Friday, October 29, 2010

The Gentle Art

I've been whinging and griping for a while that I have a hard time remembering specific techniques and that I wished for more rules-based grappling. In other words, I'll forget the technique but with basic principles, I can reverse-engineer the technique according to the needs of the specific situation.

I know it probably gets old, but I'll encourage you again to check out Cane Prevost's blog The Gentle Art. Just a good solid breakdown of all the basics, from a rules standpoint. Reverse engineering heaven! :) For example, the 3 P model of teaching jiu jitsu... Posture, Pressure, Possibilities.

A little treat-- Stephan Kesting's 10 minute private on finishing the RNC. Really worth your time if you haven't seen it.

On my way to open mat now.


Megan said...

"basic principles, I can reverse-engineer the technique according to the needs of the specific situation"

Seriously, I'm in the same boat. I think I'd be...a good year ahead of where I am now if I'd been introduced top-down instead of bottom-up...but I'm thinking I'm in the minority...and that group classes are taught for the majority.

I'm going to try to start applying the principle to lapel chokes since the setups have too many steps to remember for someone with a jacked-up memory like mine. Might be something worth blogging.

Ariel said...

I sort of wandered over here from a perusal of Tangled Triangle. I just started BJJ in September and have been looking online for how other people "processed" their training because I have some trouble with absorbing what I learn too. I pay attention to our teacher's demo, but when I practice, I completely blank. So, I thought maybe I could share some long rambling commentary on what I think you're talking about here:

I took up lessons in Alexander Technique about 5 years ago as a way of troubleshooting my body after screwing up my lower back. If you google it, it sounds fluffy, but it's pretty standard curricula for music/theatre students. The basic idea is that every movement involves your entire body and the way to get the most power with the least amount of strain is to relax and let the "postural" muscles in charge of balance (mostly involuntary, I think) help with large movements. It's not a cure-all, but AT uses a sort of cascading if/then approach that really clicks for me. It starts with gross movement and then moves down to fine movements. It also cascades from head downward, with one of the basic ideas being that the joint at the top of the spine is the one that initiates every major movement. In general, applying some of these idea to BJJ has made the learning experience smoother.

I also suspect technique-based instruction is much easier to follow if you're a visual learner. My own strength is verbal memory: I remember written and spoken instructions best. Our teacher explains things during demos, but the visual is the real meat of the instruction…. So I follow up each class with a log of how-to's. If what I've learned doesn't have a name, I make a name up for it and append to that how-to as many situations as I can think of in which it would be applicable.

When I need to deal with a particular situation, the muscle-memory of the situation brings up the name of the situation in my head, which reminds me of the name of the move, and the name of the move reminds me of my particular written how-to. As soon as I start verbally walking myself through my how-to, all the physical bits that the words stand in for come up in my memory. When I do that enough, I can make the jump from muscle-memory of a situation to physically executing the move very quickly. It sounds long and drawn out, but it's the fastest way I have of committing a complex physical reaction to memory.

[/rambling commentary]