A leopard can't change its spots
But I forgot to mention about the fact that it is really difficult or almost impossible to change your style as it is linked to your personality.
Hence, the title of this blog: a leopard can't change its spots.
What it means?
Look at what you like to do in BJJ and be good at it.
If you like to be a top player, learn some takedowns, guard passes etc..
If you like to be a guard player, learn how to pull and play guard and be good at it.
Of course, there is some exceptions to the rules but after meeting and training with people over the years, they do not really change.
However, I do not think you should force smaller training partners to only be guard players if you prefer to be a guard passer.
BUT You can improve your skills by choosing to get into a game plan that you do not prefer.
For example, I love de la riva guard and use it all the time.
But when it comes to pass de la riva guard, I am still struggling against a good player.
My issue is with the hand grip on the ankle which rises 4 issues:
Stop getting into the situation: short fix.
Learn to counter the hand grip: better
Teach people and force myself to get into that hand grip situation which I struggle: best
Use that grip and learn how to use it against other: ultimate goal.
If you want to be good guard passer, play guard and learn its weakness and how it function.
If you want to be a good guard player, pass the guard and see the nuances from the other side.
It is almost counter psychology, dis-constructing a system in order to understand it:
Ying and Yang.
Be a guard passer to be a guard player and vice versa.