They say that in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you either win or you learn. I would agree to some extent but the problem is that not everyone learns from their mistakes. To learn from your mistakes you have to first recognize which mistakes were made and then put in some time and effort in correcting what needs to be corrected. This is where good coaching comes in. A good BJJ coach is more than someone who just attends your tournament and shouts orders from the sidelines. A good BJJ coach is someone who will motivate you, direct you and maybe most importantly be honest with you when it comes to the areas you failed in.
I am thinking of the 2015 Master’s Pan Ams. I had won my first match and was feeling pretty good. My second match was 0-0 and went to the ref’s decision. My opponent was given the win. He was unable to pass and at the very end of the match he was unable to break my closed guard. His coach yelled out “rape choke”! He attempted a rape choke on me that I defended against. The rape choke made him the more aggressive opponent. I knew that I should have arm barred him however, I froze up and just defended the choke. My coach, Tom Cronin just shook his head. Now granted I made more than just one mistake but for the sake of this blog post I am going to focus on the most blatant one. The following week Tom had the whole class doing arm bars as a counter to the rape choke from closed guard. I remember how disappointed I was with myself. I resolved that this would never happen again. Little did I know that I would encounter the same scenario at the Vegas Open a couple of months later.
My opponent was in my closed guard. The score was 0-0. I should also add that he was shutting down my offensive plan with a solid base and strong grip control. Out of frustration he decided to attempt a rape choke. Here you can see the sequence of the technique.