Friday, April 12, 2013

The Primordial

This clip was on the Ross Training website.
One of Marcelo Garcia's points, that got picked up on Ross's site, is that if you want to get good at wrestling, then spend time wrestling ... In other words, pretty much everything that needs to be trained can be found within the sport itself - including strength training and conditioning .... not that you can't do other things ... but perhaps the main focus should stay on the thing itself. No argument there.

Interestingly, I saw something else in the video, something that struck me as even more useful ...

I saw 2 guys practicing the part of the fight that happens the most - the part where both are vying for position but no one has succeeded in finishing. No one has won yet .. or even gotten the opportunity to do so, but both are working on finding it.

Their random flow drill is simplified into one guy trying to get the sweep, the other the pass.
MG demonstrates it 2 ways - One low risk way, playing it safe and giving nothing away, and the other more active way, where he is taking greater risks (because he is putting more energy into the system that can be used by his opponent) but seeing where he succeeds and where he does not.

This is a fabulous pairing of drills in my opinion, spent exploring a place where many spend the least time. The tendency is to practice what works, the win, the score ... and not spend enough time here, in the 'soup', practicing having things not quite work, and finding a save, or the recycle, into the next try.

The fact that he separates the two tactically different mindsets is fabulous ... See what 'playing' safe gets you ... and then check what not playing safe does ....
The two parts could also be thought of as conserving energy using only what the other guy gives you (closing doors), or creating movement by putting energy into the system yourself (opening doors).

The physical experience of this training, like any random flow, gets the information drilled into the body until the parameters of possibility, and the risks worth taking, become understood.

It is easy to see how these drills are possible from contact, in a grappling format for instance, and Sonny's Eskrima has variations on this also, empty hand, and with weapons ... But it is also possible BEFORE contact. Perhaps this is harder to see, but it is exactly the same stuff - It is testing how to set the opponent up, and to make openings that one can take advantage of without putting oneself into a losing position ... all my favorite stuff, the 'chess' of the game - faking, baiting, freezing etc

I reckon the lack of time spent in the soup is one of the greatest failings of many traditional systems. I have seen enough clips on Youtube of sport fighters wiping the ground with traditionally trained guys, to know that this is the piece that is missing from the training.  This has led to mistaking the material and techniques for being at fault, but I reckon it's more likely the lack of soup in the training itself.

Bagua, for instance, has great fighting strategies, and ways it understands timing, power generation, traps, locks and throws .... but a tiny minority of folks that can pull it off against a trained kick boxer or similar .... Not because the ideas are bad, but because the practitioners have never learned how to insert the cool things they know into chaos .... especially from pre contact distance. They don't understand why or when things work ... or do not, having always been GIVEN the opportunities to 'win' in training. Real opponents are just not that generous.

Kick boxers and others who practice ring sports do that kind of training all the time. They know how to avoid telegraphing their strikes, how to test and harass the opponent, how to break their timing and to jam their techniques. They also know how to avoid giving opportunities away, so the person who has spent all their time practicing against GIVEN opportunities can never find them or make them happen.

Of course there is context ... many trad systems were not meant for sport fighting ... but still .... it is obvious that there is a hole in the method, at least in my opinion, and chaotic and random drills, like in the video, can work to bring the 'when' and the 'how' in alignment with the 'what'.

Time to create some soup recipes ....

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