When I was growing up, I remember my grandfather telling me, “I’d rather you make a mistake and get submitted, than roll so hard that you can’t continue.”
What I took from this was that I was to never defeat myself. No matter how badly I want to submit someone, sometimes I must slow down because if I continue at the pace I am at, I run the greatest risk of all: complete exhaustion.
The reason complete exhaustion is worse than being submitted is because submission is generally due to a simple technical error. However, when you reach complete exhaustion, it is a psychological/mindset error.
We should never reach the level of vulnerability that exists when you are so tired that you are begging your training partner to get off you, unable to continue rolling, or the worst, when you can’t stand up because you’re so exhausted.
It’s okay to train hard, but be very careful not to defeat yourself. The desire to avoid inferior positions and the desire to submit your training partner may lead you to defeat. Learn how to pace yourself because the ability to outlast your opponent is a great technique in itself. If you ever had the chance to ask Helio Gracie how he defeated all those giants, he would have said, “I never defeated my opponents, they defeated themselves.”
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