Please enjoy an article written by my friend from sleeveandcollar.com Rich Semides make sure to like Sleeve and Collar's Facebook Here
Having started instructing part time by doing private lessons I have been able to spend a lot of time thinking about topics in jiujitsu that I have never really had to examine before. When conveying the principles that I have picked up over the past years there are quite a few intangibles that can be difficult to explain. In this post I'll talk a bit about one of those intangibles: Confidence.
The first time I had heard confidence referenced in the actual practice of jiujitsu I was a blue belt and it was during a seminar with the infamous Rafael Lovato Jr . During the seminar he went over some of his pressure passing system and how important it was to have confidence while passing the guard. I know in the back of all of our minds we are telling ourselves that we are confident when we are passing, but from what I've seen since that day, most folks are not and that can be one of the greatest downfalls while training.
In your head imagine these two scenarios:
1. You're standing ready to pass a seated opponents guard. Maybe you train with this person daily and are sure that you can easily pass their guard and that they will not be able to sweep you.
2. Once again you're standing and ready to pass a seated opponents guard. This time you are either competing in a tournament against someone the same level and weight as you and his guard has been giving you problems. Or perhaps this is a black belt you normally have trouble with.
What was the difference in your mind with how you approach the situation. From what I've seen in live rolling this is usually what happens. In the first scenario the passing individual steps into the guard, executes solid technique, hits the pass and is successful. In the second scenario most people bend over at the waist, slowly move forward, and tentatively reach for grips on the pants or collar. The guard player tries to get a grip of their own and the standing opponent breaks the grips and backs up and eventually gives up grips and the guard player successfully sets up a guard. There is a direct correlation here with the amount of confidence the passing individual has based on the situation.
It makes perfect sense to be a little more cautious in certain scenarios, but does it help anything? No! This lack of confidence due to the situation leads to cautiousness which then leads to hesitation. To hesitate is to make one of the biggest mistakes you can make on the mat. You must know what you want to accomplish, how you want to accomplish it, and that you will be successful in your attempt (even if you're not in the end). Maybe you're telling yourself that you don't want to be swept and that's why you're being hesitant. This only leads to being swept more and an even greater lack of confidence in not only yourself, but your technique. TRUST YOUR TECHNIQUE AND GO FOR IT!
Lastly, if you have doubt in your mind you will almost certainly fail! Know you can do it and do it! If you don't make it the first time set a goal, make a plan and make it happen. From hitting a sweep to winning a tournament, this always applies.