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  1. kenpo sage is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/08/2009 3:17pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: Kenpo/Wing Chun/Silat

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by diesel_tke View Post
    So I ended up buying these DVDs to work through them. No, I will not EVER take the test to try to get a belt. I think everyone who has read any of my posts, knows that I think belts are simply stupid.
    So I have never read your posts, but I am always curious as to why people feel "belts" are "stupid" It may not be in your case, as I don't know you, but I find many times that that is a statement used by people who are pissed they never stayed in an art long enough to earn a black belt or as a way to justify their personal greatness, without ever training to the extent others have.

    Just curious as to your reasoning behind the "belts are stupid" postulate.
  2. gonzomalan is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/08/2009 3:19pm


     

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by slideyfoot View Post
    In that sense, I stand by my description of the course as consisting of co-operative drills. As I keep saying, I still think it's an excellent DVD set, but it is far, far less useful than training at a school where you can regularly spar with a range of partners over an extended period of time, under the supervision of a qualified instructor.
    i see how you meant it now.
    Whether or not Rener and Ryron suggest you should spar at some point (I don't recall that they do, but I might have forgotten: please point me to the relevant section if I missed it) is very different from actually doing it. Sparring is not a part of Gracie Combatives. The qualifier is that it probably is a part of the Master Cycle, but I haven't had a chance to look at that yet.
    they get asked about it on the q&a forum, and say that sparring gets included in blue belt lessons both at the academy and in the master cycle. white belts have to be content with fight simulation drills.
    It remains an inferior promotion method to observing a student's progress during sparring with a range of partner's over an extended period, coupled with the instructor testing out the student's skills in person, through rolling with them.
    yup.
    That, I agree with, at least in terms of the DVDs. Considering how much instruction you get, they are fairly priced.
    i conveniently left out the fact that the bundled online lessons cost $144, but that's because i believe it's a fair price considering you only pay it once and get to view the lessons 24/7, forever. quite a gamble to say that's the amount you need to keep your server working smoothly.
  3. gonzomalan is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/08/2009 3:21pm


     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by kenpo sage View Post
    So I have never read your posts, but I am always curious as to why people feel "belts" are "stupid" It may not be in your case, as I don't know you, but I find many times that that is a statement used by people who are pissed they never stayed in an art long enough to earn a black belt or as a way to justify their personal greatness, without ever training to the extent others have.

    Just curious as to your reasoning behind the "belts are stupid" postulate.
    not that i like speaking for other people, but i believe it would have something to do with the fact that SAMBO has no belt ranks and instead relies on competition (alone?) to judge skill.
    i personally like the belt ranks because they work as goals for someone like me who plans on not competing (at least extensively) or using MA skills as part of a career.
  4. slideyfoot is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/08/2009 3:33pm

    Business Class Supporting Membersupporting member
     Artemis BJJ | Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Bristol Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by gonzomalan View Post
    they get asked about it on the q&a forum, and say that sparring gets included in blue belt lessons both at the academy and in the master cycle. white belts have to be content with fight simulation drills.
    Out of interest, I don't suppose you remember the specific forum and time? Although they can often be rather perfunctory with their responses on there, sometimes it is revealing.

    Someone newly promoted to blue belt who has never sparred is a dubious prospect, at least in terms of being able to justify that rank (though I'm aware the Gracie Academy emphasise that their blue belts are allegedly distinct from 'BJJ' blue belts). Sparring is integral to BJJ, and it is integral to legitimately earning the next belt.

    Just drilling (as in Gracie Combatives) doesn't cut it. There are lots of techniques I can perform well during drilling, and continue to successfully apply against slight resistance.

    However, there are very few techniques I can regularly land in sparring. Those I can manage on a consistent basis are techniques I've tried in sparring many, many times. Even to reach my lowly blue belt status, I had to spend countless hours (ok, maybe not countless: I've got a spreadsheet :icon_wink) working out my mistakes and analysing my partners' reactions during sparring. That is something you simply can't learn from drilling alone.

    Full resistance makes an enormous difference, and I can't stress enough how important sparring is to progress in BJJ.


    It is possible Gracie Combatives can assist in the drilling stage, and merely requires some sparring for the student to sufficiently refine their skills. After all, as I've mentioned before, I've found the course useful for my own training (but again, that's because I regularly spar, so can test the technique against full resistance).

