Act Early

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Your determination matters a lot.

In the previous post, I talked about how it’s essential…

1) to decide that you will keep your guard and

2) not to give up your guard too quickly.

And I hinted that there’s a bit more to this mental side of the game.

Here’s another mental command you should program into yourself:

Prevention over recovery.

Again, you might have heard of something similar from your coach over and over…

But paying attention to your opponent’s moves and dealing with them in the early stages can help you keep your guard.

Or at least it will be much easier to deal with their guard passing attempts in those early stages.

When you are already in a bad enough position and thinking of recovering your guard, you’re late.

It doesn’t mean you can’t recover. Sure, you should know how to recover (and escape if you end up in a worse position). But it’s much better for you if you don’t get into such a position in the first place.

When I think of my progress as a guard player, increasing the level of attention I give to my opponent’s early stage moves (like grips and angle changes) helped me become a better guard player over time. Meaning, compared to myself-as-a-white-belt, I pay way more attention to my opponent’s moves.

Initially, you will have to pay attention to these moves and learn to deal with them consciously.

As you practice, this process becomes more automatic and intuitive.

And your first step is to decide paying attention to your opponent’s moves. This is especially the case when you roll with higher belts.

Right before sparring starts, you can say something like, “I am going to pay attention to my opponent’s moves & deal with them as early as I can. I will keep my guard as much as possible” to yourself in your mind.

Or if it’s too wordy, say something simpler like “prevention over recovery”.

That’s all for today…