We are trapped in the daily grind, our mind is stretched thin across millions of thoughts. We get to the end of the day, our release is finally in sight. Grappling! the light at the end of the tunnel, a reset button of sorts..... The idea of a release is great, in-fact it's healthy, however if we don't take the time to consider what we are truly aiming to get out of the mat and in turn reflect on what we left on the mat, we may find ourselves aimlessly plodding through our grappling journey leaving a wake of disgruntled training partners and missed opportunities in our path.
Ask yourself this question, What will my grappling obituary say about me? Will it be "Here lies John Doe, constant injurer of partners, selfish in class but never tapped" or "Here lies John Doe, a pleasure to train with, he always gave his best effort and helped others along the way". The choice is up to you.
This article is not another "be kind to your training partner" piece, rather an opportunity for you to think about your grappling past, present and future with greater meaning and hopefully ambition. Our aim is to layout some common goals and make some suggestions about how to navigate successfully (some do's and dont's).
Where do you fit in?
"I am here for the comradery"
Martial arts is a great place to meet people from all walks of life who become tethered together in the pursuit of prowess. This is an extremely valid reason to train, it sure beats becoming a barfly at the local. That said, if you fit in this camp, you may want to consider those around you and perhaps choose your training partner with this in mind. For someone preparing for a competition the thought of pairing up with you and hearing about your day in between some casual reps may not be overly appealing. We are not saying your day isn't interesting or valid, it's just that our minds are focussed on not breaking our arm in the comp this weekend.
DO - Continue to be friendly, we all need it and you are an awesome part of our community!
DON'T - Be selfish and take away from others training by talking during technique or putting in lazy reps.
SUGGESTION - Challenge yourself for one week and train as if you have a comp coming up on the weekend, this will help you to appreciate where your partners are coming from.
"I am only here for fitness"
Let's face it, rolling around on the mats and choking each other is a lot more fun than monotonously moving weights from point A to point B, we get the appeal of using grappling as a weapon against the bulge. However this is not an excuse for poor technique, "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect", Vince Lombardi.
DO - Continue to train hard and push the pace, your team needs it, some of them are taking it too easy.
DON'T - Drill sloppy technique and skip details just to get a workout in, you are missing the point and this will ultimately hurt you and take away some enjoyment when it comes to rolling.
SUGGESTION - Take the time to get the technique down and then up the pace, yes this will eat into your shred time initially, however when you have the technique you will be killing two birds with one stone. Trust us, your rolls will be more fun and everyone wins (except the lazy blue belt).
"I want to be a World Champion!"
OK, this one is another kettle of fish all together and will be unique to the individual, these grapplers are either wired this way from the get go, perhaps they have come into the gym as an elite athlete in another field or as their skill and passion increases they find themselves obsessing over our sport. Either way, these are the guys who are going to lift everyones game around them.
DO - Keep pushing the envelope and striving towards your goal, the club and sport need you!
DON'T - Think you know better than everyone else including your coach or develop the view that your training is more important than your partners, everyone around you pays fees and needs the time just as much as you.
SUGGESTION - Keep in mind that it is always better to show people, mainly your coaches rather than tell them, the drive should first come from within and should not be tethered to outside accolades (especially if you are new to grappling). Lastly, it is ok to let your hair down and enjoy training from time to time, remember this is suppose to be fun and probably the reason you started in the first place.
We hope this is cause for positive reflection and planning, the next time you step on the mat (let's hope we are not too far off) consider which camp you currently sit in (perhaps another category all together), how you can maximise your training and if you may want to dabble into another mindset all together. Ultimately the choice is yours and how you train will reflect on you as an individual.