On Being Humble and Getting the Hell Out of the ‘Good Enough’ Zone

I had a great lesson today. Here’s what happened.

I was sparring with a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. He is one of the top players in his division in Japan, and around my size. I’ve never made him tap before, though I came close to it once or twice.

I managed to catch him with my favorite technique – triangle choke just like the other times I got close to beating him. What was different this time is that I didn’t let him escape like before.

Beating someone in sparring is not that big a deal. But at that moment when I felt I could get him finally, I had a thought that distracted my decision making. I’m sure I had a few other better options than sticking with what I was doing. Even if I were to keep going with triangle choke, I could adjust the angle and so on. But, I didn’t. I was afraid of making such a tiny adjustment. Or perhaps I didn’t think he would be able to defend himself.

He managed to keep going without tapping for 4 minutes. If he hadn’t been a top black belt, I’m sure I would have made him tap. But he is a top black belt. He defended himself successfully and smashed me right after I gave up this triangle choke attack.

What did I learn from this experience? I learned a little bit about myself and what I want to do.

1) I get lucky sometimes like this.
2) I am good at getting lucky, because I train to catch those lucky moments.
3) But, if I can’t take advantage of those lucky moments, it doesn’t mean much.
4) My triangle choke is probably good enough to finish the majority of grapplers in a situation like this one.
5) But, my triangle choke is not good enough to beat top players like this black belt.
6) I don’t want to do brute strength moves to cover the lack of super fine details that my triangle choke is missing.
7) I don’t want to settle with my good enough triangle choke either.
8) There’s something to do with my mental state as well – I was calm ‘enough’, but I did feel like, “Shit! I’m going to get him finally! Whaaaaa!”. This probably disturbed my decision making.
9) What can I do? Make no excuses. Work on super fine details and my mental strength!

You gotta work on fine details if you want to get the hell out of the ‘good enough’ zone. I don’t want mediocrity.

Can you relate yourself to my experience? If so, what did you learn?