I’m getting better, but why?

Of course I’m getting better. Even as a modest and self effacing person, it would be odd if two months or so of class, with no previous experience, hadn’t made me improve. Having said that ‘improvement’ is a relative thing. I’m still objectively pretty bad — even for a white belt.

And, in one sense, of course, I know why I’m getting better. I’ve been attending class! But what’s slightly interesting, is that although I can tell I’m getting better — tapping less to fellow beginners, sometimes able to get them in trouble and less confused generally — it’s hard to put my finger on why.

It’s not that I know more. Although I know a wider range of stuff than I did, I’m not really able to implement anything that isn’t very basic, so the new techniques we’ve learnt in the last month or so aren’t really relevant to my sparring yet (hopefully it’s all sinking in somewhere to reemerge later). For example, from guard I’m basically trying triangles, armbars and scissor sweeps, which I learned fairly early. But they work significantly better than they did four weeks ago.

Given that I’m not deploying new and exciting techniques, I must be getting better at the more familiar ones and just moving better generally. But, to be honest, I can only deduce this from what happens when rolling — I’m not aware that I’m performing the moves better. Most likely this is because it’s a fairly subtle process and it’s hard to notice incremental change day to day. Also, I suspect that part of the change is that I’m just hesitating to think a bit less, as I get more familiar with the positions — again, this is hard to spot.