What should be my goal with bigger, stronger rolling partners that are at my skill level?

drop bear

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I had to quote this in a separate post, because this advice is so far off the mark of the question I was asking, I have to ask if you even know what the question was.

Please tell me where I said in my post anything along the lines of being upset with not KO'ing my opponent? Did I say in my post that "Hey, there's this guy that's stronger than me, and I'm pissed off that I can't tap him ten times in a round."

Did I say anything like that? No. I did not.

In fact, I said, there are plenty of people that smash me and I have no chance against, but I am able to find those small victories that you're preaching about.

What is the point of all of this? What are you trying to teach me that you think I don't already know?

When I would roll with this guy (and it has been a while, he may have quit), I could literally nothing. My grips didn't matter. My frames didn't matter. I couldn't make him budge if I tried to do any technique. I couldn't prevent him from moving anywhere he wanted to go in any way he wanted to go. If he pulled guard, I couldn't break or pass his guard, but he could easily sweep me. If he took me down, he would break my guard like it was nothing, climb over one leg into half guard, and just take the Americana.

Against this guy, there was essentially no difference between me and a grappling dummy. The grappling dummy is technically lighter, but I don't know that it mattered to him.

Imagine if you were going all-out against a 5-year-old. Would that 5-year-old be able to find any small victories against you?

You keep hammering that I need to find small victories. There are none. None. Like benching that 300 pound bar. There's no way I'm going to make gains there.

The victory is mental toughness?
 

JowGaWolf

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Only in your head. This guy is just another guy in the gym. If you start out, believing that he is impervious to everything you try.... then you will be correct. Maybe the first win should be "this guy is not impervious to everything I do." He is presenting you with a unique training opportunity. Do with that opportunity what you will.


(its really not that unique of an opportunity.... but building up the skills now to deal with it, will help you later, with the next guy who does this)
This is why I don't like to put sparring in terms of winning or losing. It totally puts the wrong mindset for some. Sparring is simple. It's not about winning. It's about working your techniques. I think it's better to measure sparring in terms of Success and Failure. This presents the opportunity to analyze what works and what doesn't work. Most importantly is that it also answers why something didn't work.

Winning is more finite. "My only goal was to trip him." He accomplished that only once and as a result he started doing stupid stuff.

For me. "My only goal is to land a technique." Regardless if it's my first time or 200th time. The goal is to land the technique. There is no "one and done." When you learn one way to land a technique, then learn another way to land the same technique.
 
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Why does this analogy anger you so much?
I remember conversations, and the people that I enjoy conversing with or have had problems with. Some people erode any good will I have to them over time. Others lose it all in one big swoop.
 

wab25

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This is why I don't like to put sparring in terms of winning or losing. It totally puts the wrong mindset for some. Sparring is simple. It's not about winning. It's about working your techniques. I think it's better to measure sparring in terms of Success and Failure. This presents the opportunity to analyze what works and what doesn't work. Most importantly is that it also answers why something didn't work.

Winning is more finite. "My only goal was to trip him." He accomplished that only once and as a result he started doing stupid stuff.

For me. "My only goal is to land a technique." Regardless if it's my first time or 200th time. The goal is to land the technique. There is no "one and done." When you learn one way to land a technique, then learn another way to land the same technique.
I agree with you. But, for me, what you describe is an "ideal" situation. Ideally, I am in a mental place, where all I care about is working my techniques and learning. In reality however, I have my ups and downs. Most of the time, I am happy to just work.... but there are times, where I need to "win" to keep from being discouraged. While on the surface, its just a semantic difference.... as you point out, it is a difference.

When I start to get discouraged, these small points become "wins." As I get less discouraged, they become "successes" that I work for. I know I am in a good place, when I am just happy to be putting in the work.... where the successes and failures become the learning and the experience. I can't say that I am there 100% of the time.... but I am working on it.
 

dunc

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What I will say is that focusing on using sparring to improve (as opposed to winning) will ensure that you stay the course over time
At some point in your development you get to the stage where you can pretty much win every roll if you want to (as you'll have enough folk in the class that you can beat if you want, so the temptation is to just choose them). I see this quite a lot with Purple and Brown belts who only roll with folk they can beat
The problem is that to get better you've got to do the opposite (at least say half the time). You want to pick the guys you can't beat and roll with them until you can figure out how to beat them. Meaning you have to actively seek out loosing situations regularly
 

JowGaWolf

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I agree with you. But, for me, what you describe is an "ideal" situation. Ideally, I am in a mental place, where all I care about is working my techniques and learning. In reality however, I have my ups and downs. Most of the time, I am happy to just work.... but there are times, where I need to "win" to keep from being discouraged. While on the surface, its just a semantic difference.... as you point out, it is a difference.

