Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The many layers of frustration...

So here's why I'm whining...

1.  I'm at a new school in a new city in a new life (this is a great place, by the way-- good people, good grappling, good vibe, good instruction.)  But it's different.  And I mean, different.  I'm coming from one side of the BJJ family to the other, and wow, they really are.. on separate planets. 

2.  Now I get lots of one on one attention from the upper belts and instructor.  LOTS.  Lots of rolling time, every day.  This is great.  But it also means I am always frustrated. 

3.  My purple belt conferred no magic.  I am still a small, older female.  This means when grappling larger, younger, stronger men, I get stuffed.  Less than before, success... but when I get somewhere with a brown or blackbelt... I know they let me, at some level.  And I get pissed.  But I also get pissed when they don't let me.  And I'm struggling (still) to discern when the aren't letting me by virtue of using their strength (so not cool) or because their technique is so awesome. 

4.  I find myself comparing the way I was taught to do things with the way I'm currently being taught and I want my old way to be the better way (because if Donald and Henry taught it that way, then by golly, it's the right way).  So when I ask about the new way and their preferences versus mine, I am frustrated that I don't always remember the reason why we did it this other way.  And I am double mad when I can't execute the "right way" against the new people.  Because I want to rep my origins.

5. When I am allowed to get somewhere, I find myself blanking and returning to the same old boring 3-4 subs and series.  I need new material, writers! 

6.  Those same old series aren't working! so I need to find new sneaky ways!  and hello, against browns and blacks, that's not easy at all.

Sigh :)


Keith said...

Welcome back!

I completely understand your frustrations. I'm only a blue belt, but if I may, I'd like to try and help?

1. I'm also in transition between schools; while my primary instructor was from the same lineage as my new school, the school itself is also very different. For instance: at my old place, I felt comfortable extoling others while they were rolling and I was waiting; here, when others are rolling, I can tell you're expected to quietly watch. It's just a small thing, but I'm gregarious and got a little culture-shock because of it. So, I completely feel you on this one, but it too will pass.

2. Again, similar boat. You go from holding your own to always getting smashed. But, I think it's partly because you aren't familiar with their style or the game they like to play? Maybe I'm making excuses, but sometimes it takes time to learn how someone else expects to move next and to be able to stop them before they get there. The frustration is natural; if you weren't getting frustrated at getting wrecked, something else is wrong.

3. Perhaps you're over-analyzing. I've always heard in jiu-jitsu, "Take what they give you." If they are giving it to you consciously or sub-consciously, take it. It could be they're working on a weak part of their game; don't short-change them or create reasons for your success. Just get out there and do what you can. Some days will be better than others, but that doesn't mean the bad days aren't worthwhile. I need to hear this, too. I get really frustrated at myself for making the same mistakes, or feeling like I'm not doing enough even when I know something is being given to me. But that's not the point (them giving it to me); the point is to just focus on my movement in relation to what's avaialble.

4. At my old school, there were originally 4 different black belts, all teaching different methods for the same thing. Arm lock from the guard 4 different ways. Didn't make things easier; if anything, it just muddied the water for a while until we latched onto our particular favorite instructor. BUT, sometimes set-up A would work and sometimes, it would be set-up C. Just take what they give you. It could be you end up using the new set-ups more because they work for you. That doesn't make your original knowledge base obsolete - it only means that you're willing to grow maturely and use what's most valuable. You never know - your original methodology might work against smaller people, or taller people, or people who stand in your guard, or WHATEVER, but there will be a place for them.

5 and 6. Those boring subs that you're using are the base of your game. Look for ways to get to them from new places. Look at Roger Gracie. Pass, Mount, Choke. Repeat. That's pretty boring. But, he made it work against the best grapplers in the world.

Overall, just be yourself. You're going to excel at this new place, I'm sure! Sorry for the long-winded comment.

Pete said...

I'm struck by your frustration with rolling with men stronger but not always as skilled as you are. I can relate to some extent: I'm male but older (50) and lighter than most in my gym. Rolling with the women, I vacillate between trying to emphasize technique over strength vs, well, the opposite! On some level, though, it's no different whether I'm rolling with a male or female. When I train with the big, higher belts, some just crush me but others roll lightly and I certainly benefit in that I get to practice escapes, sweeps, etc with a bigger, stronger opponent that I wouldn't if they were going all out. (I don't know how much they get from the experience!) When I train with the big lower belts, it depends...some hold back and some don't; I get a little frustrated with the former because I don't either of us get much from the experience but I do appreciate that they recognize that they've got 50+ lbs on me. The latter is a great test, then, of my actual ability.

I think Keith has some excellent points, best, perhaps, being "take what they give you." I think we ought to be able to get something from virtually any scenario on the mats--I'll admit though, some will be more (immediately?) rewarding than others.

In any case, I'd be very interested to hear your perspective on the potential value of rolling "light" or trying to flow. I've never seen anyone address this, but some of the more interesting rolls I've had have been ones where we deliberately tried to flow, and this includes both situations where I was heavily out-gunned and the reverse. For me, training like this with a stronger more skilled opponent, I got to experience positions and situations AND flow (sort of!) into an escape or counter that I probably wouldn't otherwise have had the chance to use. That experience, I think, is helpful. I think it probably takes some minimal level of experience to provide the less-skilled counter-part. What do you think?

Hang in there and make the most of it...

Cheers, Pete

REA said...

