Lately I think Ive been a little bit of both. For several years while I was doing judo and could only get an occasional open mat, I focused on getting and maintaining side control and getting arm bars from the bar. I’ve always been pretty good at defending, at least above my belt level. In this way, I was able to hang with most blue or purple belts and arm bar most white belts. I felt secure in my little place in the bjj hierarchy. I really wasn’t improving though, not really. I got small improvements due to stamina, or perhaps awareness of attacks, but that’s it. I don’t think I really was improving until recently when I started to try different things. I think I still have a small hangup with defending too much, not wanting to get submitted. I have no problem tapping out and have many times over, but I still have that little bit of pride.
Being playful hasn’t affected my defending, but definitely has affected my submissions lately. I just can’t finish very often nowdays. I feel like i could probably muscle or pull out a kimura from time to time or use alot of side control pressure to push for a submission from there, but I will try for something shown in class or something from youtube and not quite get it. Its been fun, but I probably should be focusing on a few submissions since I will probably do a tournament in a bout 5 weeks.