I strongly believe competitions teach you great lessons, as long as you are open to critically analyze your performance and make improvements. Here is something that happened to me and I am sure I am not the only one.
Let’s go straight to the point: I am purple belt and my passing guard to my left was at white belt level. It threw me completely off track and I didn’t know why.
I didn’t spent much time in white belt. As a blue belt, it was all about guard game. Then welcome to the world of purple belt. That’s when I started to explore guard passing, takedowns, transitions, control and submissions.
The first time I competed with a very well defined gameplan included De la riva, Lasso guard, with transition to Omoplata. I built a diagram for my gameplan with all details for positions.
In one of my fights, after a sweep, I ended up in my opponent’s open guard. He controlled my right foot, and with my limited knowledge, the option I had was to pass to my bad side (left one). This “bad side” was so bad that I couldn’t break a grip on my right leg. I was totally unfamiliar and uncomfortable in my “bad” side. I won that fight in points, thanks to the lasso sweep. People often say you learn from your losses. I say you learn from wins and losses.
From my first training session after this competition, I set up a training rule for myself: Only pass lower belt guards to my left side. I struggled to adjust my body to the “wrong” side. I noticed after a few weeks I was comfortable performing the same moves. I continuously applied my rule for at least 3 months.
Now I feel comfortable to take my guard passing to the next level and start to get more dynamic, change sides, apply a mix of pressure and speed.
Make sure you drill and practise techniques for both sides. Put your ego aside and get uncomfortable at training. Then feel at home at competitions.
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