Confession time: I got pissed this week. I’ve started back training consistently! Congratulations to me!! I’ve been training Mondays and Wednesdays even when I’m really tired or just don’t feel like it.

So this week we were working on something I’m TERRIBLE at: keeping mount. Generally speaking, when I roll, if I’m bucked off, I just transition into closed guard. However, when the goal is: keep mount, I just can’t seem to do it against those *&%^@ wrestlers. We had a drill where the bottom person was trying to sweep or submit us, and the top person was trying to submit the bottom person. I get on, and 2 seconds later I’m rolled over. Ad nauseum. Literally happened at least 12 times. I swear to you I’m not even positive I lasted a total of 20 seconds. I was starting to feel frustrated. The folks who kept “winning” were white belts with a strong background in wrestling, but were brand new to BJJ. I’m in 6 years and getting tossed like a baby. I’m sucking harder than a Hoover vacuum cleaner.

Then one of the white belt wrestlers said to me, “You have your weight too far forward.” “I KNOW it here (pointing at my head) but it doesn’t mean I can DO it.” I was so angry. Damn white belt. Damn wrestler. Who does he think he is????!! I fumed.

After class I went online and posted about uppity white belts not knowing their role and who do they think they are giving advice to ME, an upper belt?? Damn it, I know I suck – why do you have to be a dick and point it out!?

I kid I kid. I only felt that way for a moment. A very very very long moment.

I kid I kid. I only felt that way for a moment. A very very very long moment.

Kidding! After class I walked up to him and said, “Hey, if you’re my partner during the technique, please give me feedback. If you’re rolling with me and get the same submission over and over, I’ll definitely ask for feedback. But if you see I’m making a lot of mistakes, please don’t give me unsolicited advice. Usually it will just piss me off because I’m not in the headspace to receive it.” He said “Absolutely, sorry about that!” and it was a non-issue.

I bring this up because countless times I read online “My partner goes too rough with me. What should I do?” “What can I do to get my partner to slow down?” “My partner did this douchy move. What should I do?” “Ugh, I hate rolling with so-and-so because he always bruises me up.” etc. The gist is that the partner does something the person does not like. The person then stews about it, it marinates in frustration, and anger and bitterness result. They then just post about it online or bitch to teammates about it.

My magic formula for all those problems and mine are simple:

USE YOUR WORDS

I know! Crazy, right! It’s almost like they’re human beings who can reason and respond. In general I like to give folks the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re not trying to be a douche. Recently I finished my five hundredth reread of Orson Scott Card’s book Xenocide and in it he said something marvelous:

“You treated me the way you like to be treated when you grieve, and now I’m treating you the way I like to be treated. We prescribe our own medicine for each other.”

Unfortunately, that 20-year-old athlete and me, the 40-year-old overweight hobbyist have VERY different medicine. He craves people giving him feedback. I don’t. The feedback I usually give folks is on how to be a good partner because that’s important to me, and that’s the feedback I want.

Things are great now. I’m very glad I took my own advice because I absolutely want to train with this guy, and I want to feel comfortable being around him. My own bitterness, planted in the fertile soil of frustration, would have absolutely soured that relationship.

IF YOUR PARTNER RESPONDS LIKE A DICK, IT WAS STILL THE RIGHT MOVE

That’s the beauty of using your words. When you tell someone that something is bothering you, folks who care will respond positively, as did this guy. “I had no idea!” I learned that he was a cool guy who I can communicate with, and I’m now more willing to train with him. Someone who responds with defensiveness or aggressiveness demonstrates that they actively disregard you and your feelings. Had he said, “Whatever” or “Fine, keep sucking.” That would have informed me that this is someone I should avoid. In both cases, I learn something valuable about the person and the nature of our relationship.

Jiu Jiu’s Question: Has there been a problem that you attempted to solve with your words? How did it go? What was the result? Is there anything you WANT to solve but might need help making a script for? Post it here and we can help!!