trouble rolling normally with the girls at Fabio's.

This isn't because they are super scary or jerks. It certainly isn't because I think I'm so awesome that I don't need to roll seriously against them. It has more to do with the intensity level, I think. They don't go hard when they grapple against me, so I respond by going at the same level. Also, I'm friends with these girls and , if they re just relaxing when they roll, I would feel like a complete jerk going hard on them. What is usually produced is a relaxed, laid back roll in which I don't really go for submissions and just work positions, moving at a slower pace than I normally do.

I was fine with that. But now, my instructor pointed out something that is making me rethink how I've been rolling. He was saying that, if I don't catch those girls in things and they don't catch me, we will develop bad habits that go uncorrected or leave ourselves open or miss submissions, etc, etc. Then, when we go to tournaments, we'll get caught. If we want to grow, we have to get over this whole "friendship" thing and up the intensity of our roll. He is challenging us to go harder. He's not saying we should try to rip each others' arms off or try to hurt each other. But he is saying we are too nice to each other while we grapple.

Have you guys/gals had any similar problems?


leslie said...

Since there are no girls here, I go to Open Mats, largely in Richmond. And then I compete... mostly in Richmond. So I'm competing against the girls I go to train with.

I like those girls, and I want them to like me, and I don't want them to think I'm a jerk, so it takes me a long time to get in to "oh, right, want to win" mode during tournaments. I even have a hard time going harder at the Open Mats, again because I want them to like me.

But when I've competed against girls I don't know, it's a whole lot easier to want to go hard and to want to get her, because I don't care whether she likes me or not.

I was thinking about this a lot on my way home from the last Open Mat.

What about talking to your partner before you start and explicitly saying that you want to practice tournament-level rolling? Then you both know that's what it is, and that it's not a sudden "why is she being so mean to me?" roll.

You can still roll easy at other times and work whatever you're working on.

Liam H Wandi said...

I've never thought about it this way. I'm always very polite with everyone I touch hands with, before during and after the roll. Not because I want them to like me or anything but because I'm very grateful for them to be there and allow me to share BJJ with them. Having said that, I never yank anything or deliberately try to hurt them to get what I want (position or submission) and not just cause of niceties, but because that's bad BJJ. The mechanics should do it for me.

Beyond all that, it's a fighting art. It would be disrespectful not to give them a good roll.

Jiujitsunista said...

I have the same issue.

I always feel like I have to roll easy with people whom I feel I have a change against, and that makes zero sense.

I can go full bore (and fail) against a blue belt guy with out thinking twice, or submit a newbie 10 times a grapple and feel fine about either. (But only newbie guys.. I can NOT submit a newbie girl to save my life! I can get a choke sunk in, but I can't finish it with out feeling like a jerk.)

Then the second I feel like I am making progress on someone who should be about my skill level, I back off.

It makes no sense.

So, I offer you no advice.. just letting you know you are not alone. lol

A.D. McClish said...

@ Leslie: I know exactly what you mean. It's definitely easier to go all out against girls I don't know in competition. Fortunately, the girl's at Fabios aren't going to hold a grudge if I want to roll with more intensity than normal. But I still feel like a jerk when I'm trying to choke a friend out!!

@ Part Time Grappler: Yes, I agree. It's important to be respectful and polite. In this instance, though, my instructor isn't trying to get me to hurt my training partner, but more to go with all I have and use the technique I know without holding back. I think I and some of the other girls just tend to go to the other extreme and we don't roll to our full potential out of fear of going "too hard" on our friends. You know?

@ Stephanie: lol, thanks!!

BJJ Cailín said...

Just start training harder and slowly up the intensity. I generally go pretty easy the first few times I roll with a new girl or guy and if the intensity naturally increases in the first roll, then all the better. Ideally, you should be able to train hard with every person you roll with. Of course as you go up in rank you go slightly easier on newbies and if you are bigger you are more careful with your partner than usual - but always train hard.

Remember training hard does not equal being mean, spazzy, or snapping into techniques. But it does mean going for your techniques like you believe in them every time.

There are no fakes in jiu-jitsu, only counters.

A.D. McClish said...

Thanks, Cailin! Good advice! I'm going to work on it in the next few weeks. Fortunately, I don't have a tournament coming up until June. But I want to make every session count. But I also want to use the appropriate amount of intensity with the people I roll with. Definitely don't want to be one of those people that everyone hates to roll with because I do douche things during grapples!

Dev said...

You know, I'll be the first guy to tell you that competition is a good thing, and you definitely need a game face, but at the same time (and don't tell anyone I said this :)) this is about experience and comraderie and learning. At the end of the day, there are a thousand fantastic fighters who could destroy anybody on the mat who don't compete, who are nice to everyone, and who don't try to kill you in practice. Do you need to be that person? Not at all. But you don't need to have a stone-cold killer mindset either. I agree with Leslie completely - if you're looking to step it up, either know your partner or be up front about it from the beginning. Some people don't want to go hard, but others (and I count myself in this group) enjoy a good tough roll most of the time - bring it on! Just let me know how rough you plan on being, right?

