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Tap and Learn

Tap and Learn

Once you have been training a while one of the main things that starts to happen is a growing aversion to being tapped. I have to admit that I include myself in this group too. But if I have been caught I will always accept it. I am definitely not getting injured for the sake of ego. But I have started to realise that trying to avoid the tap can have an impact on my training. I am slowly realising that I need to tap and learn.

We all have positions or techniques that we feel comfortable in. Some are guard players and some are guard smashers. But once we are out of our comfort zone what happens? Things can quickly turn sour. We are playing our B, C or even D game. Once we establish a favourite, we tend to avoid the uncomfortable and naturally gravitate towards where we feel most confident. This confidence keeps us as far away from tapping as we can get, because no one was that. But is this really a good thing? Especially if you are a beginner.

I have noticed that when I roll I end up in positions where I think I’m OK here, but in reality I’m not. I have not given myself enough experience of being close to the tap and fighting back to a dominant position. Like most of us I want to avoid that tap, even in during a club roll. But this does me no favours when I end up in the same situation in a competition. In the words of Kenny Loggins we have to “ride into the Danger Zone”.

Putting ourselves in this situation is a great learning experience. It puts us under pressure and makes us think and focus whilst in these uncomfortable situations. This gives your brain the opportunity to get used to working in this environment. This can be really useful in both retaining the techniques and also getting used to the pressure. Yes there is an immense risk I will get tapped, but when I’m rolling with a friend in the academy is it that bad? Even if you get tapped by a lower belt is it that bad? Yes it will affect your ego, but looking at what you can learn from the experience, it is well worth it.

If you have ever been in competition and been on the back foot. You will know it has an impact on your thinking. The more pressure your opponent puts you under, he more it affects you. If you don’t know what to do or how to get to where you want to be, what is left? Well it’s survival and that is not a good place at all. When you are not playing your game, you are allowing your opponent to play theirs. Then things go even further down hill. Developing confidence in yourself that you have something you can play, means you are not surviving but advancing. While the clock is still ticking you still have a chance, a chance to get back to you favourite positions and finish the fight.

Next time you are rolling, let your guard get passed or let your partner get a high mount and see how bad things can get and how you would recover and advance the situation in your favour. Practising like this will allow you to get deeper in trouble but still be confident that you can recover. This experimentation, will cause you to tap a lot. You have to put aside the avoidance of the tap, embrace the tap, make it your friend, even go for a coffee with it. These taps are going to help you improve and feel more confident.

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