Friday, February 17, 2012

BJJ and Omok

I am going to be reprinting some old classic entries from my previous blog called The Angry Grappler. It will chronicle the evolution in my understanding of martial arts.
17 August 2009 @ 10:05 pm

One of my favorite games is called Omok. It's a game with black and white stones. It is a purely mathematical game like Go, and like Go it uses the same board and pieces.

The object of the game is simple, the first player to get 5 stones in a row wins. Not 4 not 6, exactly 5. The object is simple. Your goal then is to stop your opponent from getting his 5 while tricking him and getting your 5 and thus begins a game with infinite possibilities and hard math and patterns.

So the best way to win at this game of moves and counter moves and trapping your opponent and freeing yourself? You want to plan many moves ahead and you don't want to let your opponent set anything up, even if it's meaningless now in the game, it may become something later. So don't even let him set up or let anything play out.

Back to BJJ my other favorite math game.

So some people in BJJ like to flop around and move in a reactionary manner. Which is good for learning, get into as many situations as you can so you can dissect what happens. But if you were in a match where you really wanted to win, then you cannot roll like this. You cannot be reactionary. I know people like to be like, I like to see what he gives me then I take it. How bad does your opponent have to be for this to happen? Assuming he is skilled you need another strategy.

Do not let him set anything up. Like in omok, once he gets a few moves to set something up, it becomes harder to untie. If he has 4 pieces in a row now, and nothing is blocked on either side. Whether I put my piece on one end or the other won't matter, he will get 5. But as soon as he put 2 pieces down I blocked it, this would not be an issue and I just worry about my offense.

So once he gets one cross collar grip in, and has the other one working on the choke, it is very difficult for me to stop. But if i broke off that cross collar right away then we got something here. It is like when I roll with someone not as good as me and I let him get position on me and once he does I have a hard time getting out because once I move out of that, its like one problem to another. Then I am lead to believe, wow this guy got really good. But probably its more like, I let him set up too much. Because when we usually roll, I don't let him set up at all so I have a much easier time. Whereas if I play and let him get me in a bad position, in my head I can think its okay, I can still beat him, and I still have the edge. He just has this bad move on me but once I get out its over. But its not like that, once I get in that bad position, that is how lesser players beat better players no? They force them into a bad position then use all their advantages. He's set everything up, I'm in deep and all my time is defending and I cannot mount any offense. Doesn't mean he is better or I am worse now, just means we changed the dynamics and I let him get 5 moves on me for fun. Anytime that happens you have a lot of catching up to do.

A lot of BJJ players like to just flow and see what happens and have no plan and do something based on what the other guy is doing. But if there was a board and you were two pieces. Even if you could counter perfectly all of his moves, for every one step he moves his piece forward, you move it to match, so if it was a race, 100% percent of the time if he played every hand right he will always beat you. Now if somehow you do beat him it is because you are much better and he is not as good as you so he made mistakes you capitalized on. But if you were the one making the first move you would have beat him much more efficiently. Look at BJ Penn vs Kenny Florian. BJ was just reacting, until finally he made a decisive move, the takedown then it was soon over.

Now in most games of intelligence, high level players don't make mistakes and still beat each other. Its calculated and you can win without the other person making any mistakes, or you can lose without making any mistakes either. It then comes down to not who makes less mistakes, but who is truly better.

Be calculated not reactionary. Reactionary means you always have to wait to react to your opponent. That's one turn you gave up.
About the Author:

Sam Y. is a Master Personal Trainer, Certified Nutritionist, Coach, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Corrective Enhancement Specialist, Yoga and Pilates instructor, and holds multiple certifications. He is also an avid Martial Artist, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA. He is also the author of the popular fitness blog All Out Effort as well as the popular martial arts blog Inner BJJ. You can find him in the Los Angeles area personal training his clients, or at home annoying his wife, or on Facebook at his personal fitness page.

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