This past Sunday we were doing tournament prep. For one particular drill, I was to start in Scott, my partner’s, guard. Then as I passed, he was to turtle up and I was to take his back and attack. As I did this, my partner properly turtled and I slid my left arm underneath his neck and then started to work my right arm in. He did the proper thing to to defend me from choking him. At this point, I wasn’t sure what to do. I think I know 2 or maybe 3 moves from when the guy is turtled. So I moved to another, he again defended. I went back to the first, and we played this little game for about another 20 seconds before the bell sounded. When it was over, Scott told me when I had the back, I needed to slow down. He went in to a bit more detail, but the message was essentially, slow down.
As I’ve thought about that, I realized it’s true in more situations than just when I have the back. But it seems to me that when I’m uncomfortable or don’t know what to do, I panic a little and go a little too fast. Some of it is me thinking if I don’t make a move, my opponent is going to escape or sweep me, or even worse figure out a submission.
The funny thing is, though, it’s more likely to happen when I’m rushed. It’s something I put to the test tonight in sparring class. If I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, I’d get to a “safe” position, or at least as safe of a position as I can. For example, I got to kesa gatame tonight against my last opponent. I knew of two attacks from there, both of which required me to move my hips up closer to his head. However, first, I wanted to make sure I had a decent base so that he couldn’t roll into me. When I did that, my openent was able to hook my leg. I kept working to free that leg and move forward, because I knew that I needed that leg out for me to be able to do either of the attacks I knew. In the end, we stalled out and the bell sounded with us in that position, I couldn’t advance, but he couldn’t escape. However, I’m pretty sure that if I’d panicked and decided to abandon that attack I would have left myself in a bad position. After all, I had a dominant position and it wouldn’t have taken much for him to get me in half-guard, which I have a hard time with.
In this case, I need to do the opposite of what my nature says. It says “Go! Go! Go!”, I need to keep saying “know what you’re doing before you do it.”