After years of karate and very little in the way of ground fighting at all, I started learning this side of things in earnest at Primal. It was a struggle, everyone always seemed better than be and it was so much hard work. Really hard, I seemed to always be gasping and I would ache for days afterwards. Something like the video below, a lamb to the slaughter!
Being an optimistic sorta bloke I’d find little rays of hope within the experience, such as managing a reversal or by lasting on top for a little longer . I would always glean a certain success within overall the failure, despite being dominated time after time.
However, whilst I did have the little glimmers of hope they always seemed to be about defence. I would go into a defensive ‘frame of mind’ and despite protestations about having to attack and not just defending, I really couldn’t do it. I was always one step, or more likely two or three, behind the other bloke and was so abosorbed in defending that I just couldn’t see the attacking wood for the defensive trees.
The first time I started to get a sense that success was possible was when we were doing a drill where you had 20 seconds to submit the other bloke with a nominated technique. It didn’t matter what submission you chose you just had to get it on in the time frame. Now on this occasion I didn’t actually get the sub on but I came pretty close. Importantly, this was against someone who I always had trouble with. But this time I was faring much better and it was down to the ‘urgency’ created by the time limit.
Now this epiphany didn’t translate into immediate success all round. Far from it but it gave me an insight into what was needed to do better. This glimmer of success was reinforced by one of the lads at Primal. I was talking about how, when rolling with someone else I just couldn’t shift him, he was always on top, his weight pressing on me. He’d just sit on me until I moved and then attack the space my movement created. The Primal bloke just said “I know what you mean, it’s difficult but just keep going” and that was it, however, within that short sentence there is plenty to work with.
“Just keep going” can mean a lot of different things but in this instance it meant keep exploding, pushing, pulling, moving, twisting and whatever you need to do with urgency and just keep at it. I think of it as being like a Staffordshire bull terrier or similar, attacking. A bit like the dog barking, which I’ve written about previously but specifically moving in the manner of the dog attacking. Difficult to describe but if you enact the impression of a dog attacking you can make a bit of room to turn into the other bloke or whatever. No literal interpretations, biting limbs is not allowed!
It’s quite hard work but reveals further rays of hope.
What this means is that I can cope better with some of the blokes I train with, I am not Matt Hughes or anything. However, it seems like I am enforcing a defence mode on some of those lesser able than myself, which is an interesting twist. Point is I had to put up with a lot of failure to get to where I am with the groundwork and while there is a long way to go it’s encouraging. There is hope.
Originally posted 2010-09-07 08:05:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter