Always look to deepen your understanding of your art. After every roll or every round ask your training partners what they think you should work on, and what you can do to improve. Even if you are more skilled, be humble and genuine in asking. There might be some critique they can offer to help you on your journey of never ending improvement.
Always remember the objective is not to be better than everyone else, but to be better than we were before this practice session. We want to leave every practice session with a little deeper understanding of what works, what doesn’t, and what we need to improve. Even 1% better is still better. Of course we would love to make huge leaps every practice session yet it rarely works that way. We see incremental improvements over time as we train consistently, with humility, and a sincere desire to improve while helping those around us improve.
Before I wrap this up I’d like to share one of the secrets to digging deeper, mining for that gold; the answer is rarely, if ever, to add more techniques. The answer we’re digging for is usually found in the areas of better timing, smoother transitions, or greater connection. I’ll give you an example from a recent open mat I attended. As always, after the round I asked my training partner; what do you think I need to work on? He said, “you’re game is tight. There was a moment in there when I felt you climbing for the arm bar but you stopped for a second, and I was able to get out of there.” So it’s not that I need another variation of the arm bar, I need to master the timing of the arm bar. Because my timing was off I hesitated, not sure if I would be able to sink it, and in that moment of hesitation my training partner was able to escape. Now I know, and knowing is half the battle. The other half is applying. That’s a post for another day.