Thank you to Warrior Way and Washtenaw Community College for hosting the Subject Control class! Prof Brandon McDaniel did a phenomenal job, as he always does. Also, thank you to everyone who participated. ... See MoreSee Less
I have recently had this discussion with numerous students, training partners, and instructors. While students vary from recreational practitioners to competitive professional athletes, I believe the following four theories and considerations hold true:
As Jiu Jitsu practitioners, we must be able to adjust our intensity to match the training partner we are with as well as our own ability. Your ability to match your partner’s intensity based on size, strength or technical difference will determine the amount of people who will ultimately want to train with you. If you “accidentally” elbow someone in the face every time you roll or grab a handful of skin when you grab the gi, eventually people will not want to train with you anymore.
It is important to determine your intention before training begins. There will be days that you want to have competitive sparring simulating a tournament match. Other days you may want to work on your defense in specific positions and may allow your training partners to reach that position often. The same can be true for offensive positions that you try to put yourself in to build those skills. There may be other days where your life outside the gym is beating you up and you’re looking for fun, lighter sparring to get some exercise or give your mind a break. It is important that your intention for training for the day be known to you as well as to any sparring partners you have that day.
Learning vs. Winning
In my experience, the people who focus on learning in the short run ultimately win the most in the long run. If you focus on winning in every training situation you will stifle your long term growth. Spending time in positions that you are not the best at, with the goal of improving in those positions, will pay dividends later on. You should have the never ending goal of constantly challenging yourself and improving in the gym with the goal of being the best in the long run.
Competitive vs. Hard Training
There is a difference between training hard and training competitively. Training “hard” involves training without regard for your training partners. Training “competitively” is to always push yourself and your training partners but never at the cost of injury. We know that injuries in the gym happen and our training partners are putting their safety in our hands. We owe it to each other to take pride in being a safe training partner. Likewise, the people who are the most rough with their partners and injure others are the same ones who most often get injured themselves.
Recently, I had the pleasure of listening to a sports psychologist who collected data on children’s success in sports throughout their childhood into adulthood. He summarized that the number one indicator of how well a child ultimately developed as an athlete into adulthood, was how well the children were able to train with a group within the chosen parameters. The more children were able to “get along” with whoever they trained with the more often they were accepted in the group to train. (i.e. You are a really good rolling partner and never hurt anyone). More people will want to roll with you and learn along side you. More training partners equates to more mat time and varied training partners which ultimately increases your skill. You should want to be the person in the room everyone wants as a partner because you are really technical AND because people know they can trust their safety in your hands.
Pat Smith flew all the way to Europe to compete. After having no one in her division she dropped from master 8 to master 5 to challenge herself. Pat lost a close match 3-0, and secured a silver medal.
Yesterday, I listened to two gentleman in their twenties complain about being sore and tired all well knowing 67 year old Pat Smith flew across the Atlantic to compete against someone 3 age groups lower and it made me laugh out loud. Keep getting after it Pat! ... See MoreSee Less