Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sucking at Something is the First Step to Sorta Being Good At Something

Well, that's comforting. I guess. 

I was talking with a friend of mine, Nick, and we were discussing how having to face-off against competitors who challenge your game/style is an essential part of the growth process in BJJ. 

Human beings are creatures of habit. If we find something that works--a pass, a specific type of guard, a certain submission that no one expects--we will keep doing it. And doing it. And doing it. And doing it. When that happens to me, I start to feel a little bit good about myself. 

And then it happens. People wise up to that sneaky submission, or that unstoppable pass or that unpassable guard. In a tournament, this can be even more shocking/disheartening. You may face off against someone who passes your super awesome guard like butter or who rolls out of your ace-in-the-hole submission with almost no effort. Suddenly, you feel like you're "back where you started". Sometimes it might even feel like you've regressed. 

Of course that isn't really the case. You haven't forgotten the things you already learned. It's just that the people around you have adapted to what they have repeatedly seen from you. Or, in the case of competitors at a tournament, perhaps you are facing a style you aren't used to. 

In both cases, these seemingly negatives are actually positives. Left to ourselves, we might not move away from those tried and true moves we rely on. Grappling people who challenge us forces us to break out of our normal routine and learn new ways of moving. 

Sometimes I hear people talking about how they don't want to grapple certain people or that they don't want to go to a tournament because they are afraid they will lose. To me, this is not a good way of approaching training/competing. In BJJ, losing does not equal failing. If you take advantage of the experience, losing equals learning and growing. 

So your guard got passed. Figure out how they did it and how you can move better to defend that pass. Heck, learn that pass yourself. It worked on you so maybe you can make it work on someone else! So you got submitted. Don't get down on yourself and start feeling like you suck. All it means is that you have more to learn. And that's a good thing. Because if you already knew everything there is to know about BJJ, class would start to get boring. :)

Also, if you are grappling and your focus is on whether or not you are going to lose or win, you will not be able to grapple your best. Instead of concentrating on whether or not you are doing good, concentrate on what you are doing at that moment. Don't worry about whether or not other people are watching and if they think you suck or if they think you are awesome. Be present in the experience at hand and get the most out of it that you can. 


Liam H Wandi said...

Who the hell gave you the right to keep this blog quiet for a whole month? What a fantastic article Allie!

Megan said... the Adventure Time reference...2...congrats on going to purple! I suck for missing that!