Join Date: May 2006
Location: New York City, New York
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.
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