Several years before I started training Jiu-Jitsu, during my early Karate days, I was doing a drill with Sensei Bad Brad, and at the end of it I turned away from him. Without warning, he immediately put me in a rear naked choke which required me to tap. Then he said “Never turn your back!”
You would think that lesson, which was taught to me so early on, and in such a manner, would have stuck. I mean, I can remember the incident like it was yesterday, yet I still keep turning my back to my opponents. I still keep getting choked for it, too.
I have improved on defending my back in the scramble. I was hella tired of Joe always being a monkey on my back when we grappled, so I’ve worked hard to do a better job of protecting it. I think it’s harder for people to take my back now, but there’s still a very good chance that I will then just give it to them by being stupid while trying to escape pins.
That’s what happened in my recent grappling match where I was ahead by points with only about twenty seconds left, and then ended up being submitted by rnc. She had me in side control at the end, and I could have just laid there, defended, and won. Instead (because I don’t really play for points) I continued to try to escape her hold. Which was fine until I made the fatal mistake of turning away from her during the final seconds of the match.
I gave her my back, and she took it and choked me; just like Sensei Brad did so many years ago. I know I’m not supposed to turn away, yet in times of stress or desperation I still do. When will I ever learn?