Monday, December 4, 2017

"Let's See If That's True!"

Last week Professor Sauer taught the mixed level Jiu-Jitsu class Monday night at his school in Herndon, VA. I took the Fundamentals class at 6 pm and decided to stay for Professor's session. We spent time addressing a position Professor had been asked about during his recent seminar tour.

The position isn't that important for this post, but it involved escaping a foe on your back. He has hooks in, ready to apply a rear naked choke. To make matters worse the opponent traps one of your arms, using his leg. We practiced escaping when the opponent traps your right arm.

Professor showed how to escape the situation. Basically, fall to your left side to avoid getting your right arm caught under your opponent. Use your right leg against his right arm to help free your trapped arm. Finish with a variation of the normal curriculum escape to eventually achieve side control or mount.

The end of the instruction had the most impact on me, however. As he has done many times during class, Professor ended by saying "Let's see if that's true!" In other words, go practice the escape. Collaborate with your partner until he learns the motions. Then, start adding resistance. Perhaps you will find that you cannot use the escape, for whatever reason. The point is that Jiu-Jitsu is not performance art. You eventually have to be able to use it against a fully resisting opponent.

We got a chance to do that in the next phase of training. Professor separated the white and blue belts from the other belts. The higher belts took the floor, and Professor told the white and blue belts to take the high belts' backs, trap an arm, and try to choke them. The high belts had to use the new technique to escape the situation.

You could argue that the high belts should have tried their escape against an equivalent belt. I don't necessarily think that's required to make the point. The important element of this experience is that both sides could test the effectiveness of Jiu-Jitsu against resisting adversaries. Each could make adjustments to try to improve their performance.

This ability to work within a "Jiu-Jitsu laboratory," as Professor sometimes says, is one of my favorite aspects of this style of martial arts.

Have you experienced this phenomenon in practice? Let me know here on on Twitter!

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