I’m learning that working from guard, whether it be you’re in someone’s guard or you’ve got someone in yours, is harder than it looks.
Typically that seems to be how it all works in BJJ. I think to myself, “How hard can it be?” to often find the answer somewhere between failsville and youfuckeduptown. In other, non-imaginary Allison words, it’s always way harder than I thought it was going to be.
It’s just that there are so many details that have to work together to build success.
A hand here. An elbow there. Your butt here. Good posture. Don’t let your shoulder go here. Head up. Knees squeezing. Break the grip. I get one down only to realize that since I concentrated so hard on it that I let another detail slip and suddenly I’m swept on my ass in a bad position. So then I fix what led to me getting swept only to let another detail slip and end up in a different compromising position.
I think this is when you say, “Well, you ARE a white belt, so…”
If you don’t do BJJ you have no idea how many tiny details come into play and how hard it is. I’ve been a huge MMA fan for a large chunk of my life and I just never came close to grasping the absolutely amazing things these fighters are doing on the ground. It still blows my mind how a teeny tiny detail can be the difference in it working and not working. Winning and losing. I’ve always had mad respect for those that get in that cage. Now, I have a whole new level of respect because I realize just how hard and how much work goes into learning and perfecting those tiny little details.
I get now why BJJ typically tends to be the elite martial art and why so many can’t hack it. It takes so many different and challenging components to be successful.
You have to deal with so much defeat and failure and learn to build a mental strength that can handle that.
You have to find a way to see those many, many failures as learning opportunities and not let them get to your head.
You have to focus on the positives, the small victories and keep the negative, “I’m never going to be able to do this” thoughts out of your mind.
You have to have an enormous amount of perseverance and determination and basically an obsession with getting better.
You have to be able to intelligently use your body to avoid dangerous situations or to become the dangerous situation.
You have to recognize what your opponent is trying to do before he’s doing it and shift your game accordingly.
You have to teach your body to switch from flight to fight by overcoming the fear of uncomfortable positions.
You have to learn to use your mind to tell your body that you are stronger than the pain and you can push past it to survive.
You have to teach yourself to calm down and relax in situations where your body would usually tense up or panic.
You have to face your shortcomings head on whether it be gender, age, weight, size, etc and find ways to make it work to your advantage.
You have to purposely put yourself in bad positions and risk losing to learn how to win.
You have to be willing to put yourself out there and constantly try new things.
One of my all-time favorite components of BJJ is how many people on the mat just want to see their peers succeed. I was reminded of that several times over by several different people last night. It made a few moments of extreme frustration easier to get past and kept me going.
Even though my guard and guard passing sucks and everyone smashes and dominates me, I just love BJJ and the people on the mats.