“What should I focus on?”
Whenever I hear this question the answer is always the same…Escapes. Not just positional escapes, but submission escapes as well. When you have all of those covered work on counters, and counters to those counters. All students need to consciously make this a part of their training and it should always be a priority.
Newer students typically focus on “winning” the roll. This is a natural way of thinking. But it’s the experienced student who understands that there is no winning or losing, only being. Being in the moment. The sooner the focus on learning how to escape happens, the sooner the student stops worrying about being put into a dominate position.
Working only escapes for set amounts of time should happen throughout your training lifetime. Change your mindset from worrying about getting the submission, or what your opponent is doing, to “what can I do to get out of this position or situation?” Ask yourself, what isn’t being controlled that I can free?
Get rid of the ego and let the opponent get a position on you, and then work on escaping. Do this instead of just holding your opponent in fear of losing ground or getting submitted. Always maintain the “offensive or attacking mindset”, even when performing escaping movements.
As your confidence grows, or as you get to higher ranks (i.e. blue or purple belt, etc.), you’ll begin to learn how to escape during transitional movements. This is a time of revelation and discovery in advanced skill sets. Once you plug into this you will be nearly impossible to hold down or control. This is where Jiu-Jitsu gets really interesting.
Learn. Drill. Roll. TRANSFORM!