The World Masters has felt like a bit of a punctuation point in my BJJ. Whilst I had expected to make the podium this time around I did exceed my own expectations. But regardless of the result I think it was always going to be an opportunity for me to step back and think about my direction of travel as essentially I’ve spent the last year of training building up to it. So the key question for me was what to do next!
Now I’ve never had a big issue staying motivated post competition (although staying on a clean diet is another issue!). But to keep me motivated (and to give me a slightly different focus) I had deliberately made plans to focus on my Judo for the four weeks after my return and to ensure I did I’ve entered the British Judo Masters!
Now in terms of my BJJ I believe that my game planning falls into two main groups of thought. The first is the most obvious school of thought. How can I get a killer “A” game to help me win in competition. The second is sometimes less obvious and is about what I need to do to become the best grappler I can.
The challenge for me post competition is that working on just my A game can become rather boring and if I’m honest stressful! A solid “A game” only comes through practise which can get repetitive and it’s rather tiring as you need to stay focused. Plus you don’t develop as quickly as although it’s not a static process as you do start adding elements but it’s very much a case of all road lead rome and your “A” game. I generally find as well that it’s slower progress as it usually smaller tweaks and elements that get added in rather than whole concepts and principles. Although it is an easier process because it links to things you’re good at so it’s easier to embed. However I also find during competition training I reach a point where I virtually stop learning jiu jitsu. Everything gets so funneled down and focused. Its one the reasons why I don’t compete non-stop (other than recovery) so that I can get chance to just train!
This brings me to the other side of the coin. I love the learning aspect of BJJ! In Judo there is term called “Tokuiwaza” it’s basically your best or favourite technique. The one that suits your body the best. Now obviously in BJJ you won’t just have the one but it’s those moves that click together to make your game. However without playing or experimenting how will would you know what works for you! Things do change over time including your movement literacy improves. A more literate example would be that Shakespeare isn’t a total waste of time for a small child but they probably won’t totally get it or appreciate it. But as that child learns more and improves their vocabulary their ability to learn and appreciate it grow. Now swap Shakespeare for Berimbolos and child for a white belt and you can see what I’m trying tosay! Plus ultimately you need time and space to work on areas you avoid in competition.
So back to my plans. I had a great private session with my coach Adam a few days ago where we reviewed the footage from the World Masters as well as some other points. From that we’ve not created a hit list of techniques to work on rather a few key principles and concepts to focus on and be aware of in my game. I’ve also restarted my notebook so I can track how this goes for me. My notebook isn’t a traditional training diary but is somewhere I particularly note areas where I have a query or a challenge. It helps me shape my drilling and remember areas to work on to maximise my private lessons. I don’t think my notebook has helped radically changed anything but it helped me stay focused during competition training so i didn’t waste my training opportunities and I also think helps with my “purplising” goal (see my birthday blog for an explanation).
As for the second aspect of my training I’ve not got any radical new moves to play rather a new little transition chain to play with. I am obviously not sharing it here (I have training partners to snare!). It’s not a particularly weak area of my game but a new way of approaching it. I’m also using the next few weeks to enjoy my training and generally not worry too much about the end result. It’s an ideal time for jits and giggles – usual when I try to do something fancy on a higher belt and end up upside down and in pickle! But it’s often these period that have the biggest long term learning games as I may discover a whole new list for my notebook!
I hope sharing my thought processes at the moment (although there a bit random)is helpful to someone. I think it all too easy to fall into an A game focus, to put too much pressure back on ourselves post comp or just feel now what?. Hopefully by sharing I’ll have given you some ideas to keep your jits mojo flowing and moving forwards.