The Psychological Hazard of Having Options
I'm not entirely sure when this thought occurred to me but in any case it seems very relevant to many martial arts topics, and even topics that have nothing to do with martial arts.
When I started BJJ I sucked. Badly. (And I'm sure many would argue I still do). But, from watching some youtube videos before I had joined up I was actually able to perform one move -- the upa escape. I would get taken down with ease, guard passed, mounted, and then a very good percentage of the time I would hit the upa. Looking back it amazes me that I was hitting blue belts with it considering how much I sucked.
Now when I roll, unless I'm going up against the purples and up it's pretty rare that I even find myself mounted. And when that happens, alright maybe I'll try and fail on the upa, alright that's okay that it didn't work because I can always elbow escape (which I actually happen to be really good at).
Now the problem is that I'm pretty sure that my upa attempt/success ratio is actually lower today than it was the first month I started bjj. It sounds paradoxical because I know my technique is better now on the move and that before i was doing things that i know now are big nono's.
So what happened? Well, I think when I started the upa escape was a "success or death" move. If it didn't work, I was done (well actually i'd probably get subbed from guard immediately after but that's not the point). Now, when I go for the upa I have in the back of my head the complacency that it's okay if the move doesn't work because I know i still have options if it fails.
And that is what I call the psychological hazard of having options. Let me give another two examples.
I've always been really suspicious of women's self defense classes (especially like one hour seminars that they just go to once), simply because I know that it's going to be very difficult to apply any technique that you've only worked on for such a short amount of time. But with this idea, I hope you can imagine why these women might actually be worse off with the class.
Even if the instructor stresses over and over how getting away needs to be the #1 priority and that engaging should be a last resort, having in the back of their heads these "tools" to help them if needed could conceivably make them worse off. If their mindset was "my only success is running away, or else i'm 100% fucked" we might imagine they might have a better success rate running away than if they have the mindset, "well at least if i can't run away i can do something in case i'm in trouble".
Another example is in the context of MMA... specifically pure strikers in MMA who train a little bit of jiujitsu. The striker that trains only striking and a little bit of takedown defense will have the mindset of "alright, i know nothing about the ground, so i need to stay off at ALL costs" -- whereas a striker who's dabbled in a little bit of jiujitsu might say, "alright at least if the fight goes to the ground i know a few things to keep me alive". (Note I'm definitely NOT advocating not training jiujitsu for mma competition lol). I would argue that the person in the first case is going to have better success (at least in the short term) in mma.
Alright sorry for the long read -- any thoughts?
Work yo' moves in combos. You shouldn't have to do anything LIFE OR DEATH OH NOES. Zhoo zhitso no rely on strenght, eez about technique.
So what's your point?
Should we only have one technique/option/choice? Should I only train one escape, one submission, one strike, kick etc.? Should I only eat one thing, the same thing, everyday for the rest of my life? All this and more, in the attempt to not cause complacency within my behavior. Seriously? "Options", as you say, have nothing to do with you not being able to pull off the upa, anymore than they have to do with women getting assaulted.
In short, your argument sucks.
Holy crap, I didn't even see this 'till now.
Originally Posted by v1y
Haven't you seen the clear evidence that people who have no ground game get owned?
Your argument sucks even more now.
The point is that both people have no ground game, the one person just thinks they have a ground game. Ergo, the person who knows he has no ground game will work harder to avoid going to the ground.
Anyways the hazard only pertains to the short term. Once you're truly competent at all the options, it no longer applies.
Last edited by v1y; 1/16/2009 11:20pm at .
You're bound to be a lot stronger, more explosive & more stuborn when you only have one working technique & you're terrified.
My guillotines were more effective when I first started then they are now because they were the only thing I knew how to do so I'd squeeze with all my might & hold on for dear life. Now that I'm able to transition to other things it just seems like a waste of energy to fight that hard for a submission.
If Vs point is to execute some moves with the temerity of a person with no other option (even if you have some) to increase your chance of executing it successfully he may have a point. I'm not sure his analogies are that great but at least he came up with an original thought. I'm a little burned out on "LOL the Ninjers".
I always figured that the reason striking sucked a lot in early MMA was because strikers were scared to be taken to the ground so they didn't let the hands and kicks go.
Originally Posted by v1y
When a striker is comfortable on the ground, he doesn't care about the takedown and will kick more frequently and confidently.
The first thing I thought about when I heard options, was stock options. Damn finance major. Maybe this thread can be changed into that so it makes more sense.
If you focus on just one option, your ground game will still suck.
The Hazard of Having Choices does have an affect on things like this, not quite the same one the OP is talking about.
Having only 1 option from a given position or in a given situation means that you commit to that option with no hesitation and with nothing in reserve.
Having 5 options from one position may cause you to hesitate while trying to decide which to do and when you do commit it may mean you don't commit fully to that technique because you were thinking about the other 4 options you had.
In extreme situations it causes people to freeze up and do nothing, even though they may know a lot of things they COULD do.
Has less to do with BJJ than with certain peoples psychological makeup and their ability to prioritize their options.
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