February 14, 2012

Building the Better Grappler

Normally Scranton MMA articles focus on ways to help you tap other people or methods to employ to make it more difficult for others to tap you out. The advice of this article is different, this advice will result in you getting tapped out MORE OFTEN but you’ll be a better grappler because of it. Don’t get mired down by your ego: accept ahead of time that you are going to get tapped out as a result of following this advice and rest assured with the knowledge that it will only improve your game!

Show your students and training partners everything! Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately it is all too common at training centers across the country for instructors to hold back things from a student. Whatever the reason for this it is foolish! In fact it should be the norm to provide your students and training partners all the tools they need to tap you out, counter all of your favorite techniques, pass your guard, and even shut down your entire game. Why? This will force you to evolve your grappling: you will have to develop new setups for your favorite techniques, develop new favorite techniques, discover counters to the counters you have shared, and generally accelerate your game to a whole new level.

Case: You are a brown belt. You have a wicked half-guard. No one passes it. You sweep or submit everyone that encounters it. Recently a sparring partner, a blue belt, asks for a way to combat this half guard terror. The partner is perfectly suited for the Brabo choke – strong, lanky arms and a long torso; if he catches you or anyone in this choke it will most likely be lights out. The question becomes do you teach it to him?

Certainly! For a fact if you teach it to him and he keeps on practicing he WILL eventually catch you with it. Will it suck getting caught by a lower rank? Yes. Will it suck to get caught in a choke you taught him yourself? Yes. What then is the silver lining?  The upside to this scenario is that if he is always attacking you with the Brabo choke then your awareness of this submission as well as the counters to this submission will improve exponetially.  Therefore when you enconter an opponent of your level at a tournament you will have already been exposed to the dangers of the situation a thousand times in practice. It is by far more preferable getting caught in class while sparring with a friend, than in a competition battling against an opponent!