Something as become abundantly clear. I can no longer power my way out of a bad situation on the mat. As I’ve mentioned a number of times, I have lost a fair amount of weight over the last few years. In 2002 I weighed close to 240lbs. For a 5’7″ man, that means I was very fat. However, I was also very strong. I was bench pressing 325lbs and leg pressing 900+lbs. That is no longer the case. Don’t get me wrong, I feel a hell of a lot better at 175lbs now, but I have lost the one thing that I was able to brag about; strength.
I know there is a big difference between lifting strength and the functional strength that you need on the mats. I feel my core and stability strength are still strong which is very important. When I started grappling, I was able to power my way out of tough situations. I could use my power to shoot a double which had a very high success rate for me. Now it seems those things are gone. When you have learned to rely on something, it’s very hard to unlearn to rely on it when it’s gone. I don’t think I have hit a power double in months. It’s also becoming harder and harder for me to escape from a submission or sweep an opponent unless they are smaller and lighter than me.
They always say that BJJ technique trumps all. However, when technique is close to equal, strength is a big factor in the outcome of a match. You see it time and time again in tournaments, especially in open weight or absolute divisions. That’s not to say that the bigger stronger guy always wins, but when fairly equal combatants face off, I will always put my money on the bigger stronger guy/gal.
So what am I to do? Submit to the fact that I have come as far as I’m going to in the grappling game? Try to perfect my technique? It’s hard to do when you are held down or pinned to the mat. If I can’t get that double or other takedown anymore, I will always be on the bottom. Just thinking about that is exhausting…
Case in point. Last evening during drills, the two gentlemen whom I was training with, basically had their way with me. Not because they know more or have better technique than me, but because they are stronger. During rolling, I should have been able to submit or at least control both individuals. I have many more tricks in my tool box then they do. But their strength shut me out and controlled my game.
Sigh… It’s very frustrating.