I’ve heard it said that you can get to blue belt in BJJ by mostly relying on the things you do well, but to make it to purple, you have to work on your weaknesses, which has been my primary focus for about the last year of my training. I’ve always been a guard player (and if I had to choose just one style, it would be De la Riva), but I’ve essentially put guard to the side, as I’ve been trying to improve my passing (and it’s been paying off!). So, I suppose the recent theme of throwing in the advanced classes fits right into the realm of things I need to work on, in order to be more well-rounded. Even though I would really rather just pull guard all day, you don’t always get to practice what you want in Jiu-Jitsu, and I think the less you want to do it, the more likely it is that it’s something you need.
One of the throws we’ve been practicing (sumi gaeshi) is a sacrifice throw, so during class last night, I told myself that it was basically the same as jumping guard, which gave me the confidence to actually go for it during standing sparring. Both of my attempts were unsuccessful, but Professor Greg pointed out that I’ll probably fail several times before I succeed, and the important thing is that I continue to try.
When we started rolling from our knees yesterday, I did allow myself the luxury of pulling guard on one of my partners (which led to me submitting him with a cross-collar choke), but then I felt guilty about it, because that’s not what I’m supposed to be working on right now! I’ve really been trying to stay out of my comfort zone, and as the old saying goes “If you love guard, set it free, if it comes back to you, it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it never was”, or something like that.