Friday, February 17, 2012

BJJ as a game of chance

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.
16 September 2009 @ 03:33 pm

Let's say arbitrarily you need to accomplish 3 things to do a successful armbar from guard. If you miss any one of these steps of the sequence, you reduce your chance by 1 out of 10. The 3 factors are, breaking posture, grip on the arm, turning of the hips. If you skip a step like, breaking posture, now your chances of landing an armbar is 1 out of 10. If you somehow miss 2 steps its 1 out of a 100. If you miss all 3 steps and somehow try to land an old school just climb the back Royce Gracie magic armbar which worked for him well in the UFC, against a savvy opponent, you've reduced your chances to 1 out of 1000. Now if you don't go for the armbar at all you've reduced your chances to 0.

Think about probabilities is, you don't add them together, you multiply. It's something gamblers already know. Chance of finding cards in the same suit is hard, same suit and in a certain combination like a straight, exponentially harder, and same suit combination of descending order from ace down is just that much more rare.

How does that help your jiu jitsu? I for years have talked to my friends of a thin veil that separates good players from bad players. The veil in mathematical terms is the initial important sequence that cannot be skipped that will pay exponential dividends later. It's like chess, 2 good players. The opening sequence of 2 good players will seem non-important because there are initial movements that cannot be skipped, only after the 4th turn of play does it now gets creative. Its why in poker when you watch it on TV, they always use percentages and there's certain moves that are always agreed upon.

So now there are certain moves that must be accomplished for you to win. If you are able to win at times without accomplishing those key moves, it's what your coaches will always tell you. You are teaching yourself bad habits and all you are proving is if you do it, there are bound to be times it will work, even streaks where it will consistently work. Coins don't have to flip heads then tails over and over, there can be streaks of 4 heads, as well as streaks of tails. All you are proving is not that what you are doing is good, that you are proving that probability is correct and there will be times it still works out. Then competition time comes you don't win. Now we all know you don't do something like grab his gi, its hard to complete a takedown. But you take it more of a hunch or a suggestion. But I don't think its like that, its exponentially harder. What about luck? Luck is just an amalgam of advantages. What are advantages? Being in the right place or doing the right thing at the right time as many times as possible.

If nothing else, even if you lose and you stink at BJJ, the more you compete, the more you will win even if you suck. That's a guarantee. Maybe your winning ratio won't be high but you do it long enough and you will win though. No one remembers how many times Babe Ruth struck out.
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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