Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What Could Go Wrong?

I know I have a tendency to mine this territory quite a bit, but the longer I’m around BJJ, the more I realize the importance of the mental game.

One of my biggest problems, and I’m sure I’m not alone, is that I always worry about “What Could Go Wrong?” I’ll pass on submission, and/or escape opportunities solely because I think about what will happen if I don’t.

I grow my game the most on those rare occasions, when I throw aside my fears in class. I once dared to spin for a knee-bar against a more experienced student. It was (for me anyway) a high risk/high reward technique, but I succeeded.

Later I was talking with ECU Brown Belt, and leg lock expert Tito Hartz. I said to Tito, “I don’t know why I don’t do that more.”

Tito replied, “I don’t know why you don’t do a lot of things.”

After thinking about it, I realized why I don’t do “a lot of things” – I’m scared. I always see the worst-case scenario. I don’t see the submission or the escape, I see myself losing a position, putting myself in danger or getting submitted.

When I spoke to JoJo about this, his first response was, “You can’t win the lottery if you don’t play. It only costs a dollar, but you might get rich.”

While this may seem simplistic at first glance, it actually makes a lot of sense. When we roll in class, we need to try new things. The rewards are far greater than the risks.

As JoJo and I continued talking, he made another great point, “You’ll never know if you’re doing it right if you don’t try. If a technique fails, it’s probably because you made a mistake. If you try it, you’ll know what you’re doing wrong, and fix it.”

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