View Full Version : "Flow Grappling" is my mma gym heading towards bullshido?

10/23/2006 11:09pm,
I posted this in the grappling forum but thought it was also applicable to this one as well and this one seems much more active.

Let me start off by saying I have been training at this gym for around 2 years for roughly 6 hours a week and it has improved my skills tremendously.

Typical class used to do about 1.5 hours of drilling and about .5 hours of sparring per session.

We have a few pro fighters in our gym, some who have had some success in small local shows and smaller promotions like KOTC.

Recently my instructor and several students have become supporters of what they call "flow grappling" which has supplanted just regular old no gi grappling sparring. (We still spar standing up as we always have).

I will describe "flow grappling" as sparring in which you let your opponent work a move against you and then counter it.

So say I am in someones guard and he goes for an arm bar during a "flow grappling" session, I am supposed to let him get the armbar and then work the escape. Likewise he will let me pass his guard and then I will let him work to get his guard back. As opposed to a regular sparring session where If smell a submission coming I will just pull my arm away or what not.

The problem I have with this is that we are only supposed to be going at 25% speed and letting our "flow grappling" partners get moves on us that we normally would not. So a new guy is getting armbars on me because I am letting him, as opposed to the normal chain of events of me passing his guard and tapping him out in about a minute or I am lettin newbs escape from my mount, when I would normaly control them for the mount or cross body for the entire 5 min round.

The problem I have with this "flow grappling" is that it is rehearsed, and not "alive", it doesnt in my opinion teach timing or set up for proper application of submission or escapes against resisting opponents. Which is one of the reason why grappling is so effective anyway is the ability to spar at 100% intensity against a resisting opponent the techniques safely.

If you stopped sparring in BJJ, it will eventually become just like japanese jui-jitsu, watered down with ineffective techniques that you cant apply against a resisting opponent because you have no timing or set up.

Recently alot of our fighters have been getting owned on the ground, and while our school has always been know for its striking, I dont think "flow grappling" is helping matters.

I have been thinking about talking this over with my instructor, but I wanted to get some opinons first.


10/23/2006 11:53pm,
From a purely n00b perspective my thoughts are that I lean very little if I'm paired against somebody much better than me who goes 100% against me all of the time. Probably the superior fighter is getting something out of a matchup because he gets to drill his technique but at best the n00b is learning how to barely survive and at worst the only thing he is learning is how to tap.

I also feel like the first thing you learn as a n00b is defense out of pure necessity. I imagine that as you get better in your technique and are able to own the majority of the people at your gym you may start to have an uneven offensive/defensive game. It might make sense at that point to let the greener players get something on you by going 50% and then work to get out of it.

Finally, when you're first learning technique I find that it helps to do drills against compliant or semi-compliant partners. Just to build up the muscle memory and to learn the technique more accurately. I'm not advocating against live sparring with 100% resistance. I just think that especially at lower levels training only in that way may not be the most constructive.

It seems like in my BJJ class even the blue belts take it down a notch when they go against me. Sure they go 100% at first and submit me as fast as they can but then they usually let up a little and give me some time to try my own technique so I can actually learn something besides how much better they are than me.

Anyway I guess my point is: Maybe your instructor is doing it for the benefit of the greener guys in your gym. Maybe its just a series of drills used to enhance muscle memory or to perfect technique. It's hard to perfect technique sometimes when it's a 100% alive do or die situation. N00bs tend to get desparate and rely on strength or just flail.

Anyway let me know what your instructor says.