Thursday, September 19, 2013

Stand up straight!

            A few nights ago I wasn't feeling 100% but said I would go to this night class at the BJJ academy so I decided to attend but observe. The BJJ guys were doing randori (rolling) starting from a standing position. Most of the night classes are no gi classes for the more MMA attuned guys and everyone that was there started from a low wrestler stance. I have been working with the instructor for a few classes and trying to get him to straighten his posture and even he was sinking really low. After class I spoke with him about it and got a response of "well, I judo stance is fine for gi, but for no gi you need a wrestler stance so the guy doesn't shoot in on you." I went home, starting looking up some videos, reading some forums and generally seeking popular opinion. Popular opinion is you need to stay low but I also came across one guy saying popular opinion on stances changes about every 10 years or so.
            I starting thinking about the benefits and disadvantages to both and from what I can surmise (and please leave comments if I am wrong or you have something to add as I have little experience with wrestling myself), is that in a wrestling stance your hips are low and away so it makes it hard for your opponent to shoot in on you but your torso is extended forward so you lose mobility in the process. In a Judo stance your hips are right under you so you maximize your mobility but if your opponent is lower and within reach you may get your legs picked. After asking around and giving it some thought I came up with 1 solution, Pat had another solution (or piece that could be added on), and Nick in his infinite wisdom had already posted a video on youtube with yet another way of dealing with it. My solution was to stand sugar footed (one leg closer than the other to your opponent) and keep an eye on distance while just giving him my wrists but keeping him out of reach of my legs. Pat suggested the first 4 wrist releases of honasu (which works great for when they grab your wrists), and nick suggested just bending the knees.
          The next class I was at I did all 3 and they all worked beautifully. The wrestler guys get so fixated on my legs they just leave my upper body alone and over-extend themselves. When they do grab and lean on me turning away and tossing them the direction they are leaning is really easy. The only caveat is they are good at taking small steps to attempt to close that distance to get at your legs so pay attention to that. I'll be experimenting with that more in the coming weeks. Any pointers, hints, tips, cheats, experiments, comments, questions, or suggestions would be welcome. 


Patrick Parker said...

i haven't ever met your buddies so I don't know the personality dynamic there, but if you want to have partners to play with you might not want to make it a crusade to change their posture.

posture is a crazy personal thing, deeply related in weird ways to who we think we are and how we feel about ourselves. Some folks might perceive a well-intended posture suggestion as a personal attack.

similar thing with rolling forms - like whether we land cross-legged or not. We have our reasons for teaching what we teach, but in the past when I've tried to correct some folks that learned the other way, I've gotten some push-back, so I tend to tell and explain 2-3 times and then let them take my advice or not as long as folks are playing safely.

John Wood said...

In that case, what do I do when it's time for a yellow belt test? I am ok with a student using him arms to muscle an Osoto gari to make it work since in time that can be smoothed out, but one of the students who says he really wants to be ranked can not do kouchi gari with how he stands. The timing just is not there even with a compliant uke. There's plenty of time before test time, but do I fail him if he can't throw that during a test if it's due to posture or him being flat-footed when I didn't harp on it?

Patrick Parker said...

that's sort of a tightrope you have to walk as a teacher.

as for failing them on rank tests - i solve that in a couple of ways -

1) despite what my general guidelines for time in grade say, i never "test" someone until I know for certain they will pass.

and 2) i wouldn't fail someone for blowing one of their rank-level throws. my guideline on that is they should be able to do 4 of the 5 rank-level throws pretty good with a compliant uke and maybe even moderate coaching - and they should be getting better on prior material.

4/5 or 80% is a common standard passing grade for real serious life-or-death knowledge and skills, like AHA First Aid and CPR.

And who knows- these guys may just not be cut out to be ashiwaza specialists - but they might end up being the most amazing koshinage guys (or something) the world has ever seen - so why deprive the world of a future master b/c they cant do kosotogari when they are yellow belts? ;-)

and i'm not saying youre doing anything wrong in your teaching - just dropping hints and telling how I do things.

John Wood said...

Oh I appreciate your advice Pat. Testing is an area I'm still very green in. An 80% rule sounds like a good rule to me. I never take what you say as critical, only as helpful hints.

Patrick Parker said...

hows the judo training going?

John Wood said...

Well the BJJ instructor left town for a couple of weeks and the Judo guy in that class was also out of town, but tomorrow is Aikido day and Sat morning I plan on doing some Judo with a few people. Did Andy tell you about his new Aikido class?

Patrick Parker said...

yeah, andy (finally) told me about his excellent aikido class chock full of awesome students doing excellent work - two weeks after they started,