Sunday, December 24, 2006

More Language

Sometimes I hear beginners say that they can’t do any of the moves they learn on anyone during sparring. Sure they can do them during drills but not with someone actually resisting and fighting back! So, in going back to the analogy of language, you can learn a foreign language in a classroom and have “conversations” with your teacher. But to really start to understand the language you have to go out and interact with someone speaking back to you (like visiting the native country of the language)…but then you realize that the people don’t respond “the way they are supposed to” so you’re not sure what they are saying or what you are supposed to say next. It is the same as rolling in jiu jitsu…when you’re trying to do a move and your partner isn’t responding the same way as in the drill, they aren’t letting you do your move! So, in the same way, it’s really about mat time or in the analogy, spending time in the native country! It's walking out into a foreign country only knowing a few word and phrases from the audio tape lesson you listened to on the plane. In both cases, the more you practice with real live partners and learn how to work with unpredictable responses, the more you learn how to react to different situations. In language, as in jiu-jitsu, you learn to automatically and appropriately respond. Only practice will help you to learn more and better responses for more and more situations.


2Old said...

I find it hard to pull off a move we just drilled, since while we are drilling at my gi academy, we are also inevitably starting to "feel" points were we might try to counter the move later.

Also, jiu jitsu seems to involve an element of surprise - push left then pull right, do the unexpected, but trying to implement moves learned that class doesn't have that "element of surprise."

Of course when you have drilled enough moves, and tried them out at random times, then it's like taking the language out of the classroom and onto the street. Humbling at first, but when parts finally work, awfully gratifying....

But I get the larger point you make - that "laboratory" work is controlled and protected, but doesn't count for much unless you can transport the lab results to a productive assembly line! Being technically good during a drill isn't nearly as satisfying as speeding it up, losing some fine points, but making it work against a resisting opponent on the mat. (And in bjj, opponents REALLY resist!)

In my last no-gi instructional with D., I opted out of "drilling" in favor of more "rolling," just because there was getting to be too much of a "disconnect" between my improvement in drilling and my stagnation in rolling.

D. was able to pause periodically to give me tips, and run through a failed move in slo-mo so I could try to remember it better. This learning on the fly, against a strategically resisting instructor, was very neat...and I know that whatever he was applying against me was the "real thing," not the blend of real technique and crappling (but you can't tell which part is which) which I often experience with fellow white belts at my gi academy.

What I've learned the most (I start my sixth month of training at the end of this week) so far, is that you have to WANT to learn, and you have to accept that at the beginning you are really a newbie, a baby.

Bartzy said...

I finally get it!!! During a training session last week, moves I had only been able to drill over and over again, but never really do in sparring, came to life...I was amazed how my body just moved into certain positions and began to take over. I felt the move, wondered if it was correct, but I kept going through it, to end in a tap out, not once but twice.

I finally got it, that the mat time does come together to formulate the moves with your opponent and presents you with options.

I feel like such a newbie having said those very same words about not being able to do it, but time did justice to the techniques.
And I am looking forward to applying those drills a little more each time and perhaps being surprised at the outcome of my body's movements into techniques.

Kei said...

I know it verrrrrrry well...

I visited some insane foreign country outside the world map the other day and tried to communicate with this guy. I mean, a back-and-forth conversation, I planned; however, he kept gunning his words @ me til someone yelled, " Stop talking!!" and pulled him away.


I just might go back to that crazy land again...who knows. ;)

2Old said...

Off topic, but I just got the book and its good:

I don't know about mma, but the book looks great for standup work for no-gi, an area (among many!) in which I am sadly lacking.

Jimmy said...

I just spaz around until I get my way, and I always get my way.

MD said...

Thank you for that post - it explains it so well to me.
I love drilling something and the feeling I get when I really "get it", but then when I try it out during sparring, it doesn't seem to work.
That's because when I am drilling, I am mimicking the moves, but its never going to work during sparring until I adapt it to become my own.
Just like with speaking a different language - you have to adapt what you know the best you can to make it work.