The learning curve in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and any other endeavour for that matter, is quicker if you make your mistakes sooner.
This doesn’t mean you have to make every mistake there is, especially commonsense ones. It means seek out the best ways to correct the mistakes you do make.
And in jiu-jitsu, the best way to correct mistakes is to tap and then work both the attack and defense of the technique.
When you get caught, explore the technique in its entirety.
While rolling, a lot of beginners do everything in their power to defend with power and strength. I know because I was one of these beginners. They don’t grasp the fact that tapping is the key to learning how to defend a technique. Sometimes actually getting close to the point of tapping is where you have to be to successfully defend a submission.
If you escape with pure strength, yes, you got out of the attack at that moment, but defend three or four more times like that and you will start to tire. Eventually, you will tap to the same exact attack because you were too fatigued to employ your strength-based escape. You will consistently get caught by higher belts, and you will have no idea how to defend.
You’re learning curve will continue to get longer and longer the more you try to muscle out of everything. All because you would rather not tap and submit your ego.
While you may think you succeeded, you’re just playing a game of “you can’t catch me.” If all you are doing is successfully defending, then yes you didn’t get submitted that one time, but don’t mistake that for advancing your technique. This is something I was guilty of for the first 12 months of training. I thought I was developing a rock solid defensive game when all I was doing was playing with strength. This isn’t to say strength doesn’t have its place. I have always said a solid technique matched with brute strength make a formidable opponent.
A lot of defences to positions and submissions present other opportunities that you would never see because you were too focused on using your muscle to get out of the position and avoid it altogether. The correct escape utilizing technique will save energy and lead to other submission, sweep, or passing opportunities.
Bottom line: just like anyone who has ever stepped foot on the mats, you are going to make mistakes. You can try your best to learn what mistakes others did so you can avoid them. But they had to make those mistakes in the first place to learn what not to do. They had to physically experience the technique from the losing end, and then go on to figure out what works to stop it from happening again.
Long story short: the more you tap in training, the faster your technique will get better.
Go ahead, give it a try.
Fail as fast as you can!
See you on the mats!