The mind leads the body
Whenever you are sparring your mind will have a given direction of focus. The most basic division is between SELF FOCUS and FOCUS UPON THE OPPONENT. Both are necessary for success but an important question is - what amount should I focus upon myself and what amount upon my opponent? I often see beginning students out A DISPROPORTIONATE AMOUNT OF FOCUS UPON WHAT THEY OUGHT TO BE DOING WITH THEIR OWN BODY AT ALL TIMES IN A MATCH. This is a perfectly natural mistake to make at the beginner level. The game is complicated and there are many ways to lose. You are juggling a lot of new information in a very stressful environment, so it’s natural to over focus upon how you should holding your own body so as not to be an easy victim, rather than focus upon the weaknesses and opportunities your opponent is offering. The opposite mistake is to be overly confident and focus too much on looking only for your opponents vulnerabilities WHILE BEING BLIND TO YOUR OWN. This can definitely get you in trouble also. Your path to mastery in Jiu Jitsu is largely bound up with finding a workable compromise between these two extremes. If you feel you suffer from an over emphasis in one direction, command yourself to mentally focus on the other at the start of each sparring round one day. You will immediately notice that THE CHANGE IN MINDSET WILL YIELD PHYSICAL RESULTS. You may not submit everyone but you will try more attacks if you make yourself actively look for the second by second openings your opponent offers. Conversely, if you command yourself to focus on maintaining sound defensive posture at the start of each round, you will immediately present a more difficult target to your training partners. Here, Frank Rosenthal shows a fine perception of his opponent’s body position, made easier by his well balanced posture. This reflects his confident attacking spirit - the ideal of Jiu Jitsu that you must strive for. When you train - don’t just train your body - train your mind - for it has dominion over your body and it is the inner workings of your mind that will determines how well your body performs the physical skills you work so hard to perfect.