When I start to get discouraged, these small points become "wins." As I get less discouraged, they become "successes" that I work for. I know I am in a good place, when I am just happy to be putting in the work.... where the successes and failures become the learning and the experience. I can't say that I am there 100% of the time.... but I am working on it.
yep. I'm definitely not wired like that. My training is more like a story. Some chapters are high points and others are low points. My training is like this for me. When I read a book, I don't say that I win or lose. Like a story I simply progress. When I train, regardless of success or failure, I progress. A lot of my success in Jow Ga were born from my failures. Ironically I can literally say that without those failures I wouldn't have the success. So with that mentality it's really difficult to be discouraged.

But even though I'm like that, I do understand that people like "little wins." But I wold be curious. Have you had any success that wasn't born from a failure?
 
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What I will say is that focusing on using sparring to improve (as opposed to winning) will ensure that you stay the course over time
At some point in your development you get to the stage where you can pretty much win every roll if you want to (as you'll have enough folk in the class that you can beat if you want, so the temptation is to just choose them). I see this quite a lot with Purple and Brown belts who only roll with folk they can beat
The problem is that to get better you've got to do the opposite (at least say half the time). You want to pick the guys you can't beat and roll with them until you can figure out how to beat them. Meaning you have to actively seek out loosing situations regularly
Again, I lose to almost everyone. I said this in the OP. I've said this several times in this thread. There are only two specific people that I really get frustrated with. So I don't know how this advice really helps.

I lose to my professor. The fact that he can move at 10% speed and still have 100% control over the fight is inspiring. And he purposefully leaves slight openings for me to make progress inches at a time.

I lose to the other professor. He does awesome moves that are inspiring in a different way (like diving over my leg when I pull guard). Then, after he taps me out, we'll go over what I should have done. Put me back in the situation where it really went south and where I made a bad decision, and start over from there. He's a lot of fun, and I learn a lot, too.

I lose to the brown belt. He gives me hints about what I'm supposed to do, and half the time I get them. He's also clearly comfortable no matter what position I have him in, and like my professor, that's a spot I'd like to be in some day.

I lose to the purple belts. They do a pretty good job of balancing between smashing me, letting me work a little bit, and giving me advice (quite often like my second professor). Sometimes their coaching style is rough around the edges, but overall I'm better off for rolling with them.

I lose to the blue belts most of the time. When I do get them, I feel most of the time it's because they overdid it on letting me work. But it's very clear when they want to be, they're better than me.

I lose to other white belts most of the time. Most of them are some combination of bigger and stronger than me. We have one kid who was a wrestler, weighs 280+ pounds, and set his high school's bench press record. I like working with him, because when we work, he's working on technique, and he's not using his strength to such a level to make it impossible for me to get anything done. He beats me, yes. But we both get work in and I feel we both come out better for the experience.

But this guy I talked about in my OP, there was no room to work, at least not for me. There's another guy who just started, and all he does in any position is stall and squeeze. You're in his guard? He's not trying to do anything but squeeze his legs as tight as he can. He's in mount? All he does is lay as flat as he can and squeeze your head. He might try something once, and if it doesn't work, he just squeezes. With this guy, I understand why people don't like rolling with white belts, and I think I'll give him a bit to learn how to actually do stuff before I try rolling with him again.
 

dunc

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That is the way
Again, I lose to almost everyone. I said this in the OP. I've said this several times in this thread. There are only two specific people that I really get frustrated with. So I don't know how this advice really helps.

I lose to my professor. The fact that he can move at 10% speed and still have 100% control over the fight is inspiring. And he purposefully leaves slight openings for me to make progress inches at a time.