    This is something I'm hoping to empirically examine if and when my girlfriend completes the full syllabus (she's still doing it, slowly: up to Lesson 5 now), either by sparring with her myself, or ideally getting her down to a class so she can roll with beginners.


    i conveniently left out the fact that the bundled online lessons cost $144, but that's because i believe it's a fair price considering you only pay it once and get to view the lessons 24/7, forever. quite a gamble to say that's the amount you need to keep your server working smoothly.
    Yeah, I don't think I'd go for the online option over the DVDs, so it is unfortunate that later programs will only be available through online subscription. While I can understand their reasoning that there will be so many lessons that a DVD package would be ridiculously large, it is still a shame.
  5. Sley is offline

    mr. Hobbes

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    Posted On:
    11/08/2009 4:11pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I am about to admit to somthing.

    I convinced my Brother, who lives in the middle of nowhere but still loves BJJ and Judo, and kinda has a crappling club to start it. He's currently decent, (due to being a world class athlete) but he knows very very little.

    He's interested in testing for belts too, which I can understand, he just kinda wants to have it on his resume.
  6. Diesel_tke is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/08/2009 9:01pm

    supporting member
     Style: stick,Taiji, mountainbike

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by kenpo sage View Post
    So I have never read your posts, but I am always curious as to why people feel "belts" are "stupid" It may not be in your case, as I don't know you, but I find many times that that is a statement used by people who are pissed they never stayed in an art long enough to earn a black belt or as a way to justify their personal greatness, without ever training to the extent others have.

    Just curious as to your reasoning behind the "belts are stupid" postulate.

    Well, this is not something I just decided one night. It is an opinion that has developed over many years of fighting and training. There were lots of small events over time that helped to form my opinion. I will give you a few of them.

    I have trained in kickboxing since I was in highschool. At that time I was living in Okinawa Japan and living on a USMC base. I trained at the gym. I started BJJ in a club in college while I was also playing Rugby full time and bouncing at the local bar. This was in 1996-2000. After that I went through the academy (hence LEO tag) and blah blah..lots of training. That is just my backgroung I am cutting short just so you know. There is a lot more if you want to open another thread.

    So the reasons: One time while living in Japan, a guy in my school who was a Black belt in some kind of Karate and used to do all those board breaking pulblic exibitions, he picked a fight with me. All I had was some kickboxing and a lot of bag time, and I absolutly beat him up.

    I got into a fight with a TKD black belt in college and moped im up all over the place. I beat up another guy at a bar who professed to be a black belt. We had a Kyokushan (sp?) club at college and I sparred with one of their black belts and beat him. There is a Yoshukai black belt that I train with now, and I beat him every time I spar. Another guy I train with is a TSD black belt and so is his son.

    That is not to say that I'm a bad ass, because I don't think that I am. It just makes me think that the quality control is so shitty that you can get a black belt if you spend enough money at a place to get one. And they mean nothing other than the fact that you gave some shmoe a lot of money.

    I also see all these schools that charge all this money for test fees and gear and uniforms. If you don't think that is a money making scheme then you are an idiot.

    The black belt has went from something that people thought of as a status symbol of someone who has mastered a martial art, into something that you get when you stick around long enough.

    But in the end, who cares? You have a black belt...so what does it mean. Does it mean that you can fight, maybe but I have seen a lot who think that they can but can't. Does it mean you have mastered an art? maybe but you can buy one and the cert for it off e-bay. You can also get one if you spend enough money at your club. Does it mean that you can hold you Gi on better? Nope, the black ones work just as well as the white ones. Is is a status? Not in my mind. Your status begins when you show it on the mat. Is a black belt in one art better than a black belt in another? Nope, you see examples all over you tube of one beating another, and it usually has a lot to do with fitness, ability, and athletisism.

    So in the end, I think that they are worthless. If a black belt is good motivation for you to keep you in the gym and spending your money, then good for you. As for me, I think the proper motivation should be to learn and build your ability. Better yourself. Not get a belt to show off, and let hold as if it is some mistical and magical award. It is just a belt. Get over yourself and show me what you can do on the mat.

    I just can not rap my mind around how someone can put so much status into a belt.
  7. Sley is offline

    mr. Hobbes

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    Posted On:
    11/09/2009 12:33am


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by diesel_tke View Post
    Well, this is not something I just decided one night. It is an opinion that has developed over many years of fighting and training. There were lots of small events over time that helped to form my opinion. I will give you a few of them.

    I have trained in kickboxing since I was in highschool. At that time I was living in Okinawa Japan and living on a USMC base. I trained at the gym. I started BJJ in a club in college while I was also playing Rugby full time and bouncing at the local bar. This was in 1996-2000. After that I went through the academy (hence LEO tag) and blah blah..lots of training. That is just my backgroung I am cutting short just so you know. There is a lot more if you want to open another thread.

    So the reasons: One time while living in Japan, a guy in my school who was a Black belt in some kind of Karate and used to do all those board breaking pulblic exibitions, he picked a fight with me. All I had was some kickboxing and a lot of bag time, and I absolutly beat him up.

