Posted On:12/10/2007 12:11am
Dealing with Slumps and Ruts in Grappling Part 1
15 Ways You Can Fall Into a Slump in Grappling
Author: Jason Scully
ďSuccess is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached as by the obstacles that one has overcome while trying to succeed.Ē ~ Mark Twain
I donít know anyone who has been training in the sport of grappling for an extensive period of time that hasnít experienced a slump or been in some sort of rut. When you are in a training slump you may experience the following:You donít feel like your improving and have the feeling that you no longer will.Youíre starting to feel frustrated.You feel unmotivated.You feel like you want to quit training all together.You feel nothing is going right.Being able to get through your slump in grappling could be the determining factor of whether you continue in your training or not. If you do continue and get through your first slump, then getting through other slumps will get easier. If you donít get through your slump, then chances are that you probably wonít be grappling much longer. Iíve seen training slumps make and break many people.
There are many reasons why you may experience a slump and not everyone experiences the same thing. The first important step is to figure out what exactly is causing you to be in a slump in the first place. Once you figure that out, then you can work on dealing with the problem and you can get back on track with your training.
Below you will find a list of reasons why many people experience slumps. You may not be experiencing all of them, but Iím sure if youíre in a slump you are experiencing some of them. If youíre experiencing multiple things I recommend that you focus on each one youíre dealing with one at a time. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm yourself anymore then you already are. That will just counter act what youíre trying to do. Even if youíre not experiencing one of the causes below or if youíre not in a slump, itís a great idea to read all of them anyway so you can have an idea of how you can avoid the situation all together.
Things that can result in you being in a slump:
1. Injury or Illness Ė The first thing you should always rule out is having an injury or an illness. If you have become injured this can be a big burden for some people and it can not only affect you physically, but it can also affect you mentally. I know many people who got injured in training and they took time off to heal. While they were taking time off they decided that they didnít want to do much involving grappling because it got them depressed thinking about not being able to train, but what starts to happen is they begin totally clearing grappling out of their mind while they were injured. They were building a slump for themselves and a habit of not training. When they finally got back on the mat it was much harder for them to get back into it and motivated to train because they already formed a habit of not wanting to train.
2. Overtraining Ė This is another big factor for many who are in slumps. When you are overtraining your body doesnít react as well as it could. You feel tired, get sick easier, youíre body is aching, lose sleep, and so on. This all leads to you being less motivated and possibly depressed about your training and then youíre definitely going to be in a slump.
3. You Have a Win Only Mentality Ė Having a ďwin onlyĒ mentally is a trait that I see in many people who train in the sport of grappling. I see it more in those who havenít been training for an extensive period of time, but those who do have this attitude in the beginning of their grappling career may have a chance of suffering mental burnout. When you have a win only mentality, all you focus on is winning and nothing else. When youíre grappling with your training partners you want to get the tap every time and you really donít care how you get it. The more you donít win the more frustrated you get. The more frustrated you get, the less you want to train because you feel like youíre a loser and youíre not getting any better. While youíre starting to get these feelings you never realize that it could be because youíre focusing more on winning then actually learning.
4. Closed Minded Ė Being a grappling instructor I have come across many students that like doing their own thing no matter what. You can tell them that a specific technique is perfect for them, but for some reason they donít think so and they never even try to use it. They just shut it out and do their own thing. These people are very closed minded in their training. They act like they already know the answers when chances are they donít. As time goes on they donít improve and they donít understand why. As they keep doing the same things over and over, their other training partners that are more open minded towards their training and who are experimenting with new things are the ones getting better.
5. Personal Issues Ė Itís not just things in your training environment and how you train that can cause you to be in a slump. Your outside life can also have a huge impact on the way you train. I know this from personal experience. There have been times in my grappling career where I have experienced personal difficulties and it was almost impossible keeping those issues from affecting my training. No matter how much your grappling is suppose to be an outlet for you to get away from everyday life, it doesnít always work out like that. Iíve had personal issues in my outside life that I just couldnít put on the side when I was training and Iím sure many of you have also. No matter how hard I tried, I kept thinking about them in class. This would lead to me feeling down, unmotivated, and sometimes very close to being injured. This is something that can lead to a slump because your priorities in your personal life outweigh your priorities in your grappling life.
