Friday, July 21, 2006

"Pre" or "Self" Submission

Ever feel intimidated when fighting a larger, senior, or superior opponent? Does that intimidation lead you to hold back in hopes that your taking it easy will elicit the same response from your opponent? I have come to learn that this "pre-submissive" approach will earn you no quarter when rolling, especially when at an uncontrollable disadvantage.

I consider this "pre-submissive" fighting mind set to be different than "non-committal" in certain situations where experience is an issue; attempting take downs when fighting "stand-up" for the first time for example. Solving the "non-committal" mind set comes with time, as I am finding when gathering more experience and applying knowledge. Practice, practice, practice is the key to confidence of making commitments.

But "pre" or "self" submission has more to do with expectations of getting your ass whooped or being a victim. I have done a lot of thinking about this as I progress in BJJ and have figured out that this personal mental opponent can be conquered.

There are three specific things that I do before each match I fight where I think I may be out-matched.

  1. Think of one thing I need, not want to, need to accomplish against the opponent. Sometimes, for me, it is not a submission but to score and hold a dominant position or to escape a position I found myself in the last time I rolled with the opponent. A small achievable goal...

  2. When I bow and shake hands, the mutual respect shown means that I will most likely not die in the fight, so I should not be afraid to fight. Drop the emotion from the game. It is a mental, physical, and technical game of chess.

  3. Be the thorn. I may not win, but I sure want my opponent to know they were in a fight. This means, even though I may not have a lot of skill yet, I will bring what I got and be quick to seize opportunity.
Much like when I wrote about the defensive mind set a few months ago, "pre" or "self" submissive mind sets can be equally detrimental to improvement in BJJ. I may not be able to control my opponent, but I can control myself. I suppose it all comes down to dropping the emotion and "given'er" when rolling. Small personal victories build up to real and measurable results in technical, mental, and physical BJJ development.


P.S. In striking sports, the harder you hit, the harder you would get hit. In BJJ, quickly applying techniques and thinking faster will most likely not result in the same physical retaliation. So why set personal limits on playing your game?