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Just recently I started taking MMA classes. It's only been a month. I have never wrestled or taken any martial arts prior to the classes I'm taking now. I'm starting to get a little discouraged because we only practice twice a week and I don't have anyone to practice with throughout the week. Everytime I go in I end up rolling with him and I always get my ass kicked. I just don't feel like the information I'm learning really soaks in and I keep getting submitted. When will I actually feel like I can somewhat defend myself against him? It's really discouraging.
For what its worth, everyone's been where you are now. Alot of people that start out are ulta competitive. this usually gets in the way of learning. My suggestion is to take the "student role" with the guy you're training with. Ask for his help. When you get caught, ask him how he got you. Ask for suggestions.
Also slow down. Its not a speed contest. Takedown, control, position/isolation, submission.. in that order. Keep everything tight.
There is alot to this sport and it will take time before things start coming together.
Stay with it and be consistent. Pick an off day and work on cardio if you want something to do related to training.
Best of luck.
Everyone is different in their speed picking up the skills. If you're only getting a couple of days a week to train techniques, that's probably ok with getting started. Just really focus on the handful of techniques that you have access to seeing, and try to drill those as much as possible. Eventually, you will see them show up when you are rolling, but it does take a lot of time. Be patient with your rolling.
As far as what you can do with your free time, I strongly recommend getting into lots of conditioning and strength training. This is something that I have not been a fan of most of my training career, but I have found as I get older that I really do think its important to have the strength built up, and its important to have the discipline that goes along with grinding workouts. Plus, its something you can do on your own.
I think Halfraq's advice is good when it comes to how you spend your mat time. It is very important to push your understanding of what you're doing. Ask questions, and as you get answers, you will start to see that you are making some mistakes over and over, and you can then work to correct those mistakes. That's how games develop. It does take time, but if you are asking questions and thinking about your game, especially during training, you will have a much easier time than if you are just letting your body be the pilot.
One thing I'll recommend has nothing to do with skill sets, but strength conditioning. Years ago before I stepped into the mat I realized that the average weight was 185 - 200+. That's pretty ridiculous for LWs. So I spent an entire year bulking up because I refused to let bigger folks out grapple me based on pure size and strength. While they're bigger, we're more agile and quicker. Just watch Marcelo Garcia.
You'll have more confidence. Of course all the while you'll be gaining experience...EVERYONE gets submitted. One of my first experiences was one of the raddest...I got Ippon Seoinaged into an armbar by a more experienced grappler...lolz! I was LOLing in the air onto the mat cuz there was absolutely nothing I could do. Cool stuff...
Train for a few months and then roll with your newbie friends and you'll be amazed how easy it is to tap them.
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