Before I start I have to preface this with I am not condoning the old school mindset of “beat up the white belt so they pay their dues.” What I am sharing is a mindset for testing out new techniques. Mat bullying is not cool and if you do it you probably suck……and yes I’m watching the Righteous Gemstones.
DUDE! I just watched the best youtube/instructional/social media post! I can’t wait to try it in class tonight!Everyone who has ever watched something jiu jitsu related online.
A quick story we can all relate to.
We have all done it. We watch a video and get all excited about a submission, sweep, pass, etc that we can’t wait to try.
That night in class we can’t wait for the technique portion of class to end so we can pull off this totally sweet new toy.
It’s rolling time and you grab your favorite training partner that is around your skill level or better.
Alright, here we go! Time to revolutionize my game.
You start rolling. Wait….it’s time! GO! This is it!
And I couldn’t do it….that’s ok. No one does something right on their first attempt right?
Ok let’s keep going…..Ohh look it’s time again! GO!
Ok fine…..It will take some time.
You then repeat this for two weeks in a row and no luck.
After two weeks of failure, you finally decide to give up and abandon your revolutionary super exciting new toy.
So what happened?
Does this mean that you suck or that you won’t ever be able to use your new toy?
Nope. When you train with someone that is at the same skill level or a higher level than you it is hard to implement new things.
Why? When we learn to implement new things we are going to make a lot of mistakes.
When you train with good training partners they will recognize those mistakes and take advantage of them.
Now that doesn’t mean that you will never be able to use your new toy against these people. You just need to get better at it before it will work on them.
So how do I get better?
It’s pretty simple. Start practicing your new toy with lower belts.
Instead of trying to submit a Purple/Brown/Black Belt with that sweet new choke, start with a white belt.
You should start with trying your new toy on white belts because you can make your mistakes and quickly recover from them.
It’s also just easier to do things on a white belt since they tend to allow you to do more. This allows you to focus on the fine details instead of having to worry about every step of the process.
A real life example
I am currently trying to get good at using the arm in guillotine.
When I roll with higher belts and try the guillotine I am struggling to get my arms into place for the choke and I worry that if I mess up that I will be giving up a good top position and will have to fight from my back.
So I am trying this on white belts first.
White belts tend to not protect their neck as much so it is easier for me to get the initial grip. Once I get the initial grip I am also able to play around more to see what I need to do to get a tight grip before falling back for the choke.
My guard retention also tends to work really well against white belts. This means that if I fall to my back and miss the choke, I am not worried about getting smashed.
While this is not a 100% answer to the solution of how do I get better, it does help. So the next time you watch that really cool video remember. Try it on a white belt first….then try it on your peers.