Complexity vs simplicity
In my experience most grapplers fall into two categories:
Those with complex technical games and those with simple and straightforward games.
At the lower belt/skill levels athletic types tend to dominate with relatively straightforward games based on their sheer physicality while grapplers with complexed games tend to fall short on takedown points, a guard pass or such.
But as skill levels rise the complex games often come to the fore frustrating the athletic types to no end. Many of them stagnate or quit altogether since eating the humble pie and filling out their games takes a hard toll on an ego grown large.
However, even as the more wellrounded types make it to the top I have observed that among those guys they have specialty moves which wins them fights. They have complex games but often rely on a limited set of techniques for success in competition. 10 trick ponies if you will. :)
Is that the way? Or is complexity and versatility still the aspiration for us all? Will complexity catch up with limited technique specialists at some future point or is the competitive life of a grappler too short for this to be achieved? Is 10-trick ponying the way to go for everyone but the most talented guys?
My game is relatively complex, but I feel complex and simple are inaccurate terms. My game is dynamic and requires more movement.
I'm gonna steal/paraphrase from BJ Penn here. He's always said he's an expert beginner. So I guess that comes down on the simple side of the question. I figure if you can keep winning with the basics why screw it up.
My view on this is if it isn't broke don't fix it. If plan A keeps working for ya keep doing plan A, when plan A stops working as much (partners expect it, opponent stuffs it, whatever) switch to plan B or C or whatever. Now plans B/C/whatever wont be as refined as plan A but you should still be comfortable with them and have drilled and worked them in rolling.
In fact it may be a good idea to spend more time in rolling working on plans B/C/whatever then A....I will have to think on this.
EDIT: Plans B/C/whatever should be worked regularly but not at the expense of A. Ideally it should just come down to a matter of personal preference not technical ability as to which you choose to do. But that's in a perfect world where you fart money and cake is a health food.
In training I differentiate my rolling between my different games:
A-game is reserved for the guys who tool me.
B-game for guys who could potentially tool me ( but way too often I employ my A-game out of lazyness...)
C-game is for noobs where I can experiment as much as I want really.
However, should I instead focus on just sharpening my A-game at every oppourtunity and disregard broadening my horizons?
Every class spent disregarding my A-game takes away from it and we're a pretty cutthroat gym competition-wise. But I feel like I should be much more wellrounded, almost like a responsibility. Especially since I'm of a high rank, meaning that I have to teach.
Should I postpone the widening of my game to a time when I don't compete seriously anymore or should I go for the most diverse array of techniques right now?
I train my guys with simplicity. Simple simple simple. By the time they reach "Blue" belt I've taught them 6 submissions....and many different variations of those submissions. (drinking tonight so I'm going to keep it short and add more later.)
I would say if you come across a move you like and works for you then go ahead and integrate it into your style. At least in judo ground work most of the so called advanced stuff is just a variation on one of the basic submissions anyways so its not all that difficult to do so. BJJ may be different but as I have never trained BJJ so I couldn't really tell you, but I think Omega is right when he says keep it simple.
Originally Posted by 265lbsfist
What is your definition of simple vs complex?
Is Marcelo simple? Is Rafa complex? How about Wilson Reis?
Personally I feel simple vs complex comes down to personality and body style. Not really a choice.
For a beginner to intermediate level I'd say simple was a reflexion of range of techniques.
But as we approach higher levels everyone knows most everything but many usually employ a limited array of techniques in competition. Specialists in throws and passing. Specialists in guard-pulling and one or two sweeps. Etc
Would it be more beneficial to follow in their footsteps and sharpen one aspect of your game to the highest degree possible or to diversify?
Your game might suffer when faced with a difficult style for your own preferred way but at least you'd have an ironclad "safe" position or technique to base your game around.
If you diversify you cannot possible get good enough at everything.
Just pondering this conundrum here. It's doubly frustrating for us normal guys who have to work and stuff and who can't have unlimited mat time every week. :)
I'm a blue belt in the Pedro Sauer association, and I have seen both mentalities in the black belts, though the basics approach is favored by a majority. The often cited Roger Gracie submissions are a great illustration of a basic attack winning at the top levels of competition.
I am hesitant to comment on building my own game in a complex/simple way, because I realize that I have little idea how big the sea is. Based on my [limited] perspective, I would say that I favor the simple approach, because I see high level practitioners using those techniques on each other with great success.