Friday, October 7, 2011

Training Day: Friday

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to training and competing is making sure that you are working on those positions and out of those situations that most resemble what you are likely to encounter in competition.

In some respects, this is a no-brainer. Asked why he was so calm before fights, MMA heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko replied, "because everything I do in the ring is the same thing I have done in the gym a thousand times."

From a certain perspective, if that doesn't describe your preparation for competition, then your likelihood of success in competition is reduced. Competition is not the time to be "spontaneous". It is the time to execute your best moves, drilled and honed to perfection after weeks and weeks of hard but focused work at the academy.

It isn't at all difficult to work hard. Bringing the necessary focus, on the other hand can be a problem.

Sometimes the issue is too large, the basic structure of every day jiu-jitsu training. I used to wonder why all the guys who seemed really good when I was a blue belt - guys like Steve and Casey and Lance - almost never attended a full class as brown belts. Having seen each of them in competition - some more than others - I feel as if I know the answer to that question. They trained plenty. But the structure of their training had changed from a focus on adopting new techniques to honing and refining favorite techniques. And the basic class format, obviously, does a poor job of that.

But sometimes the issue is small. I hate starting sparring on the knees because it too often ends up resembling some B-grade Japanese monster movie with King Kong clinched up with Mothra. So I've started trying to begin with a much more open, active, Marcelo Garcia-style sitting guard. Anything to get things started.

The problem is that I never have and never will use this kind of guard in competition. Not for a second. If we're close, then I'll go to half guard. If we're not close, then I'll just stand up. It's a no brainer.

Unfortunately, though, that's not how I'm training when Live Training rolls around. I'm wasting time in a guard that I will not use, failing at it, and then spending the balance of the session making up for the original mistake.

From a "learning perspective" I should just keep at it. But from a "preparing for battle" perspective, I need to cut this out immediately.

At any rate, with five weeks to go, it's time to tighten things up considerably. I'll miss competition training this Saturday, but the next month of Saturday's leading up to the November Revolution will have to be Academy Saturdays if I'm going to get accomplished what I need to get accomplished.

156.3 on the scale post-train. Looking forward to Edgar v. Maynard, Aldo v. Florian and Maia v. Santiago tomorrow night.