Thursday, August 26, 2010
I notice with a lot of younger players (always ideas come from observation as is the nature of the scientific method right? Observation, theory, experiment, results, rinse, and repeat) is that they tend to start their escapes way too late.
What I mean by that is they start to escape after they have been stabilized. Which makes it much more difficult. They accept the bad position and let it happen then reset their mind and begin to try to get out. Why? Because early on they wasted so much energy bucking and were told time and time again to calm down. As if being on the bottom of cross side helped you reach enlightenment. Yes I am stuck here, let's relax, this is the Gracie way.
No. If it truly was the Gracie way they would never want to be stuck in a position where they were defenseless and unable to protect themselves from their opponents weight or strikes. That's why from bottom they invented the guard.
What makes good guys so hard to hold down and why it looks so effortless is not that they do things differently from beginners. It's that their timing is so much better that they always start the escape before you have a chance to set your weight and/or your grips. I notice too often either the younger player takes a split second to kind of admire the better players work, or be disappointed in their inability to keep their opponent away or just a mental fart. But that second you gave up doing that is when you should have started your escape.
Even when you sweep I see people admire their work and just get swept right back because they were like "oh look what I just did!" Timing. You don't have to move fast, just move when you are supposed to.
And while you are trying this you may get tapped a lot. Tapping is a good thing. Why? Whether you tap or they tap, it's instant scientific feedback that something worked or something didn't work. The more you tap the more you learn. Why would you not want data to analyze? If you tap a lot in a roll you just learned all the ways you can be put in danger and submitted and not only that where you missed your chances. If you tap them you learn all the places where you can possibly submit and the time to act.
When you roll, roll with the goal to learn. Don't roll to prove who's better. If you do you may prove you are tougher but you would have learned nothing in that roll and wasted a session. It's like the difference between an argument and a dialogue. In an argument two people argue about who's wrong or right. Maybe one person prevails but no one is closer to the truth. In a dialogue both people just want to learn and they both get closer to the truth.
Everyone should love something. Very few people love anything. And if they do even fewer love anything as much as we love BJJ. This makes our life richer than most people will ever know.
BJJ is our universal language. Our roll is our dialogue!
Monday, August 16, 2010
When one plays the guard they involve themselves in an act. This act in my opinion is not so much like chess as it is like fishing. In so many ways I get the same sense as I did when I used to sit on a rock with, waiting for a tug on the line, wiggling the bait, waiting, waiting, perfecting technique, and finally when their is a bite being calm and reeling them in.
At first when you pull, you use a lot of strength because you don't know any better. Over time it's not so much about the pull as it is about technique, not just technique but flawless technique. It is also about waiting, not just waiting for the bite but also waiting for the fish to give up. When I play guard I get into this relaxed zone. I feel like I just have to wait here and if fate is on my side I will get a bite. If not then I wait longer, all I can do is when the bite presents itself I act with perfect timing and precision.
Sitting in guard you cast a net with your legs. Your grips are like the pull of the line. Your gi represents the bait. They will always try to get a grab at you. You will just sit there on your back until they get close enough and they will then grab a collar or your pant leg. The thing they don't always realize when this happens is, when they can grab you, you can also grab them. Then it's on. You have them in your net, you have the line. If you are good, and rely on technique wherever they go, however they spaz, with minimal effort but good grip strength they will just carry you and pull you all over the mat until they get tired. Then you will submit a tired opponent. No other strategy beats submitting a tired opponent. How they sit, how they push, how they pull, with your grips and your back on the ground for leverage you can use that to steer them and get them closer and closer to your ultimate goal, which is to catch them. You catch submissions like you catch fish.
It confuses me when I see women who do BJJ rely on top game instead of bottom game. The top takes so much strength, it becomes a bull vs bull match. When you play bottom it's a fisherman vs a giant fish. Let technique prevail.
On top it's nothing like fishing unless of course you feel like the one being fished. My top game isn't nearly as good as my bottom game so I don't get into a relaxed state on top and I burn a lot of energy. But I am perfecting my wait, my weight, my technique. If anything though it does feel like riding a beast. Whether riding a horse, or trying to hog tie a hog. Which just makes the guard that much more fun to play for me. It in a lot of ways is easier for someone who's game doesn't rely on wrestling or strength or being heavy.
Instead of adding more moves to your game, try removing some moves and simplifying it. Go lean.
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