    I got into a fight with a TKD black belt in college and moped im up all over the place. I beat up another guy at a bar who professed to be a black belt. We had a Kyokushan (sp?) club at college and I sparred with one of their black belts and beat him. There is a Yoshukai black belt that I train with now, and I beat him every time I spar. Another guy I train with is a TSD black belt and so is his son.

    That is not to say that I'm a bad ass, because I don't think that I am. It just makes me think that the quality control is so shitty that you can get a black belt if you spend enough money at a place to get one. And they mean nothing other than the fact that you gave some shmoe a lot of money.

    I also see all these schools that charge all this money for test fees and gear and uniforms. If you don't think that is a money making scheme then you are an idiot.

    The black belt has went from something that people thought of as a status symbol of someone who has mastered a martial art, into something that you get when you stick around long enough.

    But in the end, who cares? You have a black belt...so what does it mean. Does it mean that you can fight, maybe but I have seen a lot who think that they can but can't. Does it mean you have mastered an art? maybe but you can buy one and the cert for it off e-bay. You can also get one if you spend enough money at your club. Does it mean that you can hold you Gi on better? Nope, the black ones work just as well as the white ones. Is is a status? Not in my mind. Your status begins when you show it on the mat. Is a black belt in one art better than a black belt in another? Nope, you see examples all over you tube of one beating another, and it usually has a lot to do with fitness, ability, and athletisism.

    So in the end, I think that they are worthless. If a black belt is good motivation for you to keep you in the gym and spending your money, then good for you. As for me, I think the proper motivation should be to learn and build your ability. Better yourself. Not get a belt to show off, and let hold as if it is some mistical and magical award. It is just a belt. Get over yourself and show me what you can do on the mat.

    I just can not rap my mind around how someone can put so much status into a belt.
    You should all wear black belts then. Since your all instructors to each other.
  8. gonzomalan is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/09/2009 3:38am


     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by slideyfoot View Post
    Out of interest, I don't suppose you remember the specific forum and time? Although they can often be rather perfunctory with their responses on there, sometimes it is revealing.
    i just did a search using "sparring" and these responses stuck out to me:

    -
    Q. how often should there be sparring during this course?
    sancheza (7/27/2009 6:31 PM)
    A. None. In the Gracie Combatives course, the focus should be on executing the Reflex Development Drills and Fight Simulation Drills featured at the end of each class.
    GUStudentSupport

    -Q. i have heard many people say that free rolling/sparring is the most important aspect of training to help you progress. What are your thoughts on this? How do you address this in your program? thank you
    Maverick (4/6/2009 4:24 PM)
    A. Sparring is an invaluable tool when it comes to sharpening your skills, but it can be counter-productive if done with the wrong mindset. Too many people think of sparring and growth as a matter of win or lose i.e., if you win, you're getting better, and if you lose, you haven't improved enough. This is the wrong way to think, because it encourages winning over learning, and causes sparring partners to work against one another. In these circumstances, injuries are highly likely and ill-refined techniques will never improve because focus will be on the whether or not a win was achieved. At the Gracie Academy, sparring is not allowed for those without a core understanding of Combatives course. Even when students begin to spar, only light, cooperative sparring is encouraged, where both opponents learn to use techniques with increasing (but manageable) levels of resistance. In this way we breed cooperation and the ideal environment to improve our skills in the fastest way possible.
    GracieAcademy2

    -Q. My training partner asked if training the combatives could possibly affect our rolling against jiu-jitsu guy's since it's focus is more on self defense. Also when sparring do you recommend we spar with striking involved while training these combatives. We have been both training bjj for a number of years but it has been more sport oriented.
    Ezekiel (4/6/2009 2:42 PM)
    A. Yes, the Combatives course IS designed purely for a street-fight scenario against a less-knowledgeable opponent, so using only these techniques may not guarantee victory against a sportive jiu jitsu practitioner. However, in the Master Cycle you'll learn techniques that apply to even knowledgeable opponents. It is NOT recommended that you "spar" with these techniques, at least in the beginning. We only recommend that the "bad guy" always exhibit realistic, know-nothing bad guy behavior when training with his/her partner. The "striking" should be limited to what your partner can handle. If you want to remind your partner of where the punches can come from, begin with VERY light open-hand slaps. Over time, as reflexes develop and skills become sharper, you can slowly increase your bad-guy intensity (and intelligence) accordingly.
    GracieAcademy2
  9. slideyfoot is offline
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    Artemis BJJ Co-Founder/Instructor

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    Posted On:
    11/09/2009 4:21am

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     Artemis BJJ | Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Bristol Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by gonzomalan View Post
    i just did a search using "sparring" and these responses stuck out to me
    Thanks for hunting those down: interesting responses.

