Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stick Drill

When I am trying to convey an idea to someone who is just learning Jiu Jitsu, I use a simple teaching device. It's not a grappling dummy, I don't even need to use another student. I just grab a stick. It's so simple and basic and easily available. We say we must use leverage, use levers, fulcrums, etc. We use all those analogies without ever grabbing an actual lever and showing what we mean. So a stick is a lever. It's a simple way to show what will happen. You put it on a fulcrum, press one side down, other side comes up. Prevent other side from coming up and the stick snaps. It also shows what parts of your own body that you can brace the stick with, to use as a natural fulcrum. Finding natural fulcrum points.

A lot of times in weird angle armbars people can't figure out where to apply the pressure and they even ask where does it hurt. Like if you are bracing from above the stick or below the stick in relation to the sky, how do you pull on the stick to force it to snap? Or the two brace points on the stick in relationship to the fulcrum. If I am attacking an armbar let's say, and its above my armpit on my shoulder and the crook of my neck, I pull down on your elbow. If your arm is underneath my armpit, I push up on your elbow. If I brace the stick from above, like with the bottom of my armpit, then I push up. If I brace from below, with the top of my shoulder, then I pull down.

When people first figure out how to submit an arm from holding it in the armpit as opposed to on their neck and shoulder, they get confused in pushing up or pulling down because the opponents arm is in the same position, and you are nearly in the same position, but the bracing points have changed. But the stick is a straight line, if you push it up, it wants to go up, so you prevent it from going up with the bottom of your armpit, it will snap. If you pull the stick down but block it from going down with your shoulder, the stick will snap. Same is true for an arm. Same is true for a leg or any other joint for that matter.

The stick, its the best example of a lever because it is one. So why are we not using it when we are discussing levers? How many jointlocks do even really good guys lose because they didn't know where exactly to aim all their pressure? Where the guy looked like they were done but they weren't and somehow got out. You can only be so flexible, and with the proper brace and leverage, you can snap a stick or even an arm and make them touch end to end. So how did we miss that leverage point? We always relied on just sensitivity and not so much a mastery of the concept. Sensitivity keeps us in the game, concepts turn the tides.

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