I'm slowly getting through the book I've been reading and am gradually getting a picture about the best way to train. I'm sure everyone has asked themselves, how is that guy so good? Is it really just mat time or are there any quicker ways to advance with BJJ?
I ask myself this all the time.
Some more thoughts I've had while reading the book are as follows:
1. Drilling focused on a single aspect of training where my weakness lies will improve my BJJ immensely.
2. This type of drilling needs to be focused, not veer away from the set goal, to the point it becomes almost boring to me. It's no wonder judoka get good at throws because they practice them ad nauseam. BJJ tends to do jump around doing different things while drilling so you only get to do a few repetitions then move on.
3. Feedback from someone better than me is necessary.
With this in mind, during today's drilling all I did was one single technique for the entire hour. I'm not particularly good at passing and since I want to learn how Damian Maia passes, I chose to work on the sequence that goes tripod, isolate one leg, switch to dope mount and then full mount. After this I did some sparring with Yoshida to see how well it worked. There was one outlying problem that came up and it was that I could not switch my hips enough to get my leg to the dope mount finish. I asked him what he thought and he replied that I probably need more pressure with my head into his chin. I also felt my hips weren't heavy enough.
It's true that this training was not fun. That's the way it has to be to get better. I wanted so many times to try other things to make it more interesting but stayed focused on the one technique. I think this is how it has to be from now.
The days of going to train without a clear goal are gone.
Another concept I got from the book is that if you are doing techniques or movements automatically then you are not improving. It went on to give the example of driving a car. When learning to drive you are very focused on the task, which is a sign that you are improving. When you attain an adequate level to get your license and after a few years on the road your body takes over to the point where you can arrive at a destination and have no recollection of the journey there. No improvement took place during that drive.
I'm sure it would be wonderful to have a BJJ level that meant you hardly have to think about what you are doing during the entire roll to beat your opponent but this also means that no improvement is taking place. Your brain is not engaged. If I was to drill techniques that come automatic to me while sparring, I would be wasting my time.