I’ve heard it said that training is kind of like saving change in a jar. Whenever you go to class, you’re putting some knowledge in your jar, and while it may only seem like a little bit at the time, it constantly adds up, then one day when you go to count it, you see how much you’ve actually accumulated, and it’s often more than you thought. Lately I’ve been able to understand that while I’m far from being a rich girl, I probably have more in my BJJ jar than I’ve given myself credit for, so I’ve been trying to see it as half full rather than half empty!
During the advanced class on Monday night, Professor Greg had us do a positional sparring drill where five people started on the mat in different forms of guard, and the other five rotated through in timed rounds, then we traded places and did it again. I began on the top of the rotation, and I was happy with how many times I was able to pass the guards (because I can tell that my recent focus on improving my passing is paying off!). When I was on the bottom, the guard I was assigned was half, and I was thinking “I got the worst one!”, but it’s the one I need to work on the most, and I wasn’t entirely disappointed with my performance, because when I was rolling with some of the newer blue belts, I realized that my jar is more full than theirs, and I think my years of training have given me an awareness that they do not yet fully possess.
Sir Conan taught the advanced class last night, and he had us working on some sweeps from deep half guard, which strained my brain, because they were kind of complicated, and I don’t know the position very well. These days in BJJ, I’ve found that I’m usually able to understand new techniques fairly quickly (or at least be able to mimic them), but despite reverting back to feeling like an idiot yesterday because I couldn’t really get the hang of what we were doing, I realized that I was still gaining something from it, even if it was just pennies that I was putting in my jar.
When students at the dojo would ask Conan what they should do to get better at Jiu-Jitsu, sometimes he would tell them “Just keep doing what you’re doing”, and they would be like “But I’m getting submitted all of the time, so what I’m doing obviously isn’t working!”, but it actually was. There are some things that can’t really be taught, the only way to discover them is through time and practice, and whether you submit everyone or they submit you, every moment you spend training is adding to the riches in your jar.