Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Rolling Dirty

We were rolling dirty last night.
Dan started with a series of exercises working the ranges of the guard as a warm up (love it when an instructor warms up with skills instead of calisthenics) then had his students free flow some BJJ-based self-defense situationals.  Then he okayed letting them play with rolling dirty.

That's just grappling with the other stuff thrown in-- gouging and biting and striking and slamming people into walls.  A good time.

But it can be a weird experience.  Ideally, when you start a system it will show you a whole bunch of things you've never seen before.  It hits hard on the perception part of the last post.  That is a very good thing.  But almost all systems I've seen subtly transition from seeing all the cool stuff inside the system to learning not to see the opportunities outside the system.  Eyes are opened and then blindered.

Dirty rolling just reminds people of what they already knew:  Shit happens in a fight.

But it was weird, because of the way some perceived it.  And there were a few serious mental errors creeping in.

One said that many of his go-to techniques didn't work because of the unexpected knees and elbows flying in or the gouges... and that's not quite right.  It wasn't because of the strikes and gouges so much as the 'unexpected.'  That's important.  Getting hit and gouged is kind of natural in a fight.  Once it ceases to be unexpected, the go-to stuff tends to work again.

You also need to distinguish between damage and distraction.  Rolling dirty allows for things ranging from throat spiking (always pulled) to slapping and tickling.  With the exception of the percussion slap over the ear and the shotei/KGB slap, you can slap people all day.  And tickling?  Pure distraction.  But if you let yourself get distracted, it works.  And if it is novel, people tend to get distracted.

But the biggest point might be the easiest to miss.  Doing a style, blinders and all, can lock you in.  You get exposed to something else, it can seem like the new stuff is better because when you were doing BJJ or judo or whatever it was relatively easy (in your comfort zone, expected problems) and suddenly stuff doesn't work... It 's natural to think that the dirty rolling is somehow more effective.  It is very, very easy to miss the fact that the years of rolling (judo, in my case) were instrumental in making the 'dirty' stuff so easy to do.  I wouldn't give up my early training in solid fundamentals for any bag of tricks.

But you can have both.


Wayne said...

"But the biggest point might be the easiest to miss. Doing a style, blinders and all, can lock you in."

One of the things I've picked up from you, and the converse thinking I have to go to a certain style due to the situation (i.e. I'm on the ground thus I must grapple).

Our mind is a wonderful thing, but can get you into trouble.

Neal Martin said...

It's all fighting at the end of the day. Style shouldn't come into it when you're doing self defence. You just do what is most effective and what needs to be done. If I go to the ground with someone I don't start "grappling", I just carry on fighting.

Charles James said...

Thanks for this one, really hits paydirt.

Kasey said...

I wouldn't give up my early training in solid fundamentals for any bag of tricks.


The Strongest Karate said...

Can you elaborate briefly on how one would safely spar using gouges (to the eyes I'm guessing) and bites?

Not saying that it can't be done. But I don't trust any of my dojo mates enough to let them aim for my eyes.


Dan said...

Was a great class man! Sweat, smiles & smashing people. lol. Can't wait for another visit. Safe travels and keep in touch. :)