Tuesday, October 19, 2010
They say wrestling is dominating the sport of MMA. This is a correct statement. Not for the reasons one may think. Let me explain why:
The question has come up why wrestling is dominating and I wanted to explore this question from my perspective, as a thoughtful Jiu Jitsu practitioner. Obviously wrestling dictates where the fight goes, standing or on the ground. But is being able to dictate where the fight goes the key? What if you are fighting a guy with better striking and better submissions? Either path you take would be a bad one at that point. Yet they still dominate.
There's a lot of reasons for this. MMA has rounds, and in Pride rules the first round was 10 minutes. This allowed for more submissions. A black belt match is 10 minutes not 5, so good guys need time to finish each other. If the first few minutes is a feeling out process, then a couple minutes to get a takedown, you really don't have a lot of time to work for a submission. All of these things are out of the control of the fighter and are also obvious.
The other reason I believe wrestling dominates in MMA and partially in Jiu Jitsu tournaments is because a lot of Jiu Jitsu guys try to wrestle a wrestler. A lot of guys never developed a good bottom game and have relied on being on top and outworking guys to get on top, a Jiu Jitsu wrestler as I call it. When they are faced with a real high level wrestler, their clash of styles allows for the wrestler to dominate. You cannot out wrestle a wrestler with Jiu Jitsu wrestling. Your single legs from belly down or from your knees or the double leg you learned in Jiu Jitsu class just won't cut it. It worked against Jiu Jitsu guys but it won't work on college wrestlers.
In MMA I see good BJJ guys using all their skill to get back up, get on top, or out scramble and out wrestle a wrestler. What got them this far in the first place was their submissions and they are throwing it out the window. I won't name names because it seems like every fighter does it at some point, either in a fight or in their career. Instead of trying to defend yourself and submit or sweep from bottom. They need to try to submit from closed guard not just try to stall and look for the ref to stand them up. Maybe they don't need to work so much on their wrestling as they do on their guard and attacks, or their frequency of attacks. Guard was invented to fight top players in the first place!
So how do you counter a wrestler? With Jiu Jitsu of course. They should be wondering how they can counter Jiu Jitsu not the other way around. I think positions like guard, half guard, the back, mount. These are the key positions against wrestlers. Wrestling off your butt, sit up guard, singles off your knees, rolling belly down, cross side, or trying to out wrestle them are a bad idea. Even being explosive may work against you.
Trying to hold a wrestler in cross side becomes difficult, but from mount they may give up their back. You have to force them into positions they are not used to. Sweeps are hard due to their base but they are not used to sweeps where you are already pinning yourself. A butterfly sweep or a sit up sweep may be low percentage. But X guard sweeps or deep half guard sweeps where you are pinning yourself are unorthodox for a wrestler and they have less muscle memory fighting such moves off.
A great example of a Jiu Jitsu guy who never took a day of wrestling beating wrestlers is Marcello Garcia. All straight Jiu Jitsu. He even took a wrestling type move like armdrag and converted it for BJJ and used it in a way wrestlers weren't use too. Which is off his butt and basically pulling back to where he is pinning himself to take their back.
Roger is another example, with the simple use of close guard at the highest level. They can't scramble or wrestle you if they are caught in between your legs.
I don't have all the answers. I wrestled myself in high school (which was a very long time ago) but this is just my perspective on the matter.
Friday, October 15, 2010
When I first saw the UFC and did not understand the ground game, I like many people who started out in striking martial arts didn't understand what Royce was doing. My simple teen mind just chalked it up to being magic. Wow that was magic, Royce just did magic. He was on his back and getting smashed and used some ancient magic trick to make the guy give up. Now since then my understanding of ground fighting has become more sophisticated and the veil of magic has been lifted.
For some though that veil will never be lifted. They will always see things as magical tricks. Jiu Jitsu and being technical to them becomes about learning tricks. As many tricks as you can, drilling them AKA practicing them as many times as you can and voila you are some BJJ magician. If it were only like that. If I wanted to learn magic and learned a few magic tricks and practiced them over and over I wouldn't then be a magician. I would just be a guy who knew a few tricks. To become a magician I have to understand broad concepts of the human mind, visual perception, sleight of hand, distracting, etc. Then I don't need tricks because I can create my own or improve upon older ideas and concepts.
With Jiu Jitsu it also becomes imperative that you don't see moves as tricks, or as a series of tricks chained together. Or view a move as a trick period. A move is the application of a Jiu Jitsu concept. You learn tricks you are a guy who knows tricks. You learn ideas and you become a master.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
We have heard the term, use your limbs. A lot of people only use one limb at a time when they roll, some two. If you are smart you will use four: arms and legs. But I challenge you to go further. Think of your head as an extra limb, your core as another limb, your hips, your neck, your ankles, your chest. Use every part of your body as a limb to submit, suffocate, and dominate your opponent. As they attack you with only a few limbs you will attack them with your whole body. That is what a submission is, attacking one limb with the strength of your whole body. It's a concept to apply more than it is an actual technique.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I have had to overcome a lot in my life. From family tragedies and cancer, own personal demons and thoughts of suicide, and becoming lost... But through Jiu Jitsu I have found a way to always come back. It's something that you can tangibly control, learn systematically, complex and confusing and chaotic yet you can make sense of it. Through that I know myself. Through that I know my world. I now approach everything with the same mentality. I create a system, a plan, organize it, learn everything I can, see my options, see what I can and can't control, then I don't hesitate and I move and keep moving.
Instead of adding more moves to your game, try removing some moves and simplifying it. Go lean.
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