My last roll, my instructor showed me where I could take advantage of a guard pass opening after a failed hip sweep. I saw it. I understood it. I had absolutely no inclination to try it.
I've spent the last few months whittling away at "stall spots"...positions I get into and freeze either because of lack of knowledge or fear. The first was side control...horrible because I ALWAYS ended up there (still do actually). Then it was the mount. That stunted my BJJ growth not just because I didn't know what to do when there (applying an americana just wasn't working without some element of surprise), but I also completely avoided working on any techniques that would help me get the mount...I wanted nothing to do with it. Now, I'm looking at passing closed guard over the leg. Opening the guard, I get it. But I freeze when it comes to passing. I know to pin the knee to the ground and that somehow, my body is supposed to go over and past it, but the first time I tried it, I was working with a very strong fellow white belt and I just couldn't get his leg anywhere near pinned. On top of that, the idea of getting my body around my arm and into side control seemed completely foreign to me. So when Ted suggested it, I felt some frustration welling up.
Yesterday it hit me that the drill that's called "passing" is designed specifically for this reason. Sweet. I'm not too bad at that one. But then one of the big differences between drilling (even drilling with resistance) and sparring hit me. I've been getting away with carrying quite a bit of my weight in my legs while passing. Not having the strongest upper body, I'd likely need me strength AND weight carried more heavily forward to keep the leg pinned. I wanted to be sure though, so I popped in my Roy Dean DVD and watched the 2 seconds or so that it took him to pass in ultra slow-mo...I don't remember how many times. I do feel more comfortable with the concept now after having watched it in detail and hopefully will get a chance to give it a shot tomorrow.
I have a cousin that just finished a degree in piano pedagogy and as weird as it sounds, bouncing things off her helps me a lot in guiding myself (even in understanding the perspective of my instructors). I told her about my drill issue and she explained that many instructors and even researchers in all fields take transfer (making the leap from skill-specific drills to application) as something that happens naturally, when it actually might not be for every student.
I can see without a doubt for me, that my blockage is fear...both of being wrong and of stumbling and not being able to recover. Not that I'm afraid to fall on the mats, but I don't want to get caught because I made a mistake trying something new. I'm ok with getting submitted because I haven't yet refined some habits, but I'm still hesitant to throw myself into something and be submitted. Funny, because there's much less risk of this when sparring with a white belt, which I've been doing more of since we moved to the new school.