Thursday, July 15, 2010

Managing Friends on the Mat

Was tired in class this afternoon. Zombie-like. Getting my shoulder looked at on Monday, but it did fine during the rolls. Unfortunately though Salsa John's guard vexed me for the majority of our grapple. I was trying to pass and wasn't succeeding, so I started to go to my guard. Fabio stopped me. "You were on top, you stay on top. Don't go to your guard. You'll lose two points if you do that in a tournament."


They told me that I give up too early. When the pass doesn't work, I fall back onto what I feel safe with. My guard.

Ironically, we worked some guard passing in drills today and I am REALLY wanting to have a private to focus on that area. What are the main concepts behind breaking guard and where am I getting them wrong? I know some of the answers to those questions, but I want to see specifically where all my dreams of passing are being shattered on the rocky reality of my opponents legs! ;)

We've had lots of new girls come in and try BJJ recently. Some of them stay, some of them go. I always try hard to be friendly and to make their first experience a positive one. Genuinely, I want to see the number of women increase in Jiu-jitsu in general and at our school.

But I am noticing a struggle in myself with some of the girls. Nothing new, but still something that makes me unsure of what I should do. Do I go for things with these girls? Or do I only work defense and let them work? Do I roll for only position and not submit? Do I Go for submissions but just let them escape?

Why all the angst and drama?

I don't want them to be mad at me, but I also want both myself and them to get the most out of the training session that I can. Some of them are like me and want to be challenged. But how much? Do they want me to just make them move? Or do they want me to go for submissions and let them escape or not? I suppose I should just ask individually.

Guys are easier to deal with. BJJ is a fighting sport. So, you get down and you grapple. For girls, there's another layer of social politics thrown into the game. Not all girls are like that, I know. But I have witnessed that in the past.

What I have been doing is to try to do what most higher belts do for me: roll light and work more defense. Or, I roll and look for submissions, catch them, but then let them work out. It depends on the girl. But I am worried sometimes. Did I go to hard that time? Should I have let her escape that triangle? Should I let her pass, even though she isn't using the proper technique and I could stop her?

Most of all, I don't want to do the wrong thing and have them dislike me. I care way too much about other people think. I know. But there it is.

As far as my progression goes. Jiu jitsu is my therapy. I love it, even when I feel like I'm sucking. Right now, coming up on top is a problem. Passing the guard is the problem. Hopefully that private lesson will lead me to a few of the answers. Still enjoying the journey. Hope you all are too.


Liam H Wandi said...

So poetic :)

With regards to the girls and rolling-hard v light. Look for vids of Rickson rolling after a seminar. There's quite a few of them on youtube. He goes very light, and it's not like he doesn't sub them within seconds :) As long as you KEEP THAT IN MIND then you should be ok.

When someone walks into a club, they are scouting for what they might be able to do in x months by looking at someone who's been there x months. Playing a defensive game is (imo) always a winner. You are telling those girls "look at this shizzle! I'm not the strongest or biggest but I can defo survive!! So will you be able to!" At the end of the day, if you can't survive with a beginner irrespective of size and strength (within reason) then what good are is the rest?

As for the top game I can promise you will all my heart that it will change. You will become a top-monkey just like all of us ex-guard-worshippers :) I talked about the upside down picture on my blog i the past (playing guard and half guard is the upside down version of passing guard and playing mount) and when it clicks you'll love it. You'll become dependent on it when you (literaly) find your feet and become hard to sweep. Top-monkey is fun, monkey being the operative word :)

leslie said...

I'm the same way with our new girls -- having such a hard time figuring out how to roll with them. Totally understand the extra layer of girl politics and girl overanalysis. And of course we make it difficult by often saying the opposite of what we really mean! :P

Whatever you decide, if you are letting them play, don't let them do things wrong and get away with it. If it's wrong, show them why, even if it means a submission.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm I didn't realize we were so complicated ;) I just found your blog. I'm a 2-month-in white belt. I remember in my first week some of the really helpful guys would help me by telling me what my goal was (pass the guard) and then would let me do it once or twice during the roll. It made me feel like WOO HOO I DID SOMETHING! :)

I should ask the guys I rolled with how they do it and what they of them is a very large 215# guys, but both my gal friend and I loved rolling with him, even the first week. We felt comfortable, we had fun, etc.

Anyway, just saying hello. :)

A.D. McClish said...

@ Julia: Thanks for checking out the blog! And that's a good way your friend had to approach it. Give them a goal and help them achieve it in a grapple.