Now before I go into this let me say I am not for one second presuming to teach anything to any one, there may well be clubs who consider a blue belt a worthwhile coach but I certainly would never presume and the Forge has far far better proponents of the art than me. If you want to learn technique, a move, an escape or any of these things go and see John or one of the purple belts if not him. All I am suggesting here is something which John and others passed onto me and made a big difference to me and my game.
It is a simple thing but when I first started like many people I acted the complete opposite way as that intuitively felt like the way to go. The advice is, slow it down, take a breath, get your head up and think about what you are going to do. Now in a fight type scenario this seems contradictory after all surely you need to go 100Mph to be the best don’t you?
Well no in all honestly you don’t and this is also illustrated by another sport which looks like it is doing just that but in reality isn’t, the 100 metres sprint. Look at the top guys such as Usain Bolt and when you see them in slow motion what is the one thing that is always commented on, answer, how relaxed he is. In fact a few sprinters have suggested that it is not how fast you run but in fact how slowly you slow down that makes the difference. Most runners hit top speed at between 50 and 60 meters and it is all slow down from there so the one who to use an common term ‘gasses’ the least and can slow down more slowly will win of course there will always be the odd anomoly.
This is very much the case I have found in BJJ, for example there is one lad who is getting very good, and is also very strong but worries about being on the bottom against me, so he charges in as fast as possible at the offset. I no longer even try to fight back against it I just weather this storm and survive until he starts to slow down which he always does and then I more often than not end up on top and he will tap generally because he has nothing more to give. It happened in the recent Carwin v Lesnar fight, one man gave all he had as fast and as hard as possible and when the fight did not end he had nothing left. The thing is that if your opponent starts off so fast and furious that when the pace starts to drop no matter how fast they are still going you feel it is getting easier and they feel it getting harder so the psychological game is tilted towards you as well. I try and tell new starters to watch the likes of John and others when they roll and watch the slow patient control with controlled bursts of energy. Many think that a fast start against a big guy like me will win it for them but if it doesn’t and they go from 10 to 5 to 1 very quickly and I keep at a consistent 5 or 6 (more likely 3 :-)) throughout the roll then by the end it will feel much worse for them.
John also stated that another thing I was doing while going hell for leather was just reacting, not thinking ahead and not grabbing and pinning things for a forward plan but just because I thought I should. This also leads into trouble as you may well escape nine moves but the tenth will get you and so on. Also you have no plan of where you are going so all you are doing is prolonging a fight until you get more and more tired and the fight ebbs away from you.
It is something which works for me and has changed my ability to compete and keep competing, I even put down my decent Seni showing to the fact that I took it steady and worked for positions slowly and methodically with patience, keeping some stamina back. Also John, Chaz and Kerry yelling in my ear helped 🙂