One perspective which you could look at life from would be this: life is about reps. The more reps you get at something the better you get. The fewer reps you have at something, the worse you are. The instances of “natural” talent blooming the instant someone picks up a stick, club, ball, pen, paintbrush or musical instrument are infinitesimally rare. Sure, there are people who seem to “get” things better than others, the task fitting their brains a bit better than others, but those out there that are performing something at a high level all have something in common. Reps. Thousands upon thousands of reps. In all situations, under all conditions, from all angles. When everyone is watching, and when you’re all alone. You don’t shoot the puck like this in a live game without thousands of reps:
There are a million books written about this, and my brief elaboration above is an oversimplification, but the basic truth remains: there is no substitute for reps if the goal is mastery. It seems the universal experience when starting BJJ is this: you will get a lot of reps at trying to survive.
We continued to work on the drills from the previous few classes; bottom half guard, move to his back, RNC or arm triangle. All the details are making a little more sense, and really, everything right now is about reps. More reps, but not just of technique or drilling sequences. Reps at positions and situations, in particular during sparring. I got it in my head early last week that at my current stage I should be focusing on surviving, especially in bad positions. Bottom of: mount, side-mount, knee-on-belly, etc. Try to really be aware of whats happening while I’m down there and pay attention to the path that leads to my submission from there. Not that I’m not trying to escape or sweep, but I was trying to make sure I didn’t flail and go too fast while trying to escape and not be able to distinguish which one of the many mistakes I made led to my demise.
So, once sparring started at the end of class (as well as at open mat the next morning), I tried in all the usual ways, but once my opponent swept me or advanced their position, I tried to be methodical. Not slow (although I’m sure some of was overly so), just methodical. If I was under knee-on-belly, get safe first. Arms in, collars protected, grips broken, etc. Then, try to move from there to a slightly better position while maintaining that safety. Obviously, this did not succeed all of the time. Or, most of the time. It lead to a lot of arm bars and chokes. And, so many bruises I looked like a leopard. But, in the end, I honestly felt that I had a (slightly) better, (slightly) deeper understanding of why and how those things were happening. Not that I’m close to being “safe” while rolling against more experienced guys, but… closer.