Change is not easy, but, sometimes, change brings about a better result than you could have had otherwise. Get out of your head a little bit, and you'll adjust and flourish. :)

burien top team said...

Hi Georgette. Are you a Seattlite now? I'll admit to being a little slow on the uptake (there have been more than a few clues on FB ...) But I assumed you were just visiting. In either event, it's great to have you here: welcome to the northwest!

Georgette said...

I am indeed :) Thank you!

As for the benefits of flow rolling I can't say enough. I learned how to from Donald Park, my primary instructor at Humaita Austin. He suggested I flow with my tiny but technical teammate Rebecca, who is about 92 lbs soaking wet. If she does the right thing, regardless of whether it's done hard enough to make me move or lose the grip or whatever, then I give it to her. This means a LOT more thinking, and it's wonderful. It forces me to constantly improve my awareness of what the "right" thing (or "a" right thing) is. So I do a lot of that, when offered the opportunity.

J.B. said...

1) You were at GH for years, it's stressful to come in to a new gym. Even when you know folks, even when you are treated well.

2)jiu jitsu is fun. If it's not, then why do it?

3)trust the feedback from your partners, and communicate.. if you want them to go harder in certain areas, let them know.. I'm working on xyz. If i get you there, make me work for it. Easy to say, because I've never been small. but that's what I'd want smaller lower belts to do to me.

4)you have the chance to get a deeper understanding.. if both methods work, then figure out the commonalities and you'll understand the fundamental principles that make both work.

5)put some stuff off limits for a roll (anything but armbars) or only chokes (triangles count) or whatever.. constraints breed creativity.
6) you're a smart person, so I'm not telling you anything you don't know, but purple is a hard enough belt without being uprooted. You're just at the place where the going is the slowest, you know most of the "moves" but chaining them, baiting them, doing them without thought or effort.. that's the long road ahead, and it's not easy, but you can have fun while you're at it. I hope that helps.

Can Sönmez said...

Interesting stuff, especially "I want my old way to be the better way." Have you got any examples of how things are different, in terms of technique? I'm curious.

Also, in regards to finding new ways, my approach is to try and get better at the old way instead, aiming for depth rather than breadth. E.g., the Roger Gracie approach, where he gets so ridiculously good at a technique (most famously the cross choke from mount) that no-one can stop it even though everybody knows he's going to do it.

Obviously I am never going to be anywhere near Roger's skill level: he's on a totally different planet, perhaps even a different universe. Nevertheless, I still like that approach. I'd be happy if I was even a tenth as good as him. ;)

Tony Dismukes said...

1 & 4: I get this sort of experience just within one gym. Each of our brown and black belts have very different approaches from each other. I think this is a good thing, because it helps you break out of the "one true path" mindset and start figuring out why different methods work for different people.

2: Excellent. Frustration leads to growth.

4: I hear you. My brown belt isn't magic either - especially since I'm 50 and most of my sparring partners are half my age. Have you seen Rener & Ryron's recent "Jiu-Jitsu Over 40" video? They reference a concept they call "Boyd Belts". Basically, when it comes to beating someone, every 20 pounds equals a belt and every ten years equals a belt. If you are rolling with a blue belt who is 10 years younger and 40 pounds heaver than you, it's pretty much the same as you rolling with a black belt who is the same age and size as you. In that case, just surviving is something to be proud of.

5 & 6: Been there. Best thing is to take the new material you are trying to learn and practice it against the smallest white belts. Then the bigger white belts. Then the blue belts. Then the purples. By the time you get the new techniques polished against the lower belts, maybe you will have a chance to sneak them in on the upper belts.

Mark said...

Find a well seasoned confidant, whom can drill and troubleshoot with you. Every Sunday I train for two hours with a tough Machado brown, whom is very over due for blackbelt, and is extremely analytical.
I come from a weird mixture of Machado, Alliance, Sambo, Caio Terra background, with mixes of random other crap; I'm all over the place. But those differences, mixed with his, help provide perspective when my buddy and I troubleshoot. Every Sunday we sit down and complain about a position or scenario for a few minutes, then spend the next two hours working through every possibility of attack/defense/counter. We only focus on ONE thing. We've been doing this for several years. That's a lot of Sundays...that's also a lot of stuff fixed :)

Anonymous said...

As a 47 year old, 160 lb blue belt in a school that seems to have a disproportionate number of 200+ pounders, I have experienced some of the same frustrations as Georgette - even without having changed schools! :) There are some really great comments here. I like @Keith's "take what they give you" advice. I have often wondered if I should feel "insulted" when a lower ranked, but bigger and/or younger, training partner "gives" me something, seems to be experimenting with something they wouldn't try on a "better" opponent, or takes a more defensive approach. But then I realize, I am still getting valuable practice and an opportunity to play offense rather than defense. And at the end of the day, most are still trying to get a submission, so if I can stop that - even the "experimental" ones - then I suppose I have still accomplished something.

Both @Keith and @Can noted Roger Gracie's perfection of, and frequent use of, the choke from mount. That reminds me of Bruce Lee's quote (paraphrasing) about fearing the opponent that has practiced one kick 1,000 times, not the one that has practiced 1,000 kicks one time each.

As I read the post and comments, was thinking about the "Boyd Belt" and then saw it mentioned by @Tony. Definitely check out that video, it has really helped me stop beating myself up for floundering against younger and/or bigger opponents of lower rank. I had felt like I was not living up to my belt, but that video has taken that weight off my shoulder!