Thursday, May 7, 2009

On a Related Note...

I've been thinking about my last post and it reminded me of something. Continuing on that train of though concerning perception, there's a point where you need to question what you're looking for when you train. There's a common time, usually after yellow or green belt where the student knows enough to be confident in their abilities, but not enough experience to keep from getting over-confident. They start getting over confident and are sure they have a firm grasp of understanding what's happening as they continue to train. This can be a serious problem should their abilities get tested and the outcome not turn out as they expected. I'm no exception to this. When I was in the Marine Corps a lifetime ago, there used to be a class on grappling in one of the schools I attended. Everyone learns basic movements in boot camp from the Marine Corps Martial Arts program (MCMAP). Well I was sure I had an edge thanks to my Judo training (I think I was a green belt at the time). So I'm watching people and thinking to myself "Oh, that guy's weak on his back, that guy obviously doesn't know what he's doing" etc. When it comes my turn to grapple I can win the matches against people who'd never done any of this before, but the guys who were high school wrestlers, or significantly larger than me were wiping the floor with me. I had it in my head that my training must've failed me, or that it just didn't work outside of the rules structure of Judo matches themselves. There was a week long break in our training and I took that opportunity to return home for a few days, then the grappling class would resume for the next 2 weeks after I came back. So I show up at Pat's dojo, and start yelling at Pat, saying things like "this training doesn't work against wrestlers, I haven't learned anything" and so on. Pat patiently listens to me then says "well, let's do some randori and see if we can't figure it out" and promptly beats me mercilessly for an hour. After I was exhausted he simply said "You've forgotten your basics. You're not shrimping and you keep trying to make moves work." I went back and beat everyone in class including the instructor. I've told this story before, but there's another part of it I didn't emphasize the past time or two. When I went back, it wasn't my perception of techniques that changed. It was my immediate goals I altered. I didn't want to be the "best" anymore, I just wanted to be better than what I was. The only thoughts going through my head when actually grappling were "ok, here I am, now what?" I wasn't trying to get an armbar or a choke, I just concentrated on what WAS, and things just happened. I started trying not to lose instead of trying to win. My opponents would get so caught up in trying to beat me that they in turn would put themselves in a position where they might as well have taken my hands and just placed them around their neck. The point is, should you reach a point in your training where your training comes into question and you feel like you fail, think about what you were trying to achieve in the first place.


Patrick Parker said...


I like that story - and not just because it makes me sound like the wise guru on the mountaintop.

It could have been any of a number of people that brought that to your attention - bryce, andy, etc... But that doesn't siminish the message - that the meat of the system is in the basics and the fundamentals, and that your goals and your attention matter.

Great post! Keep it up.

I think you ought to catalog these great apocryphal stories on your blog.

John Wood said...

You mean make a folder or something that has my wise stories?

Andy said...

good stuff lately dude, i need to start taking notes from you.