Sunday, November 29, 2009

The process of learning BJJ.

I'm writing an article for another publication (which I will link to here, eventually) on the process of learning BJJ. So, of course, that's been on my mind while I have attended class and rolled the last few days.

I really wish more people would roll with me like Clayton and Mark did today. I have the memory span of a goldfish; every eight seconds it's all new to me. Leslie often astonishes me with her detailed accounts of every roll during a class, often posted hours later, on her blog BJJ Grrl-- whereas I apparently can't follow the twists and turns of an individual match long enough to store them in RAM or whatever. As a result, it's hard for me to learn efficiently from the rolls I get... I remember at best a couple highlights, which quickly fade by comparison of the next roll's adrenaline.

Clayton is always a pleasure because he'll do a fair amount of rolling, but when I make a stupid mistake or get stuck, he'll stop and commentate, walk me through the proper response, suggest a workaround solution, etc. Mark, my buddy from Faixa Preta MMA, a Marcelo affiliate up near Dallas, came down this weekend and turns out he does things similarly. Mark's a well-cooked 4 stripe blue, IMHO, and he had a lot of very helpful comments to make while rolling. What helped me the most, I think, were the "cheers"-- the little "yeah" "good" "just right" kinds of things-- that gave me the immediate feedback... the hints I was on the right track.

People give me googly eyes when I say I train seven days a week, but I don't think it's all quality training time. I think if I was able to train with people who gave feedback like Clayton's and Mark's, I'd be able to narrow down my focus and improve faster.


cy said...

I'm like you when it comes to forgetting what happened during a roll. I remember bits, and usually the ending, but never the whole sequence. And by the time I've had several rolls in one evening, then it becomes really difficult. I always makes notes after class and I can report on the drills in great detail, but my written description of individual rolls literally contain dots and question marks. So I must have a goldfishbrain, too ;-).

I also agree that it is great to roll with advanced people who will stop and explain where you went or are about to go wrong and give you a chance to work it out. And if need be, give you help. In fact, those rolls I not only get more out of as they happen, but I remember them better, so the learning benefit is substantial.

Instant feedback is also helpful, be it from the guy I roll with or one who is watching. We have a good crowd and this happens often.

I try to do the same for people with less experience than I have.

Good training partners make such a huge difference to our bjj progress, and we prize them highly!


Mark said...

I can't wait to see you smash at the Mundials! So exciting!

Georgette said...

Um.... hope you are patient... :)

leslie said...

My brain's just weird, is all. And it sometimes remembers more than I write or remembers more later. Bah.

The bad thing is that I have a hard time actually moving it on from something once it gets stuck. Jiu-jitsu can sometimes be replaced with more jiu-jitsu, but anything else can get stuck on playback for a looong time...