Our advanced BJJ sessions at the Labs - BJJ always include a huge chunk of sparring / rolling. The objective is not to win every grappling sparring bout at the gym. That would be ridiculous. Not only will you run into several athletes of a similar if not higher level (especially if this is at a big, healthy BJJ academy / gym), but you are constantly swimming against the current of resistance. After an hour and 30 minutes or so, the semi-dead grappler will easily get tapped by a stronger / fresher* / more skilled opponent. So what does that mean in the grand scheme of things? Well, nothing naturally!
That brings us to the question, how do you define success on a BJJ mat?
I have asked this question to a number of athletes** / BJJ enthusiasts and here are a few of their suggestions, please remember that none are more right than the others:
- Number of rounds won in a row against equals in skill (irrespective of size, gender…etc.)
- Winning is not losing (made famous by Helio Gracie)
- Keeping someone stronger at bay
- Keeping someone more technical at bay
- Positionally dominating someone stronger (with or without a submission)
- Positionally dominating someone more technical (with or without a submission)
- Doing what you used to do but with less energy expenditure (efficiency)
It seems to me that the healthiest way to look at this is to keep an open mind and rotate your priorities in line with your progress. Someone just starting may have self-defence and general health at the top of their list but after 6-7 months of rolling, they value the mental challenge that grappling provides. Suddenly, they don't try to muscle out of mount bottom but patiently look for the technical solution. The attractant is different, but the game is the same. Keep your goals fresh and you will be able to enjoy this wonderful game your whole life***.
*Not everyone can / wants to train the full two hours so some people only manage to attend the second hour, which does mean they are much fresher and fuller of energy
**and athletes from other sports
***that's my only goal: to actually continue training BJJ my whole life (or until I no longer want to). Funny thing is, every time I step foot on the mat, I can tick that goal :)
Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi
Proudly sponsored by Predator Fightwear: Built for the kill and Brutal TShirt: Made By Grapplers For Fighters
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