I lose to the other professor. He does awesome moves that are inspiring in a different way (like diving over my leg when I pull guard). Then, after he taps me out, we'll go over what I should have done. Put me back in the situation where it really went south and where I made a bad decision, and start over from there. He's a lot of fun, and I learn a lot, too.

I lose to the brown belt. He gives me hints about what I'm supposed to do, and half the time I get them. He's also clearly comfortable no matter what position I have him in, and like my professor, that's a spot I'd like to be in some day.

I lose to the purple belts. They do a pretty good job of balancing between smashing me, letting me work a little bit, and giving me advice (quite often like my second professor). Sometimes their coaching style is rough around the edges, but overall I'm better off for rolling with them.

I lose to the blue belts most of the time. When I do get them, I feel most of the time it's because they overdid it on letting me work. But it's very clear when they want to be, they're better than me.

I lose to other white belts most of the time. Most of them are some combination of bigger and stronger than me. We have one kid who was a wrestler, weighs 280+ pounds, and set his high school's bench press record. I like working with him, because when we work, he's working on technique, and he's not using his strength to such a level to make it impossible for me to get anything done. He beats me, yes. But we both get work in and I feel we both come out better for the experience.

But this guy I talked about in my OP, there was no room to work, at least not for me. There's another guy who just started, and all he does in any position is stall and squeeze. You're in his guard? He's not trying to do anything but squeeze his legs as tight as he can. He's in mount? All he does is lay as flat as he can and squeeze your head. He might try something once, and if it doesn't work, he just squeezes. With this guy, I understand why people don't like rolling with white belts, and I think I'll give him a bit to learn how to actually do stuff before I try rolling with him again.
Hi
Apologies I was making a general point
Part of this is just how it is, that's the grind, you start at the bottom of the pile getting smashed by everyone. After a while you get tough, then technically hard to tap, then you start smashing people
As I posted earlier in the thread, my advice is to focus on defence, learning how to make small adjustments to get comfortable in bad positions and to defend from submissions. Do that for a couple of years and you'll be amazed at how hard you become to tap
Hope this helps
 

JowGaWolf

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I lose to my professor.
What are you losing when your spar with your professor? Does he tell you that he won?

I lose to the other professor.
What are you losing when your spar with your professor? Does he tell you that he won?

I lose to the brown belt.
What are you losing when your spar with your professor? Does he tell you that he won?
I lose to the blue belts most of the time.
What are you losing when your spar with your professor? Does he tell you that he won?

I'm curious to know if they see training with you in the same light as "winning or losing"
 

drop bear

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With this guy, I understand why people don't like rolling with white belts, and I think I'll give him a bit to learn how to actually do stuff before I try rolling with him again.

You are better off developing systems to deal with that. Rather than wait untill he starts attacking you in a way you can deal with.
 

JowGaWolf

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There's another guy who just started, and all he does in any position is stall and squeeze. You're in his guard? He's not trying to do anything but squeeze his legs as tight as he can. He's in mount? All he does is lay as flat as he can and squeeze your head. He might try something once, and if it doesn't work, he just squeezes. With this guy, I understand why people don't like rolling with white belts, and I think I'll give him a bit to learn how to actually do stuff before I try rolling with him again.
This sounds like a common response for people who are new to fighting on the ground. I don't fight on the ground so this was my response as well. My sparring partner just let me squeeze. He would position his body in a way that made my attempt ineffective. Once he felt me tire out from squeezing, he would start working his techniques. For me the squeezing was an attempt to prevent him from using the his techniques. The irony is that it put him in a situation where he didn't need techniques. He just needed a position that made me less effective.

Because the only thing I was doing was squeezing, he only needed to stay in that one position and wait for me to gas out. I no longer do that plan. Now, I try to make him adjust because I realize that my opportunity comes in between his adjustments. As soon as he tries to adjust in response I shift into another attack. I guess you can say that I try to make his response "outdated or irrelevant to what I'm trying to apply." A lot of times he can feel what I'm up to which makes my attacks "outdated." But I've gotten better with hiding my intent. I can't let him sense my weight shifts or muscle tension. The other side of the coin is that he doesn't want me to be aware that he already knows what I'm about to do and is just waiting for me to do it so that he can counter it.

