After getting past the throw-everything-at-them-and-see-what-sticks phase of BJJ, I now find myself mostly, and intentionally, on defense. This comes mostly from learning that running in with guns blazing every time I roll is not only ineffective but exhausting. If I can wait until my opponent has committed an error (or, alternately, intentionally given me an opening [you guys are nice people and good training partners]), then I can grab hold of an undefended arm or neck or back. Sometimes this opening is such a surprise that I hesitate just long enough to lose the opportunity. I miss it– it feels a lot like the disappointment of this golden retriever missing a donut:
Which brings me to the flipside of my defensive rolling– it partly comes from a sense that I’m not entirely sure how to go about bringing an offensive game in the first place. If I can’t always catch the metaphorical donut when it’s served up on a silver platter, how am I going to catch it when it’s tossed by a skilled opponent offering up resistance? (That’s enough of the donut metaphor, I think.) After class a couple of weeks ago Al brought up drawing up a game plan. After all, it’s much harder to know what your opponent is going to do next when you hardly know what *you* are going to do next.
So, we’ll see how it goes! I like plans, I like charts, and I’ve heard people call BJJ “human chess” anyway. When I was a kid, learning the Imperial Defense opener on the actual chessboard gave me an early advantage to lean on in every chess match. I suspect things won’t change as quickly on the mat as they did in the middle school chess club, but with practice I think a plan could be a game-changer.