In previous posts, I've discussed the importance of being 'in the moment'. Never just go through the motions of a technique.
Well, recently, I had to say those words to myself. Being in my line of work, I often find myself in the position of handcuffing someone who is on the ground. I have repeatedly practiced a technique for turning someone over from being on their back to their front. It involves controlling the hand, stepping around the head and ending up in a position where you can either handcuff, apply a shoulder lock (I call it the gas pedal) or any other number of techniques with you opponent on his/her stomach.
The technique itself doesn't really matter. The point is that, as I actually applied it to a uncooperative person, it didn't work quite as well as I'd hoped. I set myself up for it but didn't really apply it with proper focus. I ended up using strength instead of skill and struggled in its execution. It still worked, which is a good thing, but I still had to 'power it' to make it work.
Examining what happened, I realized that for that particular technique, I had started to go through the motions without even realizing it.
In class, we often work on ground techniques, often starting from your opponent on their back, from a throw or takedown. I realized that in my zeal for the next technique, I didn't really pay attention to the technique that got my opponent over on their stomach. I went through the motions, and so did my training partner. Then I applied the requested technique. This is a dangerous trap to fall in. It would have been better to skip the first part of the technique altogether than to just go through the motions.
No matter how many advanced techniques you learn, none of them are any good if you can't get your opponent into a position to apply it.
Always practice your set up technique or your distraction technique with the same seriousness that you practice your main technique. You can't get to number two if you don't do number one correctly.
There are no techniques that should be skipped over to get to the next one. In the real world, if you miss the first part, you'll never get to part two.
It's easy to get lazy in your set up techniques. They are your foundations. Without them, it's impossible to move on to something more advanced. Once again, 'Advanced techniques are the basics done better.'