Yesterday during jiu-jitsu class Conan had us doing five minute drills where we would start in a pin and then grapple, so basically we were grappling for the entire class. I thought it was an excellent way to prepare for the upcoming tournaments. We started with the hardest one, back control, and we worked down to half guard. My last partner probably outweighed me by 100 pounds, and by the time I got to him I barely had any energy left (as I have a bad habit of wasting too much of it). That was actually a really good thing, because there was no way I was going to force anything, so my technique had to be spot on. Instead of just mindlessly flailing, I had to really think about what I was doing and rely on my training. Normally, I get stuck in bottom half guard and never get out, but that didn’t happen yesterday. Not only did I get out from under him when it was his turn to pin me, but I was also able to maintain my top position when I pinned him.
It kind of surprised me to realize that the more tired I got, the better I grappled, but it shouldn’t have. When Shihan teaches a class, he always completely wears everyone out before we randori or spar. The theory behind it is that if you are tired you won’t use too much force, and you will have to fight smarter.
So now a certain peace has come over me about competing in the tournament. I guess it just kind of made me feel like if I can start in a bad position, totally worn out, and still last for five minutes against people twice my size, then I don’t have anything to worry about next Saturday. As long as I can stay calm, and let my body do what it’s been trained to do.