Question for sambosteve
On ASA's website, in the "About Sambo" section, there is the following paragraph:
The American Sambo AssociationTM is dedicated to teaching the principles of Sport and Combat Sambo as presented by Grand Master Alexander Barakov. As taught by Master Barakov, Samboís effectiveness lies in the studentís ability to master and flow with his or her own natural body movements. Inasmuch, Sambo training begins with an examination of oneís instinctive approaches to movement. Once the student begins to move freely and comfortably, alone and in tandem with other students, techniques are taught that synchronize with the studentís innate movement style and individual preferences. In Sambo training of this kind, techniques evolve out of and generate their power from fluid, confident, and comfortable understanding of physical movement and energy manipulation. Standardized technique is secondary to improvisational movement.
I was wondering if you would be so kind as to elaborate on the concept of "Standardized technique is secondary to improvisational movement" and perhaps provide an example of how this approach would differ from the typical "here's how to armbar from guard, go do armbar from guard drills, time to roll". Thanks!
It differs primarily in the way students are taught to move and think of fluidity, movement, and submissions. So, in general, we start with teaching positions and ground movement primarily. Of course we do teach specific technique (arm bars, chokes, leg locks, throws, etc)...this can't be neglected. But, we want students to focus on and become comfortable and fluid on the ground, moving with people, moving on their feet, moving from standing to mat, etc.
Originally Posted by asfo
So, in the beginning, we focus heavily on these types of movement drills...to develop the students ability to relax, flow, move, transition, and through movement, identify when naturally appearing subs or throws may be available. I always stress to people that without comfort and proper movement on the mat, you will have a much more difficult time being able to identify under stress when and how to get into a good position to pull off a sub. Of course learning subs is important, but it is like putting the dessert before the entree' if you simply learn tons of subs and neglect movement - the predecessor to submissions.
So, your example, "here is armbar from mount - now go roll". Of course this is important to know and learn, but, more important to know is "How did I come to the mount position in the first place?", or "how do I control my opponent in mount once I am there?", or "How do I secure a mount position in a way that makes my opponent's arm available for a sub?". Essentially, we try not to jump right to subs and try to teach people about what leads up to subs.
Too many people focus on building up a submission library when they can't move well to begin with. Relaxed movement leads to easier subs (and less injuries too). This also teaches students to seek naturally appearing opportunities for various types of subs and not hunt for particular subs - which can limit their game as noobs and teach them to ignore other opportunities which may be staring them in the face. Hunting for subs is like fighting with blinders on.
One drill for example, we will have students moving on the mat together, not working for submissions at all...just trying to continuously move through potitions, rolls, and falls with each other for 2 minutes straight. Then during times of movement, I may point out "here might me an opportunity for this or that type of sub". But, in the end, it all comes down to building fluidity and comfort in a students own body and awareness of body mechanics...and ability to go for subs which naturally appear.
So how is this individualized or improvisational? Everyone moves differently, has different body shapes, speeds, limitations, etc. What subs work for one person may not work well for others...based on how one moves, size of self or opponent, etc. We try to help students identify what works best for them. We try not to build cookie cutter grapplers. We want students to rspond to naturally occuring situations which come from unplanned movement on the ground (or on the feet)...this is improvisation.
So, yes, it is important to give people a catalogue of subs...and we do this, but it is equally, if not more important to give students the ability to flow, improvise and place those submissions in a realistic context...and realistic grappling matches are improvisations and unplanned.
Once students start moving well and have a good ground and body awareness, it is much easier to show them this sub or that sub because they can be more relaxed and have better knowledge of context from which to apply them. This is how you build an individualized game.
Last edited by sambosteve; 5/11/2009 1:00pm at .
Also, asfo, I see this is your first post here. How about an intro? How are you? What is your training background? Etc?
Why the crowd guys...LOL. It was a good question...
How about adding some thoughts too?
I agree with this approach in general but sometimes wonder if it isn't predicated on people having "some" idea of what they are doing. I've worked with raw newbs in grappling and striking that come in with little or no idea what to do. Hoping they develop sensitivity to movement when all they really want is to be told how not to suck can be frustrating for teacher and student.
I agree...it can be a frustrating process for complete noobs. But, we do teach them basic subs, etc, and they can get some validation that way. Obviously you can't not teach subs, but it must (IMO) be done in tandum with the other things I spoke about. Or better yet, wait a bit until they have some basic foundation in terms of comfort with being on the mat with other people. If taught properly, they can also get validation from rolling for simply a scarf position...for example. Before subs or moving fluidly are even a consideration, people have to learn their basic rolls, falls, ground positions, transitions between positions, etc. They need that baseline...but all that stuff is movement based. I basically try to encourage them to think of their youth when wrestling was fun and they had no idea what they were doing. Just have fun playing and moving around with another person.
Originally Posted by WhiteShark
To be honest, complete noobs always feel frustrated in the beginning, whatever teaching approach you use. But, the idea is to help change their expectations about what grappling is. If they come in thinking it is all about cool subs and think they are going to do what they see on TV, they have to be corrected straight away. If they really have no exposure at all, that is the best...LOL...a c lean slate. They have to be taught that success comes in many shapes and forms...and in small bits and pieces over time. They have to be taught that not getting a sub does not mean they suck. And that sometimes, success is just knowing that a particular moment would have been a good time to try a sub, even if they don't get the sub.
At least it was ambitious and intelligent...unlike many other first posts we see here.
Originally Posted by War Wheel
I wish someone would have explained that to me in that way when I started working on BJJ and grappling. Instead it was like 'go, do something'.. um do what? The flow work is huge, and I'm still at low level, I can imagine how much better it can get.
Rigan had us doing a similar drill with just 'position' (but also hit a sub, let it go) for 3 minutes then swap partners non-stop etc. After about 10 guys whew. That's one I need to see about keeping in the gym for sure, excellent drill.
I believe it is one of the biggest "missing pieces" in many grappling programs. You can really tell a good coach by this type of thing.
Originally Posted by DSL
We do similar drills as well..just catch the sub position, hold it for a moment and move on asap...the main thing is to keep moving and not stall between positions, etc.
Last edited by sambosteve; 5/11/2009 2:52pm at .