Introduction for those entering BJJ or competitive martial arts

In response to this article I read randomly online, I left a comment and now reproduce it here.

Not every training system uses the tap, so always be sure to clarify what each side is expecting from the training limits.

If you are verbally giving a demonstration of a shoulder lock to someone that is new, and talking his head off, and then start the crank at normal speed, how is anyone supposed to react in time for the tap if they aren’t used to tapping on themselves to make a sound. Because you aren’t going to go from “listening mode” to “find something to tap on” due to pain interference. You have to be on “waiting on pain to tap” way before anybody does anything to you.

That’s why BJJ who see demo videos like this will “imitate” that rhythm and speed timing. While forgetting that the training partner isn’t always like the person in the video, he is ready for it.

Or in other words, be cautious of people who like to talk about techniques while showing it to you at full power. If they use a body weight leverage, they don’t realize it is grinding your bones and joints out, because body weight doesn’t have the same resistance as muscle pulleys. Neither does a leverage technique or lever.

It is safer, and thus more effective for long term training, to find people who are safe to train with, even if they can’t verbally explain anything. Or to put it another way, for people who verbally explain things but aren’t safe to train with, just watch from a distance. You don’t have to be their demo partner. Find somebody else.

This is a little bit different from the 20 yos that are reckless. There are older more experienced people who don’t know what their techniques are doing either, because they overly rely on the tap and that is only effective for the training partners that are used to them.

Full mastery at least requires you to know the difference between sparring and teaching techniques. In sparring, it is easier to tap out because your resistance is giving you the time to do so and you are in the preparation mode of almost tapping out. In teaching techniques at full power, the danger is always on the person you are demoing off of. And for people who focus on their talking over their technique control and power down mode, they’re can be used to ignoring consequences. Everybody else tapped out okay with them, why are you any different? Well, don’t try to Russian roulette that one.

BJJ has picked up and changed the randori requirements of Judo and Aikido. In Judo and AIkido, if you don’t fall correctly and break something on the ground, that’s on you, not on the upper level technique users. That’s why they spend months teaching falls and counters and defenses. As well as partial throws, so that people can avoid throwing someone on their head, because they practice both ways. They know the difference.

In BJJ, there probably isn’t all that much focus on the technique user protecting the training partner. The concept is more competitive, or more self orientated. You are practicing the technique to benefit your own power and skill, not to make sure the other guy can get back up at 100% 5 seconds later. That is why this isn’t just the 20 yo being reckless. The sport itself is centered on different priorities. Of course there are users who have spent time controlling themselves and they know what limit to put their techniques at based upon the other person’s reflexes and defenses. But if you are training for competition, you don’t have enough “reserve” to care about that in a spar. Which is why when someone brings that mentality to teaching, there’s a danger to any beginners. The experienced ones either avoid touching hands with that person, or they have their own defenses and “tap ready” mentality to go.

Try not to count on humans being infallible just because they are experienced. It’s the experienced ones that have holes in their mastery, that are hard to detect, not the 20 yos that want to win. The masters will sometimes have fun by not showing their skills at all, or smurfing as white belts. To them, the game and skill absorption is at a reserve where they can pull up the “game” of lowering their own attacks and abilities in response to the other person. They have enough reserve to do so without losing. This is the “Win at all costs, sweep the leg” philosophy vs “just by having fun, my skills increase”.

Explore posts in the same categories: Traditional Martial Arts

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