Think fast, or don’t think at all?

Hello Friends,

Leading up to tournaments, usually the week of the competition, I gather all of my competitors together and have them work through their game plans with a partner. This is basically a simulated match in which they start standing, just as you would in a tournament. Your partner provides minimal resistance and allows you to walk through what you would do in any given position or situation in a match.

Before a tournament a while back I was having my students work on the drill described above, when shortly after the simulation started a question arose “Coach, how do I do this move?” to which I replied “If you’re having to think about how to do it, it will already be too late in a real match”. After my response I could sense a little confusion so I explained that you should only try moves that you know during a tournament, it’s not a time to try things that you don’t know or haven’t had much practice with in training or live rolling. All of this ties into the importance of repetition, whether during drilling of technique, or perfecting a specific technique during live rolling.

Repetition is the only way you will develop your technique to the point that a specific movement can be recalled without thinking. That’s why I believe it’s especially important for beginners to focus on a specific long term goal. That goal is to know and be able to apply one technique from each situation that may arise in a sparring session or match. The only way that will ever happen is with dedication, repetition, and patience! Beginners, set a goal to not move on to a new technique until the other technique has been perfected. Stick to basics, defense, counters, all of the fundamentals that make Jiu-Jitsu work!

Achieving that level of technical prowess doesn’t come easy, in fact, I would go as far as to say that it may take you all the way through your journey from white to brown belt or even Black Belt and beyond to hone your skills to that point. That’s the beauty of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it’s (or at least it should be) a never ending pursuit of knowledge while trying to perfect yourself as an individual within the art. Be humble and train consistently, there is no substitute for hard work and dedication my friends!

If you ever have any questions related to these blog posts please don’t hesitate to send me a email!

Yours in Jiu-Jitsu,

Coach James Foster

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