Down the rabbit hole we go…..

mst_brain I am currently really struggling with the mental side    of my game.  I am reasonably strong and I seem to a  problem using my strength when rolling.  I was really stuck because as we all know its about technique not strength but I didn’t seem to be able to match the other guys at my school.  It felt like I was just going down a rabbit hole without knowing where it was leading to.

I did a lot of google searching and this lead me down the path of pressure.  Do I need to improve the pressure I put on my training partners? OK so how do I develop that? I read a quote from another blog which said “Physically, pressure manifests through superior technique, superior pace/conditioning and strength, usually in the form of pressure being exerted on a person…..”. So further down the rabbit hole I went.

Still stuck I thought I would ask around.  I posed the question to a guy I have mentioned before Liam Wandi.  He is a purple belt but has the same sort of view on BJJ as me.  So I was hoping he could give me some sort of insight, from a similar starting point as me,  What he came back with was both surprising and eye opening.  It’s not strength but speed I need to develop.  This made complete sense.

As I don’t want to be aggressive and all snarly about my jiu jitsu as it is a bit of a douche thing to do.  But speed is definitely something I’m lacking.  I guess I am trying to do techniques that I have not drilled enough so I can’t react I have to think “what next” and that is what slowing me up.

I am somewhere going to have to make some time to drill some techniques more.  After some discussions previously and some tips ob drilling from others, I’ll be looking at breaking techniques into micro drills.  Plus I have found a load of movement drills on You Tube I can try to improve my general movement.  I have the techniques in my head, but they are not coming out under external pressure.  So I have to get to the stage of learning that is “unconscious competence”.  Obviously this is not going to be a quick thing but small wins lead to a greater victory.  I do take consolation in the fact that I have recognised these issues and I am looking at what I can do to resolve them.  I may not yet have all the techniques available to live up to my blue belt, but I feel I have the mental attitude and understanding. Anyone else gone through anything similar?


I originally wrote this a week ago and have gone through a series of considerations and in addition to drilling, I do think I am being a little too playful for the guys I roll with.  I am approaching it as an extension of a technical learning experience to improve my “skills”. However  I think some of the guys I spar with treat as a way to practise under pressure. So I think it is me that needed to change perspective. If I’m not applying the pressure no one is getting anything out of the session.  I have since gone harder when sparring and I do seem to be getting better results.  Just need to work on the drilling.

Munkiheader rolling Final2


  1. When you say pressure I assume you’re talking about passing. If I may give you a little piece of advice to help you with your pressure. Try and focus on keeping your “feet active”. When you’re passing on in top position, focus on keeping your toes and feet digging into the mat. This will help keep a constant push into your opponent instead of you going to your knees and relieving the pressure off your opponent and onto your knees.

    If you have trouble finding or knowing what I am talking about just let me know and I can make a video with some drills. Otherwise, good luck!

  2. I think of rolling/jiu jitsu differently than most. I love watching Panda bears. I want to be more like them. Just rolling around. Not worrying. If I am in someones guard and they are trying like the dickens to prevent me from passing, kewl, I will stay in the guard and see what happens. Explore. I pass by giving up a submission, ( leg triangle, arm bar) and then just defending/escaping that submission; this is becoming my favorite way to pass. And, I usually get to a much superior position from this escape and then I submit. I wonder if the opponent has become mentally defeated from my pass from their submission? They work to keep me in their guard. They are trying hard to submit. They think they have the submission. I defend and escape to a superior position, say side mount or even mount. Now, they lost their position and all of their effort is for not.

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