During the last few Judo classes at Scranton MMA we have focused on teaching our students how they should be training. It is not enough to just teach techniques during our Judo class. The instructors at Scranton MMA feel it is just as important that we teach our students how to train. There are certain methods, strategies, attitudes and tactics that will help you get more out of your training. At the same time there are many things that can dramatically slow down your progress.

Some people will try to encourage the use of strength and overpowering of your opponent or partner throughout the entire Judo class. This makes sense to some people. They think that if they have the strength they should use it and practice using it over and over. At Scranton MMA we instead focus on technique during our practice sessions. First it is important to realize that strength is important. No one is ever upset if they are stronger than their opponent in a Judo tournament or in a self defense situation. However, you must realize that while you are on that mat it is far more beneficial to focus on your technique and prioritize the technical aspect above everything else. Strength should be primarily focused and trained off the mat not during valuable class time when you are surrounded by instructors and great training partners. This is the only time you have to get feedback from your instructors, try out your new techniques or perfect your favorite technique. Take advantage of it. Do not waste that valuable time trying to show off your strength or impress your instructors or training partners with your strength or win by over powering your partners during sparring. This strategy will backfire on you time and time again. Everyone has seen someone stronger. Everyone has seen someone better. Instead focus on improving your technique at all costs. Try to practice using as little strength as possible. Focus instead on timing, body position, angles of attack and all the technical aspects rather than relying on strength to be effective.

A lot of people will spend most of their training time working their favorite moves or submissions while neglecting to work out of a bad situation. At Scranton MMA we constantly focus on escapes, counters and strategies that will get you out of a bad situation. It is very important to be prepared for the worst situation that can occur in a Judo match, fight or self defense situation. If you never expose yourself to this type of training inside of the academy you will not be fully prepared for it when it happens outside of the academy. You constantly need to put yourself in a bad position or situation. You should always strive to improve your ability to work from a bad situation, to turn a negative to a positive or to just escape and get back to a neutral position. There is nothing wrong with purposefully putting yourself into a pin or allowing your partner to take a dominant grip and work from that position. This is the best way to make sure you will get plenty of practice working your escapes, counters and strategies that will save you if you are ever put in this situation when it matters most.

Another aspect that we have been teaching recently is the art of combinations. There are many mistakes that people will make when they start to work combinations and it is important that we stay on top of or ahead of these mistakes. The most common mistake people make when practicing combinations is that they basically just fake or feint the first attack. They do not apply the first technique with 100% commitment, intensity or confidence. This can be the last mistake you ever make in a Judo match. If you do not apply the first technique properly or if you expect it to fail you will not force your opponent to defend the attack. If you opponent does not defend you will not be creating an opportunity which you can capitalize on. It is very important that whenever you practice combinations that you apply the first technique 100% and that your partner escapes in the same manner your opponent would in a match. Only then are you properly preparing yourself for the action reaction series that will actually occur. If you just fake a move and expect a skilled opponent to react you are fooling yourself. It is very important that the training situation, pace and tempo matches what will occur in a Judo tournament. This takes a very dedicated team to pull off. BOTH partners need to be focused and willing to expend lots of energy both in the attacks and the defense in order for BOTH parties to benefit from the training.

These are just a few of the strategies we have been teaching during our recent Judo classes. We are very lucky to have some great students and coaches on the mat to allow us to implement these strategies. Training in this manner allows all of us to improve much more efficiently than if we did not have such a great team.