The more that I train and spar with him the better I get a realizing when he knows what I'm about to do and when he doesn't. In a way it's like chess.
 
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You are better off developing systems to deal with that. Rather than wait untill he starts attacking you in a way you can deal with.
I don't see that happening until I get better. Which I don't see happening if I spend a round unable to work.

It goes back to the bench press analogy. If I can't bench the bar, the only way to get stronger is to lower the weight.
 

JowGaWolf

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I don't see that happening until I get better. Which I don't see happening if I spend a round unable to work.

It goes back to the bench press analogy. If I can't bench the bar, the only way to get stronger is to lower the weight.
Maybe this will work. When you wrestle the higher belts, do the same thing to them that is being done to you. Squeeze them like the white belt squeezes you and then take note of how they respond. Then try it on the white belt.
 

wab25

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I don't see that happening until I get better.

In order for a person to win, they need to get enough details done at a sufficient level, for their techniques to work on the other guy. If a person is bigger and stronger, they need fewer details to be right and those details can be less correct. When two people are of similar size and strength, then each needs some details, done at a reasonable level... in order to make their techniques work. As the other guy gets bigger and stronger, the little guy needs more details and he needs those details to be more correct.

With two guys of similar size and strength, maybe each one only needs to get 3-4 details, with each of those details being about 25-30% correct. That may be enough for one to apply his techniques on the other. When one of the guys gets way bigger and way stronger... the little guy will not be able to use the same 3-4 details at 30% to win.... he will need 20-25 details, and all of them will need to be at 80% or higher, to make the techniques work on the bigger guy.

When people work with others, where they are able to have a bit of success in their techniques.... they tend to use the same 3-4 details, done in the 25-30% range. Sure, maybe they get one detail to 32% or occasionally get a 5th detail in there... but they are experiencing "success" and "winning" with just those 3-4 details. They may not even know about the 100s of details, that they do not need, when working with people that they can have some success with.

When the little guy works with the very much bigger and stronger guy.... it forces him to look for more details to add, and to look at how to do each of the details better. Lets say that over a period of time, the little guy adds 5 more details, and gets all of his details up into the 40% range.... He still loses and gets manhandled by the big guy. But, when the little guy goes back to the guys he normally works with, he has 8-9 details, each at 40% where the other guys still have 3-4 details at 25-30%. The little guy now has an advantage in the number of details and the correctness of those details. If he continues to work with the big guy.... he will keep adding details and making all his details more correct.

When he gets in the 15-20 details range, each at 60%... while he still does not move the big guy, he does mop the floor with most more evenly matched guys.

What can be super frustrating is that in this range, the little guy starts getting close enough for one of his techniques to work on the big guy... and the big guy makes a small adjustment, completely shutting down the little guy. The little guy needs to understand, that he has now made enough progress that the big guy needs to make an adjustment. ( There have been times when I have been in these situations.... I needed "wins," not "successes" in order to keep from getting too discouraged. Those adjustments the big guy made to shut me down, were the "wins" that kept me training... and not throwing in the towel.)

Which I don't see happening if I spend a round unable to work.
I am not going to promise that you will make much progress against this particular guy. But, by continuing to work with him and applying any of the advice given here in this thread, by pretty much any of the participants.... I can promise that you will get better at dealing with the other folks that you roll with. I can also promise you that your will learn and perfect more details.... these details will show up and give you advantages against other folks later.

You can duck him. You can pick up those details elsewhere, and improve them elsewhere. But, it will not be as fast. And you will still have to tackle the mental part of having someone much bigger and much stronger manhandling you. (that part you only get one way)
 

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Oh no, I'm discussing martial arts on a martial arts forum!
I am saying you should be doing that with your teacher

But if it helps you then cool, sorry if my comment bothered you
 

drop bear

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I don't see that happening until I get better. Which I don't see happening if I spend a round unable to work.

It goes back to the bench press analogy. If I can't bench the bar, the only way to get stronger is to lower the weight.

It doesnt happen if you don't do it.

You are not choosing a lesser partner you are choosing a different one.
 
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It doesnt happen if you don't do it.

You are not choosing a lesser partner you are choosing a different one.
Actually I choose better partners. I would rather roll with an upper belt than roll with a stubborn white belt.
 
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