Ever since I got back from the States this summer I feel like I’ve been struggling to find my footing. I found myself both overwhelmed with things I need/wanted to do and feeling a void — like I wasn’t sure what my next goal or focus should be. Sometimes wanting to do too much or having too much on your plate can make you want to step back and do nothing at all. The biggest issue was that I was lacking structure. I didn’t have anchors within my day. Nothing was urgent. Everything seemed optional. It was not a good headspace for me to be in.
I was struggling in a lot of things. My biggest frustration, however, was that I was struggling in my jiu-jitsu. I still loved it. I still wanted to progress in my training, but there was a certain excitement that was lacking and I was really struggling to get it back.
I think it’s normal to experience lulls in your training enthusiasm. There are so many reasons why it may happen. I think it’s important though to figure out a way to get it back.
I was kind of running blind in my quest to rediscover my enthusiasm, but I was determined to find a way. After already starting to implement a few of these changes, I can already feel a difference in my mood when it comes to training. Here’s what I’ve been doing:
1. Take notes during class — When I first started training, I was very diligent about taking notes. However, soon after, I stopped. I thought, if I practice this, I’ll remember. For some moves, that was true, but as I continued to add to my arsenal of moves and the moves started to get more technical, it wasn’t as easy. Having the details written down definitely helped when it came to practice, but more than that, it helped me focus more in class. Sometimes I would feel frustrated at myself for not being able to remember details of moves. It was time to put that frustration aside and do something about it – hence, my jiu-jitsu notebook is back!
2. Choose a focus for each week/month — I’ve decided to choose 1 technique and 1 drill to focus on each week. In terms of the technique, it’s something that I want to focus on achieving or maintaining during sparring. The techniques vary from simply keeping good base and not being swept to incorporating a move within your roll to executing a submission during grappling. Different week, different focus. Sparring can get overwhelming, especially when you don’t have a plan. However, when you have something specific in mind, then it allows you to wait and look for opportunities so that you can test yourself in that particular situation. As for the drills, there are a lot of general movements I need to work on, such as doing a backward roll (that’s my main focus at the moment). I know that as I become more comfortable with movement, my confidence and enjoyment on the mats will continue to grow.
focus: mount control
3. Watch training videos — I know a lot of people spend loads of time watching jiu-jitsu videos of techniques, drills, and other people sparring. I haven’t done that. I just feel like there’s so much out there that it’s overwhelming/distracting. However, I also feel like I’m not getting enough exposure. It’s not so much about studying someone else’s game. It’s about knowing what’s out there and opening up to different possibilities. I think at some point it would be helpful for me to even tape my own rolls and rewatch them so that I can see what I’m doing and note trends/areas that need improvement.
4. Get more mat time — I don’t really know how I’m going to accomplish this as my days feel pretty packed as it is. Perhaps it isn’t so much about getting more mat time as it is about making sure whatever mat time I get is good quality mat time. Things I can do are: have specific moves in mind when it comes to our 10 minute review period at the start of each class. A lot of times I don’t know what to drill so time is wasted just figuring out what to do. However, if I know what I want to practice, then I won’t have to waste time figuring it out once I’m on the mats. I can also make sure to spar more with different people so that I get used to different body types and kinds of pressure. I can also try to drill a bit more at home, even if it’s basic functional movements.
5. Change my attitude — I had a few hang ups. I was stuck in a place where my expectations and hopes did not match reality, and it I was letting it affect me. I realized that I needed to change my attitude if I wanted things to change. I felt like I wasn’t being true to myself and so I needed to let that go. This may not seem jiu-jitsu related, but it was becoming enough of a factor to help it interfere with my practice. It’s all about priorities. I wanted to love my training so I needed to do something about it.