Saturday, December 1, 2012

Written Response to Sensei Rick from DTGTaihojutsu

No Technique is 100% Foolproof!

This is my written response to Sensei Rick's Youtube video, "No martial arts technique is 100 percent foolproof".

I completely agree that when a person begins to think that their technique is 100% foolproof, this is a recipe for a disaster. In fact I believe that it is a good thing to have the attitude that your technique has absolute no guarantee to work. Simply because this is reality and gives you the mindset to prepare for dire circumstances. After all you want to prepare against quality opponents, not weaker opponents.

Back when I was training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I had a nightmare that took my skills to the next level. In this nightmare, I was in a street fight with some guy, and ended up on the ground, I had him in an Americana Armlock. I cranked it all the way and he was not in any pain, the move appeared to not be working at all. I began to panic, I didn't know what to do, I started to worry that I was going to waste all my energy trying to finish him and get fatigued, I was worried that by not applying pain, I was giving him opportunities to reverse me and who knows how good his attacks are?! I was worried that his friends may come out of nowhere and start kicking me on the head. And then I woke up in a cold sweat, breathing hard. I hated the feeling I had, so I decided that from this point on I would never rely on one technique, I would transition to another technique. In grappling, the way we do combos are through transitions.

So in class I became obsessed with transitions. In sparring, I was always waiting for the resistance so that I could immediately switch to the next move, or next position. Whatever they did I made sure I had an answer. Before I knew it, I had an entire game plan mapped out based on the BJJ positions. In my opinion this is what separates a blue belt from a white belt. Not only does the blue belt know all the basic positions and techniques, they also have a general game plan, an answer to every common response in all the positions and techniques, this is why back then, there was a huge gap between a white belt and a blue belt.

When I was training at a different BJJ school, one day my instructor said to me: "why do you do transitions when it's better to not transition and just finish the guy right there?" This statement turned my world upside down! I was like what do you mean? I have to do transitions, they are stronger than me! Aren't transitions the way to go to develop higher skill in BJJ? Wait I don't need to do transitions? Transitions were everything to me. But he had a point. I began to realize that I had openings, and I was relying too much on transitions. Rickson Gracie said something along the lines that the idea of BJJ is to take your opponent to a worse and worse situation until you checkmate them and they give you the finish. Sure I was adapting to my opponent's response but that meant that I was always one step behind, because reaction comes after action, and I was not taking them to a worse and worse situation. I would sweep guys and get the side mount, from there I would transition to full mount, but there were guys who could bench press me off, so I would transition to knee on belly, and then go back to side mount, we would just exchange moves. So then I realized the most important concept in BJJ. To make things get worse and worse I needed to be Sticky like glue. So as I did the transitions on my opponent I would be sticky as possible, laying on them like a sack of potatoes and make them move me around, I slowly wore them out. To me this is the Helio Gracie style of BJJ, where a smaller weaker person would use technique and superior body mechanics to protect themselves against a larger more athletic opponent.

The reality of this beautiful strategy is that depending on how fit, how skilled the opponent is, it can take a long time. And you might say on the street, time is of the essence, so this is a bad plan. But the reality is against a true threat of quality, this is the most logical game plan. So if it takes time to take out one person, against multiple attackers you basically have no chance. The reality is that against multiple attackers, you can't be engaged with them, you have to run. I remember back when Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was exploding on to the scene, Rorion Gracie was asked, what about multiple attackers? And his response was, yes Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is limited against multiple attackers, but then again, show me a style that can handle that situation effectively. I have to agree, for a long time, Hollywood has brainwashed us into thinking that one person with higher quality can defeat many opponents of lower quality. And this is simply not true. One lion is not going to defeat a pack of wolves, it's the other way around.

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