Ask the Right Questions.

Ok, you’ve just learned a new technique and drilled it a few times. Do you feel like you can use it? Don’t rush into full resistance training just yet. If you want to really learn it, you will want to spend more time drilling it. But mindless drilling can get mindless results. Ask a question, and learn how to track your own progress. These five questions should help to get you started. 

1. How does this technique work? Every decent instructor has a few concepts that they like to emphasize for each technique. For example, I will mention weight distribution during a guard pass. You can check during each phase to make sure you understand exactly how your weight should feel during each phase of a successful guard pass. 

2. What are the likely responses? Nothing is more frustrating than trying a new technique and finding that everyone knows the counter. You will find out when to hurry and when you can relax during the process. 

3. Where are the timing battles, and how do I win them? This is closely tied to the last question, but can be applied more proactively than simply responding to their responses. I look at the timing window like crossing traffic. We usually want to cross as soon as the opening is there, not rush before the window closes. 

Timing Window

Cue———————————————————————————————————-› Too Late

        Go Now.                    Not Now.

4. How do I know that I have achieved my goal? The end of the technique is either a stabilized position or a clear submission. It’s common to have people learn a sweep and forget to stabilize the top position on the finish. Be clear about your goals!

5. When and how do I switch plans? Be careful not to rush into this question, but still ask. If you switch plans too often, you will leave openings for higher level opponents to exploit. But if you never switch plans, you will get caught trying to finish something that’s no longer there. Again, this is closely tied to the timing window. 

6. Bonus question: How can I find this technique in a live round? Only once you answer this question correctly and reliably can you get the full benefit of live training. Track your progress, and take it back to the drilling phase to refine it further. You can also use your experiences to ask other players how they find the technique, and how they respond to the puzzles it brings.

Asking questions does a lot to keep the entire room progressing. Never be afraid to ask anyone a question. See you on the mats!

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