Timing has a lot to do with the effectiveness of BJJ techniques. This is largely associated with sensitivity, so that you react in a timely manner. It means swiftly capitalizing on mistakes. It means not projecting what you intend to do so as to give your opponent the benefit of time.
Having confidence and believing in your ability to do a technique is also paramount to its success. This has been something I have discussed before. I thought I had jumped this hurdle, but it's popped back up, like a jack-in-the-box that is vexing instead of creepy. This isn't really shocking considering how much of an issue confidence was for me in the beginning. I was the Queen of Hesitation. I would often do nothing because I was not sure of the exact thing I should be doing.
Timing and a lack of confidence, even if its degree is now slight, have spawned an issue in the way I grapple. Depending on the technique, I still hesitate. A lot. This means that the person (ie. John) knows what's coming, deliberates how to prevent it, and then shuts it down faster than a government office on the Friday afternoon of a summer long weekend. Needless to say, this is annoying.
So why am I hesitating? Well, I'm busy having an internal monologue -- most likely if I haven't really done a technique much in live rolling. I will sit there for a bit once I have it set up to evaluate my position and assess its accuracy. Do I have the arm across? Are both my hooks in, good and strong? Is my head on the correct side? Is my grip on the belt tight? Is my arm over the shoulder? Is my butt back far enough? Wait, is his arm still across? Am I forgetting anything? No? Ok? Ready? Okay? Good! Okay! SWEEP!
So even if it was all poised to work, it doesn't. Because of time.
Every time I step on the mat, I have a set of goals or points of focus for that day. Typically the goals are related to remembering to execute a technique or find a position. Then I work on the details once I am good with recognizing the opportunity and problem-solving becomes necessary.
Yesterday when I was thinking about my BJJ homework, I thought of my issue of hesitation and my lack of faith in (some) of what I knew. That's when I decided I needed to become a grappling robot.
I would trust that I would remember instinctually to do the things I have been working on. I would stop worrying so much about the details. I would become a robot and just go through the motions without thinking.
I would be a freaky human-like robot in that I would believe in my capability. I would find pleasure in the fact that a technique won't work properly the first gajillion times but that my mind and limbs will figure it out eventually, by robo-analyzing all the times it goes awry.
Yes. I would be a grappling robot in mind but a liquid in body -- sensing, feeling, and simply going with the flow and seeing where it takes me.
*This title is yet another 30 Rock reference and is intended to be read in a robot Tracy Jordan voice.