6. Lack of Sleep Ė Not getting enough sleep is a huge problem for most people. This not only affects your grappling and leads to slumps, it also can affect your everyday life. When you donít get enough sleep you feel tired throughout the day. Your judgment is affected along with your reaction time. You donít think as clearly and it leads to a big lack in motivation. This all contributes to one being in a slump.
7. Bad Experience Training Followed By Negative Thoughts Ė In this situation you are feeling good about your training and everything is going well. Then you go to class one day and a new grappler or a lesser experience grappler gets the best of you. You canít understand how this happened, or why. You start to feel disappointed in yourself and thinking negative thoughts. This rolls over to your other grappling sessions that day and you do even worse because you are filled with disappointment. This is a very common scenario that happens to many people who training in the sport of grappling. They have a bad experience and then they let it steam roll right over them by constantly thinking about it along with adding negative thoughts to the equations. This only leads to frustration, lack of motivation, and the beginning of a big slump.
8. Focus on Past Failures and Future Endeavors Ė Many people are stuck in a slump and have negative thoughts because they canít get past previous failures they may have encountered and/or theyíre worried about how theyíre going to perform in the future. They waste a lot of energy worrying about these situations they currently have no control over instead of focusing on what theyíre going to do in the present. This can lead to someone being in a slump because they lose focus in their current training sessions and it hinders their learning.
9. Down on Yourself Ė Another common scenario that usually leads to a slump is when you are constantly down on yourself. Instead of focusing on your successes in your training you only think and dwell upon the times you didnít do so well and the times you got tapped out. This leads to you being constantly down on yourself. You start to feel that youíre not any good and that you keep ďlosingĒ so youíre probably not going to get any better. Having these thoughts and building upon them could lead to a major slump that can be hard to get out of.
10. Compare Yourself To Others Ė If you constantly compare yourself to others and you donít focus on just your training alone, then this can lead to you possibly falling into an area where you are in a slump. Many people focus a lot on what their training partners are doing. They pay attention to their partnerís successes and to their partnerís failures and they compare those situations to themselves. If you see one of your partners who has been training just as long as you have doing very well in grappling but youíre not, this can lead to you wondering why that person is excelling and youíre not. While for some, this situation can be a source of motivation. For many others it only leads to self-doubt and frustration. When you start to experience these negative feelings it hinders your learning and then next thing you know, youíre in a slump.
11. You Achieved A Goal or Won Something and Then Became Unmotivated Ė This is another common situation that can lead to being in a slump. What happens to some individuals is they work hard, test themselves in a competition setting, and do well. After they do well they feel they deserve some time to relax and take off. This is definitely ok for most people, but for some it is counterintuitive. During the relaxing off time they start to get comfortable with not doing much. Then as time goes on it becomes a habit. It becomes harder and harder to get into the gym which leads to them not getting better and improving since the last time they competed. This is a very common scenario for some people after their first competition.
12. Overanalyzing and Not Trusting Your Gut and Instincts Ė Have you ever heard anyone say to you, ďDonít think too muchĒ? Have they ever told you just to react and not overanalyze things. The reason you hear someone say this to you sometimes is because youíre constantly analyzing a situation and thinking about it while never actually getting started. Youíre always trying to figure out the right thing to do before you even do it. Before you know it, time has flown by and you did nothing. This can definitely lead to a slump and a decrease in learning.
13. Your Practice Isnít Suited Well For You Ė Another reason why you might be experiencing a slump is because you may have come to a point where you practicing environment isnít quite for you anymore. In the beginning you should always improve because youíre fresh and you donít know much, but as you are training more you are going to need a training environment that can adapt to your adjustments. For example letís say youíre someone who loves training and when you go to the gym to train you want to get as much drilling in as possible and as much rolling. Then after training youíre more than happy to talk with your peers. However the training environment doesnít match. Itís more of a club environment where the students sit and talk just as much as they drill. This is an environment that isnít good for your particular training style. You may also have an instructor who tries to motivate you by yelling, while you donít particularly respond well to this type of coaching style. If this is also your case, then it can cause you to shut down and really slow down your learning.
