The longer I do jiu jitsu, the more I gain and understanding of how to learn. For me, one key aspect of learning is teaching. I am not an instructor but there are moments that I have while training in which I have opportunities to teach my training partners. I use the word teach loosely, I would say that it is more of a collaborative learning process.
When I have a technique that works for me, the best way for me to incorporate it into my game is to go for it while live rolling. Eventually there comes a point where I am able to land that technique on most of my training partners, even if they have some idea that its coming. That is when the next step in perfecting that technique comes in: teaching those that I roll with the most the technique that I am successfully able to land on them and collaboratively trying to determine the best defense against the technique.
Once we have determined the best option for defense, we then go back to the drawing board of live rolling. I try, in earnest, to hit that technique. Sometimes I am still able to. If I am still able to use the technique for which we have formulated a viable defense, we figure out a secondary defense, and so on, until my training partner is able to stop the technique.
In doing this, I learn to both sharpen the existing techniques in my repertoire as well as to defend against those same techniques. My scope of understanding is no longer limited to doing the moves that work for me but also to the various possible defenses against those moves.
The next step for me is to start chaining effective techniques together. If theres a particular triangle set up that works really well for me and my training partner can defend that set up perfectly, maybe I execute a leg lock entry off of the attempted triangle, maybe I hit a sweep. The longer the drilled chain the better as people who have not been exposed to it will be decreasingly likely to possess the necessary tools to defend.
A key in all of this is openness of information. I learn more from teaching my training partners than guarding the nuances that make my techniques effective. If I am focused on competing against my training partners, they will not as quickly develop a strategy to address my techniques. The slower they improve, the slower my improvement will be. The very best rolls are ones in which we both have endless counters to each others techniques and the best way to achieve that is to freely share the knowledge that we possess that others do not have as readily available.
If you are able to regularly defeat your training partners, find ways to improve them so that defeating them becomes increasingly difficult. In doing that you will not only improve their game but improve your own, and ultimately the quality of jiu jitsu in your gym. If someone is able to regularly defeat you while rolling, ask them to show you the techniques that they use effectively against you. In doing this you both will improve.
Emil Fischer is an active blue belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training with Strong Style Brasa and is sponsored by Pony Club Grappling Gear and Cruz Combat. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at www.facebook.com/emilfischerbjj www.twitter.com/Emil_Fischer and https://instagram.com/emilfischerbjj/