Help me help you

I’ve gotten to the point in Jiu-Jitsu where I rarely offer unsolicited advice while rolling, because in my experience it isn’t always well received, and people seldom seek my assistance, so it caught me a little by surprise when one of my rolling partners asked for my help last night. We’ve continued with the half guard theme in the advanced class, specifically the torque sweep (and related techniques), and during positional sparring when I started on the bottom against him, he was vigilant about not giving up the underhook, so I couldn’t set up the sweep (or related techniques), and a couple of times I resorted to escaping to closed guard instead. Then he asked me why I was able to do that, and I pointed out that he was giving me enough space to get my knee out, and after that I never escaped his half guard again.

When we were back at the dojo, sometimes people would tease Sir Conan that he shouldn’t be teaching us his secrets, because then we would just use them to beat him, but he would respond “I want you to beat me”, and he meant it, because he says that one of his greatest joys in teaching is seeing his students successfully use something that he’s taught them, even if it’s against him. I agree with that philosophy, so I’m happy that although I still feel like I have little to offer, I might’ve actually taught my partner something yesterday!

My Mentor Mike also has no qualms about sharing his secrets, and when we were drilling last night he gave me some good pointers about the techniques. One thing he stressed was that when I have the underhook, I need to be even lower underneath my partner than I’ve previously been practicing, and that tip led to me almost getting the torque sweep on him during rolling! I think he said something like “Shit” when I came close to succeeding, but if I would’ve actually gotten it, I believe he would’ve been almost as happy as me.

"It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than yesterday." -Jigoro KanoBefore I competed in the last CSG tournament, Mrs. Ems was kindly trying to help calm my nerves, and she said “You can beat her, Gina!”, to which I replied “But I don’t want to beat her”, so people looked at me like I was crazy, but I think that statement accurately sums up why I am not a great competitor, but I am a good partner. When I roll with someone, my goal isn’t to “beat” them, it’s to improve my Jiu-Jitsu, and hopefully to help them do the same!

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