Saturday, November 14, 2009

Is That a Problem?

"Let go of my arm. It's messing up your distance."
"But that's the weapon arm. I need to control it."
I shake my head. "Watch me." I pass/parry/enter "What can you reach with your knife?" I know the answer- if my hand weren't under his arm he might be able to get my thigh, but it is. If he was extremely flexible he just might be able to nick my ear or ruffle my hair. Maybe. Just because it is scary, doesn't mean it can hurt you. What I say is, "If you can't reach me with it, I don't need to waste resources on it. It is controlled, but by position, not grip."

There's a lot of that kind of stuff out there- solutions to problems that aren't problems. We talked about it later. Someone grabs your wrists, what do you do? I just say, "I know you're desperate but I am not going out with you." I know where his hands are. Where his feet are. What he can do and what he can't. For most things he needs to let go, for the one he doesn't, the head butt, I'll feel his intention. There is no problem here, unless you psych yourself into one.

Same with grabbing the shirt. It's an aggressive, scary move if you buy into the hype. Put it down on paper and suddenly it's a gift. "Hi, my name's Ray and I'll be your attacker today. I've decided to open by tying up both my hands in a way that can't really hurt you, leaving your hands free and my knees, throat, ears and lots of other good stuff in easy reach."

Lots of the groundfighting positions on the bottom are good places to rest. There are some holds- kesa gatame and kami shiho gatame to name two, where the person can't hurt you without changing the hold. The only danger in either is to struggle yourself to exhaustion. There is no problem here, not until the bad guy's friends show up.

Recognizing a problem is a critical strategic skill. Recognizing when something is not a problem and you can save your resources is a critical tactical skill.


shugyosha said...

Just came from a seminar teaching precisely that. Among other things. Only thing is that we don't use grabs by themselves, but always with a push or pull force that implies a later attack (grab, pull and head butt, for example). Sometimes we include the attack, sometimes we don't. Sometimes we use softer counters (a push might _get_ dangerous, but it _isn't_, for example, so blasting his knee might be a tad overblown).

My current fear regarding knives is grab-pull and stab-repeat. The likelihood of me finding those is rather low, though.

Take care.

ush said...

howzabout knees to the head from kami shiho?

Isegoria said...

I've long thought that competitive judo could improve its applicability off the mat without losing anything on the sporting side by modifying the rules for pins, so that (a) taking the back would count as a pin, (b) a pin would only ever be worth a half-point, so there would still be an incentive to look for submissions, and (c) a pin wouldn't count unless the attacker had a hand free, almost rodeo style, to represent the ability to strike.

Rory said...

Ferran- It works both ways. One of the things I want to play with at the next couple of seminars is 'manhandling' not just gripping and moving bodies but making your techniques work when you are being moved.

Ush- I keep my hips flat in kami; in order to knee, I'd have to create space by raising the hips, which is exactly the transition the guy on the bottom should be waiting for. The vulnerabilities, like the dangers are often in the transitions.

I like judo because it has relatively few bad habits. But in anything, if you train to the rules, it changes what you do. Interesting thoughts.

ush said...

" The vulnerabilities, like the dangers are often in the transitions"

Thats a great summation. I read an interview with an elite level bjj guy who's strategy for beating people is sumarrised in that sentence.

On a similar theme, I used to find that some people would panic and spaz out when they're being pinned from top control, saw it in the dojo with beginners and in real life too. Any idead what that's about? Some instinct?

Isegoria said...

Transitions are definitely the crises of grappling, presenting both danger and opportunity.

High-level BJJ grapplers tend to emphasize this in their personal styles, but BJJ pedagogy, not without reason, emphasizes clearly defined positions (mount, side-control, etc.), with submissions coming after position (both literally and figuratively).