    Q. how often should there be sparring during this course?

    sancheza (7/27/2009 6:31 PM)

    A. None. In the Gracie Combatives course, the focus should be on executing the Reflex Development Drills and Fight Simulation Drills featured at the end of each class.

    GUStudentSupport
    That immediately settles the question: the Gracie Academy quite clearly does not recommend sparring as part of Gracie Combatives, meaning that there is a gaping hole in the training, compounding all the other issues surrounding online belt testing.

    -Q. i have heard many people say that free rolling/sparring is the most important aspect of training to help you progress. What are your thoughts on this? How do you address this in your program? thank you

    Maverick (4/6/2009 4:24 PM)

    A. Sparring is an invaluable tool when it comes to sharpening your skills, but it can be counter-productive if done with the wrong mindset. Too many people think of sparring and growth as a matter of win or lose.

    i.e., if you win, you're getting better, and if you lose, you haven't improved enough. This is the wrong way to think, because it encourages winning over learning, and causes sparring partners to work against one another. In these circumstances, injuries are highly likely and ill-refined techniques will never improve because focus will be on the whether or not a win was achieved.

    At the Gracie Academy, sparring is not allowed for those without a core understanding of Combatives course. Even when students begin to spar, only light, cooperative sparring is encouraged, where both opponents learn to use techniques with increasing (but manageable) levels of resistance. In this way we breed cooperation and the ideal environment to improve our skills in the fastest way possible.

    GracieAcademy2
    Ah yes, I remember that one now. There are two sides to it. On the one hand, it is very positive, and I absolutely agree with the sentiment sparring should not be 'win/lose'. It's in keeping with my favourite thread of all time.

    On the other, however, I definitely do not agree that there should be no sparring at all. No free sparring for beginners, perhaps, but specific sparring should absolutely be present. Otherwise, you're stuck at the 'introduce' stage.

    Q. My training partner asked if training the combatives could possibly affect our rolling against jiu-jitsu guy's since it's focus is more on self defense. Also when sparring do you recommend we spar with striking involved while training these combatives. We have been both training bjj for a number of years but it has been more sport oriented.

    Ezekiel (4/6/2009 2:42 PM)

    A.
    Yes, the Combatives course IS designed purely for a street-fight scenario against a less-knowledgeable opponent, so using only these techniques may not guarantee victory against a sportive jiu jitsu practitioner.

    However, in the Master Cycle you'll learn techniques that apply to even knowledgeable opponents. It is NOT recommended that you "spar" with these techniques, at least in the beginning.

    We only recommend that the "bad guy" always exhibit realistic, know-nothing bad guy behavior when training with his/her partner. The "striking" should be limited to what your partner can handle. If you want to remind your partner of where the punches can come from, begin with VERY light open-hand slaps.

    Over time, as reflexes develop and skills become sharper, you can slowly increase your bad-guy intensity (and intelligence) accordingly.

    GracieAcademy2
    First they bluntly say "no," then it seems they are moving towards a more sensible position, but after talking about the need to "increase your bad-guy intensity" they don't explicitly say "and then you spar."

    Sparring has to be in the training plan somewhere before you can truly earn the next belt level, IMO, for the reasons I stated earlier.
  10. sapateiro is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/09/2009 7:35am


     Style: BJJ/GJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    We don't allow white belts to do sportive sparring until they've at least got 4 stripes (the stripes are more about experience than ability, and 4 stripes generally takes about a year). The reason for this is that if you have only trained for a month or two, you

    A) Haven't learned to relax yet so are more prone to injury yourself & others.
    B) Will probably end up muscling on the 3 or 4 techniques that you know so will get into a habit pattern of using strength (also injury is more likely).
    C) Will be surrounded by other newbies all going for the almighty tap, and as soon as frustration starts, strength & aggression starts to take over.
    D) Will build reflexes based on a person who isn't trying to punch you/slam you on concrete etc etc. and we're focused on self defense as a priority.

    This may seem weird for those of you who spar for 20 minutes at the end of every beginners class, but don't forget that the focus here is on self defense initially, and a class is ended with drills. By the time a white belt gets 4 stripes & starts to add the sportive stuff, their armbars, chokes, transitions etc are already starting to become subconscious moves and are therefore smoother.

    Also our sportive sparring is more compliant than the tourney-focused clubs. My white/blue/purple belts all tap me out regularly because provided they don't make any big mistakes I let them. Every now & then you bring the pace up, but generally it's about creating a mutually beneficial learning environment. It seems to work well for us, our club ranked top for the 2nd year running in the SA nationals this year.
    .
    Last edited by sapateiro; 11/09/2009 8:10am at .

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