Step onto the training mats to roll outside your comfort level
Are You Live Rolling? If not, you should be. Once you’re able to take part in open mat settings, Go for it! I lost a lot of time as I sat on a bench just watching everyone train and have fun at the same time. I wanted to get out there but was nervous at the idea of rolling with my teammates because I felt I didn’t have enough experience with BJJ to roll. I was comfortable with the structure of the class setting but I felt I would embarrass myself and waste my partners time on the mats due to my inexperience and lack of BJJ techniques.
What would I do out there? I hadn’t a clue on how to even start. Who would I roll with and how do I go about asking? That answer came one day when I was, yes, sitting on that bench.
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I was watching one of my coaches, the owner of the gym roll with a teammate when another coach walked by and asked why I wasn’t rolling. My response was “ohhh I don’t feel like I’m ready for that yet”, he pointed to my coach on the mat and said “that’s the guy you want to start with right there” I responded with a very unconfident and nervous “I know”. Feeling like that was my opportunity I kicked off my flip flops and got on the mat.
Well I was right, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know what I was supposed to try to go for, if I did try something I wasn’t sure I was doing it right? I felt like everything I’d been taught was a blur, I felt like it was most likely the worst roll of my coaches experience.
Coaches aren’t coaches for nothing though that’s for sure! My coach was very aware that this was a first for me and he was patient and very understanding. When I’d go for something that wasn’t there or if I was attempting a technique at the wrong time in our match, He’d stop and explain the why to what I was trying to accomplish wasn’t working. He’d help me fix it and we’d set up the same move and go through it again. I greatly appreciated the one on one instruction and found it very beneficial to roll with him and soon others.
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Once I started taking part in open mats, It wasn’t long before I was feeling a bit more comfortable. Some of my friends would call me out to roll with me and at the start of every roll I would say, “I don’t know what I’m doing” The timer would start to count down, we’d bump fist and high five our hands, and many times I wouldn’t even get that right! They would roll with me in a way that would set me up for things I should be able to identify anticipating I would incorporate a technique I learned in a prior class. . Many times I would see it, and I’d accomplish the task put in my path. It felt great to get their acclamation and the “submission.”
I started to roll more often than not and I was very careful with who I rolled with because I didn’t want to get hurt or be the cause of someone else getting injured. I was a very new white belt and somewhat spastic. I thought the more I moved and the faster I moved the better. I was however exhausting myself and creating a very defensive game for my partner. I soon learned to slow down and think before I tried for a submission or to get myself in a better position.
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Position Before Submission would be a statement I’d hear often, reminding me to not be greedy and take the detailed steps approach to get the end result for which I was looking.
Rolling soon became a necessary part of my time at the gym. It was my time to test myself and learn from my much more experienced teammates and friends. I appreciated their feedback and their constructive criticism. I found rolling with coaches and higher ranking belts was like getting a few 7 minute private lessons of which I will be forever grateful!
If you’re not rolling, ask yourself what’s holding you back and then get on the mats! Take your time and don’t be so hard on yourself. It will get easier and you’ll find yourself doing more and understanding more every time you kick off those flip flops and just roll.
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