Oh, boy, this will be a biggie, I think. (Pun unintended.)
I got this question from G-Stamp in response to a previous post:
"I rolled with a much smaller gal yesterday (blue belt). She had me in deep half guard and I couldn't extract my thigh to bring my knee outside of her thighs. I COULDN'T muscle it. So I applied a cross face and started to lay into her chin/neck a bit. I tried not to lean too hard or use too much weight. The goal was to apply just enough pressure to get her to let go of the deep half clinch so I could pass. She blurted..."TAP!" with a bit of an annoyed tone in her voice. I didn't attempt it as a submission and REALLY didn't realize I was muscling or using too much weight. In fact, I had backed off knowing that I could probably hurt her if not careful. I felt sooo bad. Unfortunately, a 220lb white belt doesn't have the slightest clue what it's like to have someone quite literally twice his weight bearing down.
Question for you: Is it offensive when a guy doesn't use size/weight advantage? Do you consider that "going easy"? Or is using weight distribution and strength to advance position or apply technique different than "muscling"? Is it all part of the game? It's not a sex thing. I try to be conscious of my height/weight advantage when I'm rolling with all classmates who are much smaller than me. Guy or gal."
Wow, such a good question. It's (for me) not entirely a gender issue, though I phrase things often in terms of "guys" only because I rarely get to roll with women who are significantly bigger or stronger than me. [Christy, our 3 stripe brown belt, IS significantly bigger, and probably stronger, but she's scrupulously attentive to not using strength, so I can't be sure about her comparative strength vs. me.] On the other hand, it's a truism that men have more muscle mass per unit of weight than women do, so even a man who is my weight will most likely have a significant strength advantage, so to some extent, it can be a gender issue. Wherever I say "guy," please know I really could be including bigger gals, too. And small guys have many of the same issues I do. So.. anyway...
To me, going easy is letting go of positions, or not getting into dominant positions, regardless of/independently of my efforts. I might be offended when a guy (or gal!) spontaneously gives me position or abandons his good position even though I haven't earned it. I earn things by executing the proper technique in proper timing. If I'm rolling with a guy/girl my level who weighs within 20 lbs of me, I fully expect that I will be able to escape their dominant position or submit them, fair and square, without any "handicapping" on their part.
If a guy is more than 20 lbs heavier than me, I do sometimes appreciate it when they refrain from doing knee-on-belly to the best of their ability, because the size differential plus the location of the pressure is something I sometimes can't defeat. So I am not offended when, in this situation, they put the shin across my hipbones, or put the ball of their foot on the ground a little bit. I am still often stuck there, but at least it's not excruciatingly painful. And I am never offended when a training partner of any size opts to avoid causing me gratuitous pain.
[Keep in mind I am strictly a sport jiu jitsu player-- so comments about how "it wouldn't go that way in a street fight" will be ignored.]
If a guy is more than 30-40 lbs heavier, I appreciate when they don't do "bullshit reversals." A bullshit reversal is, for example, benchpressing me off them from side control. (I know a guy wouldn't be able to get some guy their size up off them like that. I don't mind a fair reversal, one with technique, but just shoving me up because I'm lighter *and* they have more upper body strength gets annoying if I am holding side control properly and using technique.)
I am not offended when stronger men refrain from forcing americanas, kimuras, etc. if I am defending properly. At the same time, I know that even proper defense can be defeated with strength and that's fair, too. So it's a tough call, and therefore I don't get mad when someone beats my defenses. I tap, we move on, no biggie. I shouldn't be in a position where only the strength of my arms protects me from a submission because then I'm strengthing out of something, and that is poor technique even if it succeeds.
I dunno. I guess to summarize, when someone is close to me in size (which, since I'm realistic, means within 30 lbs of me, though I know guys consider that to be a big disparity) I fully expect them to use their weight distribution and strength to fully execute their moves and defeat mine, and I would definitely take advantage without feeling any guilt if they were to give me stuff I didn't earn. When I roll with someone I'm a little bigger or stronger than, which is rare, I do use my weight and strength to execute my moves, but technically. I don't just crank stuff.
When someone is way bigger than me, or if they're one of those ripped dudes with biceps like basketballs, I'm not offended if they give me a little extra space, exert less than their maximum force, etc. It's more fun if they let me in the game, otherwise I just end up turning hedgehog.
Bottom line, training rolls are rarely about "winning." (When they ARE, then I know I've let my ego get in the way, and I'd like to minimize that.) If someone strengths out of a submission I'm throwing, so be it. If they muscle out of position I've earned fair and square, oh well. Honestly most of the times I think someone muscled out, I immediately suspect it's my crappy technique and me making excuses for it. I definitely don't walk around with a chip on my shoulder insisting people roll with me as hard as they can go. I have nothing to prove. :)
What do ya'll think??