So I’m going to pull out a weird reference here, so please just bear with me: anyone remember the movie Contact with Jodie Foster, where she travels to meet with aliens?
There’s a scene that I was reminded of recently. I feel like I’m going to do a terrible job of explaining the scene, so I cued up the scene I’m about to talk about:
What the hell does this have to do with jiu jitsu? Glad you asked- in a way she is a bit of the white belt while strapped in the chair: it’s one avenue that is seen as safe, almost the only way to do something (in the movie’s case, travel). It’s when she’s willing to let go of that idea, when she opens herself up to take the risk and reach for the compass is when things become more smooth, fluid, and a hell of a lot less jarring.
When there is so much of a focus one approaching a match one way and only one way, you’re sort of confining yourself to that chair, and opportunities for a smoother roll pass right by you. Granted, you may even be at a point where you can recognize these opportunities, but when we lock ourselves into particular patterns and mindsets, and only focus on one or a few parts of our jiu jitsu it can actually become a limitation in our overall game. There comes a point where your skill set will be varied enough that you can take that risk, leave your comfort zone and take advantage of those opportunities, which will ultimately make you feel better about your training.
And after this, I promise I’ll never talk about Jodie Foster and aliens again. Pinky swear.