No one is a bigger opponent of “douchey-ness” on the mat than me.
Etiquette matters, as far as I’m concerned, at least insofar as our need to watch out for the safety of our partner and those nearby. I’m hyper-vigilant about this, going so far as to apologize mid-roll when there’s a chance a knee bumping my opponent’s head might have hurt.
I’d always prefer to err on the side of being overly ginger. I’m a pretty nice guy, maybe, or maybe just someone who holds a high standard of etiquette so to be sure students of mine emulate the right behavior. Maybe those are the same thing, and I have early role models of my own to thank for both.
Or maybe I’m lying to myself, limiting my training potential, AND secretly a jerk.
We all decide at what octane we’d like to train. When we meet people who train above it, what do we do? Those people find their way out of our “favorites list” of training partners, or maybe we just resign ourselves to not roll with them again.
By setting “rules” about the acceptable level of intensity, and culling the list of acceptable training partners, who are we left with? Those our intensity and below. So, if I’ll only roll with people my intensity and below, where does that leave me? At the top of the chain.
Now who is the one pushing the octane envelope? Now who is mauling who? Man, how embarrassing would it be to find out I’ve been acting like a bully?
What about you?
Do you say you want a light roll, then crank it up when it suits you? Do you caution of your injuries pre-roll, only to come out full force? I think I’ve done these lately (but am truly surprised myself at how much my current injuries can withstand in my irresponsibly-too-early rolling).
I admonish myself for this only because it came up while noticing that I am not tapping often lately. Not nearly enough.
Essentially, I’m ignoring my own advice to my students who have more opportunity than I do to train with people below and above them in technical ability. You’re simply not learning if you’re always imposing your game, and always in territory in which you feel confident. That’s definitely where I’ve been hanging out for a while now, while trying to tighten my top game.
It’s definitely time that I explore less comfortable territory again, and the edge of my positional and submission escapes. Of course, I can forgive myself the time I’ve recently spent in “offense mode.” It has been very productive, and anyway, I know we all sway between working our offense and our defense.
Very early on my path, I was passed over by Royce for advancement when other newer guys than me got theirs. Feedback eventually reached me, possibly originating from Royce, that I didn’t show a “killer instinct,” and that I was letting the other person work too much. The experience made me conscious of this area of practice, and I’ve made corrections in both directions since.
Time for a correction now again; this time toward more defensive play, and submitting. I’m not sure I’ve worked on trust with my training partners that close to the edge in a while. I hope my they don’t feel I’ve been the bully I fear I have, that they believe I’ll tap, and that they take their vengeance with care!