Systematically Embracing Failure To Find Success [ – BJJ Fanatics

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The balance to the tap concept written about in a previous blog entry is  undoubtedly the map concept. If you want to make progress, then you need to map a way towards the success you want to achieve. George Lockhart speaks to this during his 30 Day Fighter Challenge: you will never get where you want to go without a map locating where you are and the specific spot of arrival. If you start mapping not only what you are good at in a particular position, but also the problem areas and the next steps, then you are one step closer to putting the rubber to the asphalt.

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Personally, I like to use the software Scapple to create flowcharts from all of the main positions in BJJ. I show the options for sweeps, submissions and transitional positions. Within about an hour of work, you will immediately see the holes and strengths of your game. You will see your basic knowledge and you will see trends in the positions that you feel most comfortable. From this vantage point you will be able to decide which vein to mine. Do you fill the chasm between Guard Passes and The Mount by only working on your passing skills? Do your attacks from Half Guard or learn how to retain your Open Guard? While the decisions are up to you, the fact that you have an enlightened perspective can take much further than the murky trial and error approach.

What have I done with my newfound information? I have used it to line up private lessons with my professor, I have used it as a guide for the seminars that would actually prove useful to my game, and I make a monthly decision on what three techniques I want to wholeheartedly explore in a month of training. So for instance, May was about implementing what I learned from Priit Mihkelson’s Grilled Chicken Guard during every rolling situation. I had a major gap in my Open Guard, so I chose this as my way of addressing this fault. I also chose to look at leg attack entries, because my own academy does not focus on those during our general practice. Finally, I opted to learn as much as I could about Lapel Guard and Attacks while at seminars.

For the BJJ Fanatics out there reading this blog entry, I might also suggest that this type of exploration be used to inform your BJJ video instructional purchases. While we all want to own the complete Enter the System, which exact instructional will have the biggest impact on your game? With the sale on this week, should you pop for the Gordon Ryan’s Systematically Attacking the Guard or John Danaher’s Pin Escapes & Turtle Escapes? What about going rogue and picking up three different approaches to the Half Guard from Tom DeBlass, Craig Jones and Lucas Leite? You need to ask what your focus is going to be and where are you willing to die on the mats for an entire month?

It is tough. We only have so much cash for instructionals and seminars, and the older among us probably only have so much time for mat training. Decisions need to be made.  The trade-off in this approach is that the technique from which you benefit the most from learning is also the one that will demand that you lose, submit and tap the most over a month’s time.

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One way that I soften the blow of these inevitable taps is by purchasing a video series that I truly want to explore and own. Justify the purchase, but making it your only focus for a whole month. When it was a wise decision, then you will feel tremendous growth in your jiu jitsu…when you invest in the wrong aspect, then you need to stick with it for the entire month. You will learn great things about yourself during the time, even if they were not the things you had hoped for.

 

What am I buying this month? I went for Lochkart and Leith’s 30 Day Fighter Challenge, because I am competing at Worlds Masters at the end of the summer and need a solid approach to diet. I also chose to go with John Danaher’s Pin Escapes & Turtle Escapes, not because it is glamorous, but because I can see that it is by far the area that I would find most pragmatic heading into competitions where I may not win the takedown and may need to fight my way back to the top.  If I suddenly feel glamorous, then Gordon Ryan’s Systematically Attacking the Guard is my next option. While a little more expensive, it also would solve a few challenges I have dealing with my gym’s mat monster. One always needs to prioritize, systematize and then decide where resources need to be allocated.

Regardless of what you choose to do this month, what is most important for your growth is that you make the choice. Randomly working twelve techniques a month and refusing to tap is a sure way to keep yourself in a negative learning experience. Survival is the first step to learning jiu jijitsu, but remember that it is  seldom the end goal. For progress to be made, you will need to commit to working to discover your next steps and finding the best way to take those steps one at a time. By using the tap concept and the map concept you can greatly improve your focus for rolling sessions and can use this work to inform you questions during classes or private lessons.

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