Lately I've been feeling pretty shit about my performance. It's like my brain is not telling my body what to do. Perhaps nobody is there to read the huge library of techniques it has stored away over the past two and a half years. I think I need to perhaps take BJJ a bit more serious, tighten my game and focus on specific movements only. Use only one pass, one attack from open guard, one takedown etc and just do it constantly until I get good at it. Right now I feel like a jack of all trades. I know a lot of techniques but cannot apply them well. In fact they get shut down before I can fully use them. I think it is also a matter of being flooded with so many techniques that my brain overloads. Things seemed easier when I was a white belt. I'll build a list of each technique I want to use from each position and use them relentlessly. If after constant use it still doesn't work for me, I'll discard it and go to the next technique. Elimination by trial.
Yesterday was a holiday in Japan, the Vernal Equinox. Our dojo is not open but on national holidays a couple of clubs get together to train at GSB Nagoya club and I decided to attend. There were a lot of people there. Perhaps close to 30 people. Many of them were purple and above with a couple of white, about 4-5 blues and 4 black belts. All of them were very good and I got schooled a lot. The thing was people were not going hard, just trying to be as technical as possible. I think more nights of sparring like that could really help me get better. Being exposed to such a large pool of skill and variety of people was quite fun.
I felt their passing was very good. Either that or my open guard is worse that I thought. I only really attempted sitting guard, x-guard and generally flailed around a bit. Got my guard passed a lot, armbarred, bow and arrow choked. The experience was much better than when I went 2 years ago as a white belt. However, it left a large black hole of self-doubt in my ability to do BJJ. This is not so good because I have a competition on Sunday.
I also met an Australian guy who trains at their gym. He's been doing BJJ for 6 months and wants to drill more. We agreed on the point that the Japanese don't drill enough (perhaps this is just a BJJ thing and has no bearing on nationality). They still get good in the end but I can't help think there is a more efficient way to get better. It's funny but at this point in the conversation Lloyd Irvin's name came up. Just recently I listened to him on Inside BJJ podcast and liked what he said about drilling.
I wonder if other people have gone through this stage that I am going through right now. Where I doubt my ability, doubt my instructor, the ego tells me that BJJ is not for me. Is it just me? Is it an age thing where old dogs can't be taught new tricks? Will something click in my head and I will suddenly be propelled forward in skill? Will I be destined to be that guy who everyone choses for an easy roll?
With all that said, I wish I could train every day as a means to improve. The will is there to do it but as a married man with kids in a full-time job, the time is not there. I've never been as passionate about BJJ as I am now. I don't know what has brought on this change. I just need to find a way to train efficiently.
Sparring time: 10 x 6 mins = 60 mins (sparring went on for just over 2 hours. due to so many people I had a break between almost every round).