Thursday, March 1, 2012
One JT story that has stuck with me was one experienced by my friend and teammate, Christian "Ninjaa" Gonzalez. Christian is a fierce competitor who is as strong for his size as he is technical. At the same time, he is also a martial artist. One time he was rolling with JT and out of respect and deference to him, Ninjaa was not going full out against him. JT immediately realized what Christian was doing and stopped the roll immediately and told him:
"When you roll with me...destroy me! Give it everything you've got, I know you got this!" JT was telling Christian not to hesitate in his roll. In spite of his rank and credentials he needed to go after JT 100% as if he were fighting for his life. Not rolling 100% would only be a detriment to him in the long run. After hearing those words, just like that, it was on! Christian rolled with a new intensity against JT for the rest of their roll, much to JT's satisfaction.
More importantly, JT's advice stuck with Christian ever since. Christian has always been one of the faster learners at the school in his own right but I believe that JT's words that night really helped his game a lot. Christian himself has said that, "rolling with him struck a confidence in me to give it my all and not give up. And its been carried with me since."
I have to be 100% honest: this is probably one of the biggest problems in my game. As I've said before, I tend to get intimidated by higher ranking belts when I roll with them and it causes my game to lockup big time. It's almost as if I feel like I'm "supposed" to lose and I freeze up. By the time I finally react and start moving, my opponent is already halfway there to crushing me. I'll have a similar experience if someone is bigger and/or stronger than me. As easy as it may be to pick up a new move on a given day, it's been a lot tougher for me to adjust the mental aspects of my game, especially this part. Thanks to Jojo and the rest of my team, I think that I have improved this over the past few months but I certainly have a long way to go!
As always, thanks for reading and good luck to everyone in their upcoming competitions!