New School, New Rules, Adaptations
I posted this in DHS since I'd like some input,confirmation or a "you're just a wimp" from people who have been training for a while.
So, I joined a local Gracie Barra affiliate two weeks ago since I wasn't getting enough mat time at my normal school. This thread sort of follows off of the discussion about the GB belt ranking thread. There seems to be a drive towards a standard outlook of ranking and points in tournaments.
The new school I just joined is heavily focused on tournaments. I was told by the instructor that this is how GB got is fame. This is fine. He believes all of his students should be in the tournaments. That is also fine. However, almost all of the training seems to be directed towards that end. So, certain moves are not allowed in class - some limited by rank some outrightly banned. I have never seen a school this focused on points even when rolling/drilling in class. I have a high blue if not purple level guard and we constantly run drills where I lose if my back hits the ground. To me, this would seem to limit the guy's game. (the purple comments comes from others not me, i think i barely have a blue top/bottom game). If someone is bulldogging me back, I am wasting more enegry trying to push forward and avoid falling (which is almost inevitable is someone has a good shot.) Since they get me on my back, they have a false sense of confidence as well since sweeping does not equal control which does not equal dominant position, etc.
This is similar to what has happened in the history of judo. No leg locks, slicers, neck cranks,etc. The result of such training seems to me to lead to a few issues.
1 - Lack of finesse.
2 - Lazy Limbs.
3 - Focus on rules.
Since the focus is always on points the general game at the GB school is very top heavy and strength driven. The game of the students is very strong but seems very narrow. Limbs are often out stretched crying for elbow slicers, legs are placed near the head when guard passing. Alot of focus is place on gripping the Gi. For those who know me, that may seem odd since I love the Gi, but I think it can be relied on to the detriment of overall game development. I normally hit submissions from odd angles off of transitions and gaps in scrambles. I caught my judo instructor with a carni off of a transition.
But please don't get me wrong. I like the new school. I am hoping the trounament driven atmosphere will help with my aggression and reduce my guard pulling habits. (I realize my game needs to evolve as well)
For example, at NAGA, most everything is legal in the intermediate division (i forgot beginner's restrictions). And while I worry about certain injuries, I try to maintain focus on all of my limbs even while training. I also am willing to give up position to learn from escaping since at my normal gym the goal is surviving and winning, points are a side effect of this, not the main goal. You shouldn't fear being put on your back. Given the chance, I'll cover until I can work into something rather than just sweep to get on top, get my points and then stay in position.
I don't mean either that this is really a sport vs street idea. At my old gym the students do very well in competition. It would be hard to point at the GB school and say they have done better than the SBGi guys. The SBGi guys have a more well rounded game and can adapt more easily to changes in the game of others. The GB guys can steamroll over opponents and push the pace. At a certain level I realize this is a matter of preference.
I guess I was looking for others who may be in the same position. When I started training in 2001 with Tim Burrill http://www.timburrill.com, there just weren't many competitions so there was little to no focus on points. I am wondering if points is where Gi BJJ is heading, or is it there and I just somehow missed the boat.