14. Laziness and Havenít Been Training Enough Ė Some people want to do a grappling sport and be the best they can be, but at the same time they donít want to put in the work to get there. They want to be good right away. They donít really like hard workouts and they donít drill as much as they could. These are the lazy people. They train once a week when they can train more and they drill 10 times max when they probably could have drilled the same technique 20 times. If you are this type of person there is going to be a chance of you being in a slump for the duration of your grappling career.
15. Your Partners Have Figured Out Your Game Ė One of the most common reasons why you might fall into a slump is because your training partners have figured out your game. They know exactly what your favorite techniques are and how you react. This makes it much harder for you to do what you want when youíre rolling live. Itís very important that you realize that this is happening and you work on adjusting your game so you can keep moving forward. You canít keep doing the same things over and over because you wonít get the results you used to. You have to vary up your game to make your training partners have to catch up again.
The big question to ask is, ďAre these easy to fix?Ē Some may be easier to deal with than others and some will be very hard to deal with, but you should be able to correct all of them. While focusing on getting out of your slump you want to do your best to be patient, always thinking about the positives and never the negatives. The reason many people have trouble getting out of slumps is because they are constantly building a mountain of negative thoughts in their brain. Be happy that you have the opportunity to train and be in this world in the first place and that will be your first step to dealing with slumps that get in your way.
Part 2 of ďDealing with Slumps and Ruts of GrapplingĒ will go over what steps you can take to concur each one of these slump causing areas.
Thank you for reading!
Last edited by jasculs; 12/30/2007 3:08pm at .
Posted On:12/10/2007 3:43pm
Style: Not lost...Found Judo+MT
Thanks alot, another good read.
solves problems with violence
Posted On:12/10/2007 3:59pm
Style: Judo, Hung Family Boxing
good stuff, this happens to strikers as well.
"Face punches are an essential character building part of a martial art. You don't truly love your children unless you allow them to get punched in the face." - chi-conspiricy
"When I was a little boy, I had a sailor suit, but it didn't mean I was in the Navy." - Mtripp on the subject of a 5 year old karate black belt
"Without actual qualifications to be a Zen teacher, your instructor is just another roundeye raping Asian culture for a buck." - Errant108
"Seriously, who gives a **** what you or Errant think? You're Asian males, everyone just ignores you, unless you're in a krotty movie." - new2bjj
Posted On:12/10/2007 5:42pm
Thanks for the positive feedback...I have experienced a lot of these myself along with seeing pretty much all of them first hand by teaching bjj. I know I didn't go in depth about my thoughts on how to combat each one (which I will be finishing an article on really soon) but hopefully it will at least get many of you thinking about the situations you may be experiencing.
Monkey Knife Fight!
Posted On:12/10/2007 7:10pm
That was helpful. I feel like I'm in a rut right now, so this was insightful.
Posted On:12/11/2007 8:56pm
Originally Posted by Anger Claus
That was helpful. I feel like I'm in a rut right now, so this was insightful.
If you don't mine me asking, what are you experiencing?
Posted On:12/11/2007 9:12pm
I am suffering from all of the symptoms and, looks like 11 or 12 of the causes. The answer is roids, right?
I'm picturing you drooling onto the keyboard as you type, one eye rotating independent of the other as your hands mash the keys. - Sophist
I feel like I'm just not improving anymore. I've been a blue belt since oct of '05 now and I've seen a few instances of people who have started new catch up to me or surpass me within a year. I thought at first maybe I was just trying to break the habits I picked up in Judo but now I'm not so sure. I don't honestly feel that I'm any better know then I was a year ago. Don't get me wrong I still really like to go train and roll and being tapped by newer people has never bothered me. It's more the feeling of not improving. I can only train 2 to 3 times a week due to work and family obligations so putting in more mat time really isn't an option.
Posted On:12/12/2007 4:55am
Style: bjj, boxing, ex-iwama ryu
15. Your Partners Have Figured Out Your Game ---ouch! yep!
Posted On:12/12/2007 12:42pm
Thank you for this, it is much appreciated. :)
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