Meerkatsu said...

Non-submission rolling certainly has its place, check out flow drilling for example:

but I do notice I am more, how can I say, mean, no, erm, less playful when I spar with people I don't know. If I see a collar choke, I got for it. With regular partners, I am more playful I guess.

jo said...

I certainly have no issues going all out with guys and I have no issues with taking chances or tapping to them.

Women are different. First of all - I don't have any at my gym that come with any regularity. So 99% of my training is with guys. Personally, I find that when I finally get to roll with women I actually go harder and am more competitive, tighter, and less able to relax. I guess I am just still really competitive with other women.

However, if I already know you via the interwebs or whatever, I do NOT want to roll with you for the first time in a competition. I'd much rather 'get to know you' via flow rolling then regular rolling at an open mat or whatever.

I guess the issue is that I don't have any women teammates that I roll with like a teammate. I roll with all women like competitors - but if you are my friend I would rather roll with you like a teammate. Wow - I'm not even sure that made sense.

Anonymous said...

My nice problem:

I have the tendency to give up dominant positions when I recognize that my partner has no chance of getting out. I'll try to work on something else.

But often when I let them go and they end up getting a good position they won't let it go at all. Others will fight two or three minutes for a tap. I guess for their win columns.

In the short run, no one benefits and I think many fail to realize that if you muscle subs then you aren't being technical. In the long run I get better because I am willing to work at different angles and positions.

Recently though, I realized that a lot of the upper belts (purple, brown and black) don't give away positions either, unless they are absolutely sure they can beat you. I realize that it is what makes them higher level belts. They can control and submit you (even from the bottom) and you can't tap them.

On another note, I don't like to roll hard anyway because I want to do this for decades and not for a few months. Rolling too fast leads to injury. Further, I don't know how long the women you refer to have been rolling but being new may have a lot to do with it. I have rolled with new guys who are gentle as lambs because they are unsure of themselves.

A.D. McClish said...

@ Dev. I agree completely about BJJ being as much about the tea camaraderie as it is about the training. I definitely don't want to be "that girl" that goes around trying to rip people' arms out.

@ Meerkatsu-- I think I do that sort of thing with whitebelts who are newer than me. I just keep moving and, although I ctch submissions, I don't put them on. I just say, "Hey I have your leg," and then let it go and keep going. If that what you (personally) do with lower belts?

@ Jo -- It totally made sense!! I feel the same way. It's a lot easier to choke out someone I don't know! But I have several girls I roll with regularly that I AM friends with and I don't want to cause problems between me and them. How would you handle it if your coach wanted you to up the intensity (not hurt anyone, just move more and go for submissions, when you haven't been) and you're pretty sure your partner doesn't want to?

@ Jiujitsu 365: I definitely have that problem too!! Especially if someone is a stubborn tapper. I'd rather give up the position than pop the ankle. But then, sometimes, the person doesn't realize how uch danger they were in!

A.D. McClish said...

Also, @ Jo: I tried to post a comment on your blog, but for some reason, it wouldn't let me. And I wasn't able to add your blog to my blogroll. Not sure if it's my cpu or something going on with that template or something. Wish I knew even a little bit about computers.

Megan said...

For me it's even hard drilling chokes on people I actually like. The watery eyes and red faces just make me feel terrible.

jo said...

@Allie I have no idea why you wouldn't be able to post. We both have blogger so it should work? When I post on your blog it takes me to the blogger page to do it, I don't actually see your blog when posting.

Also, you said: How would you handle it if your coach wanted you to up the intensity (not hurt anyone, just move more and go for submissions, when you haven't been) and you're pretty sure your partner doesn't want to?

I am not sure. I don't think I have ever had a partner that didn't want to unless they had a specific injury, and then they just wanted me to be careful of it. I think I would probably talk to my partner and say something like "if I am going to hard, let me know and we can adjust."

I mean, the roll is a dialog between two people. It's not nice to shout when they are trying to whisper. Also, I think there is a way to roll that is not all "GRRR" but includes subs and such. Do you guys 'flow roll' much? In flow rolling you are rolling lighter, moving with your partner - no subs, but you can set up the sub without finishing it. Here is a good post about it.

A.D. McClish said...

@ Megan: I totally know what you mean!

@ Jo: Maybe my computer/internet connection was being glitchy. I'll try again.

As far as the training goes, we (as in me and some of the girls) mostly do flow rolling when we go, which is probably why our instructors asked us to go with a little more intensity. I think you're right about being able to roll with intensity without having to use a lot of muscle or trying to take someone's head off. And, what you said about shouting when the other person is whispering is exactly what I was worried about. Hopefully it will work itself out.