When I was in Jiu-Jitsu class on Tuesday, it felt as if all kinds of lightbulbs were going off in my head. Conan had us working on a series of submissions from side control, and for once I completely understood everything. Even though I’d never done one of the chokes we worked on, I had no problem figuring it out, and I understood all the details. The flow of the drill felt very natural to me, we would just keep going back and forth through three or four different subs, depending on what our partner did. I especially liked that the last submission we added to the chain was a triangle choke.
I think my time off from Jiu-Jitsu was actually beneficial to me. One of the things that I tried to work on when I was away was to stop focusing so much on “techniques”, and try to gain a deeper understanding of body mechanics. If I can figure out how and why submissions and body positioning work, then I can learn new things faster, by being able to see the similarities to what I already know. There are really only a limited number of ways to submit someone, so most of them work on the same principles, the details just vary depending on positioning.
Also, if I already have a basic understanding of the mechanics of a technique, then I am able to pick up on more of the details every time we practice it. The details are really what can make or break techniques (especially for someone like me, who can’t rely on strength), so being able to remember as many details as possible is vital. In women’s class on Sunday, I tried several times to triangle choke people from side control, but never succeeded. During Tuesday’s class, I figured out why…after I would get their arm between my legs, I wasn’t keeping hold of it when I stepped over their head, allowing them to pull it out. That’s a very important detail that I missed along the way.
I feel as though I am looking at Jiu-Jitsu through a new set of eyes, and I’m able to see things better. Being forced to take time off may have helped me get over a plateau. I used to feel overwhelmed by new techniques, but by being able to break them down I am able to understand and learn them better. I probably spent an hour after I came home from class on Tuesday gushing to Joe about all the things I learned, all the details I picked up on, all the possibilities that I’m beginning to see. If the devil is in the details, then one day I will choke that punk out!