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  1. #11
    Ender's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Princeton, NJ
    BJJ, Wrestling
    Actually, I disagree more with you now that you've clarified your point. These movements ARE NOT techniques; in some cases they're components of techniques (in which case they should be taught as part of the technique), but most of the time, they're not things you can break down into drills. That type of movement is a part of general "mat awareness" that comes from enough time training. What's more, the type of movements you're describing are HIGHLY individualized, as they usually pertain to the user's body type or preferred grappling game. I think if you try to partition every single move you can possibly make into a list of techniques to practice, that's all that you'll end up with: a bunch of techniques. It's the moves between the techniques that define BJJ and make it distinct.
    "Even if one's head were to be suddenly cut off, he should be able to perform one more action with certainty."
    -Yamamoto Tsunetomo

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
    Quote Originally Posted by MuKen
    By "nuances of each position" I didn't mean position=technique (as often seems the case in the BJJ world...) , I meant literally each position, as in guard, sidecontrol, etc. I'm not saying that an instructor should cover every detail of each technique he shows, I'm suggesting that maybe every once in awhile he should take a class and teach things like "here's a few ways you can break head control and posture up in guard, and here's what your opponent might do to stop you." A focused set of combinations and strategies detailing the battle for position within the position.
    Thats exactly how a BJJ class typically goes- show a few techniques and explain the scenarios in which you might apply them. Going back to reviewing the counters of a particular position, there are some things you need to consider:

    1: You need to learn to do the move before you need to worry about what to do if your opponent counters it. Consider, for example, the basic collar choke and armbar combination from inside the guard- if you have a pathetic collar choke that isnt a threat, your opponent has no need to defend it and therefore will not react to open himself up for the armbar.

    2: There are counters to moves, and then there are counters to counters, and so on. In any class that I've seen where the instructor shows a move that involves, say, 3 different counters and options, it blows peoples minds and they end up knowing a whole lot about nothing. They may have had the move explained to them, but knowing the theory behind a move and feeling when to do it are completely different things.

    Quote Originally Posted by MuKen
    In my experience, these things just come as side comments while the main focus is to teach a technique, drill a technique, teach a technique drill a technique and so on, and then just start rolling. In the better classes, the instructor actually teaches combinations of techniques as responses to your opponent's reactions, and I think that approach should be applied to just general movement within a position too. There are plenty of classes where, for example, we learn guard armbar, then armbar->sweep if your opponent stacks one way, or another sweep if he stacks another way, etc
    You're getting greedy when you start explaining exactly what you want to be taught in your class. You have to believe that your instructor knows whats best for you and thats why hes teaching it to you, otherwise, you could just as well be learning from a book or a video.

    When I say you're becoming greedy, consider the amount of people that are in your class- lets say you've got a class of 10, and you ask each person what move they want to work on- you're going to get 10 different responses

    "I want to learn this from half guard"
    "I cant escape mount this way"
    "My collar chokes arent working"

    Now, when an instructor does a class, he has to take this into account. Perhaps you're having trouble escaping a side headlock, but the guy sitting next to you doesnt have that same problem- maybe he wants to know how to mount someone from cross side and the guy next to him cant hold anyone in half guard. The instructor needs to cater as best he can to all his students. You could argue that he could focus on one position each day of the week, but he doesnt know the dates that certain people are going to come. Once again, this comes down to having faith in your instructor- everything that you're being taught is going to come together longer down the road. Trust him, hes been doing it longer than you and I guarentee he used to think the same thing you did (because so did I).

    If you want to focus on specific positions and details, that is the whole idea behind private lessons so to speak. In any private lesson I've seen, the very exact thing you're speaking of (showing combinations from one particular position and offerring counters to them) is exactly what happens. This is because the instructor only has one student and can focus solely on you.

    Quote Originally Posted by MuKen
    IMO some classes should involve drilling simple responses to the little things your opponent might do, like hooking a leg as they stand and so on. Right now, the only time we ever do that is because we are drilling a handstand sweep, we never drill just the positional responses.
    Once again, if you were to go over all the little things that your opponents do, that would take months, if not years to cover one basic position.

    What you just spoke about is how you improve in BJJ and ultimately become a black belt, if you will. You're talking about little details here right? Well think about what happens when you train with a black belt (if you have). Typically, by the time you're an experienced blue belt, you can identify just about every move that your instructor does on you. Hes doing triangles, armbars, chokes- the whole deal. You know them, and you probably know the counters to them, but he makes them work and you cant. The answer to this is exactly what you're speaking of- its all about the details. When you figure out all the little details, thats when you should be just about a black belt. You're instructor is showing you the details each time you do a class, but hes doing it slowly so as not to overwhelm you with techniques, as I posted earlier.

    Besides trying to rush your way into all the details of the ground game, you also have to ask yourself how well can you do what you already know? For instance, suppose your instructor showed you an armbar. You drill it for 30 reps that night, but do you ever do it again unless he tells you to in class? You need thousands of reps to get a move down, and then you need to tweak it accordingly when you're training, which will take time. If you're not working on the moves hes already shown you, where is the incentive for him to show you more moves? When he shows you a move, take it and drill it to death. Come in early before class and drill it with a partner. Stay late and do the same. Try to make it work when you're training. When he sees that you really want to learn (and you see how much work it takes in order to do so) he'll certainly be happy to help you in any way that he can. After all, who's he going to focus his attention on- the guy who really doesnt care, or the ones who's busting his ass trying to learn what hes been taught?

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    I'm not so sure about that Ronin, I mean, yes, it is certainly a question of quantity of information and how much a person can handle. What I believe though, is that these things should be taught before techniques. I imagine a beginner class for at least the first 10 classes where you do not learn *any* submissions passes or sweeps, just escapes and positioning.

    I have been training a year and a half, not a blue yet, so perhaps one could say I don't have enough experience to make a judgement call on this, but on the flipside, I have very recently just gone through being a beginner. As such I am just now in that transitional stage of getting good, so I can say from my observations right now what's working for me as a beginner and not.

    Now, this is how the first month went for me: I learned a bunch of techniques, elbow escapes, upa, armbar, kimura, triangle. But I didn't now jack about posturing and making space and getting on your side, etc. etc. So, for example, that armbar from the guard was never available to me. Furthermore, if I tried, I would get passed every time. So in my mind, armbar became just a transition from guard to under the across-side. Even after I later learned how to position myself and set these things up, it took me a long time to break that image of the armbar.

    Now, if instead, in the first month I learned simple things like the importance of breaking posture from the guard instead, then I would know that even though I don't know any submissions yet, I know generally what kinds of things I should be going for, and the more I do them, the better I am at defending myself from my opponent's passes, at least.

    And then later, when I learned the armbar, it would come a lot easier knowing that before I even think of doing this, I have to attack my opponent's posture first. I think initial growth of players would be faster starting with this.

    Furthermore, if (god forbid) a beginner should ever have to use what little he knew to defend himself after getting taken down, he'd be a LOT better off breaking his opponent's posture and holding him in a way to avoid punches until somebody broke off the fight, than trying haphazardly for submissions he can't get.

    Overall, it just seems to me that this would be a better learning progression.

    EDIT: Yeah, I guess that's a good point about not knowing when students will be in, Gumby, I hadn't really thought about that. So I guess it doesn't really make sense to devote a class at a time to one position or another, but still though, I think having occasional drills where you work a position without using submissions or sweeps would be very helpful to beginning development.
    Last edited by MuKen; 1/09/2006 11:30pm at .

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