Principles: Henry Akins On ‘Connection’

Thought this was brilliant in case if anyone missed it:

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Cross-Sides Bottom: Evaluating Pressure

Thought I found the holy grail of cross-sides bottom by observing that when a person places their weight on you and you bridge into that direction they go flying. Of course the BJJ Gods were gracious the next sparring session when my coach placed ZERO weight on me, looking to counter off the first movement. This lead me into identifying several different pressures:

1) Body weight Pressure: Provided we have posture, this is where a directional bridge is going to move top player the most. All or most of their weight is off their knees and on your body:

2) Constrictive Pressure: I see Marcelo Garcia use this style of pressure a lot. Here the intent is leaving no space on either side of the body with arms squeezing the far side and knees up tight on the near side. There is a bit of weight on top, but not much. If the top player felt like a hippo on top with bodyweight pressure, this feels like an anaconda. Couldn’t find an instructional on this, but watch Marcelo’s pressure @ 2:03:

3) No Pressure: This requires a very high level skill, where your training partner has figured out counters for most if not all your counters and is waiting and baiting. I once read a post on a forum where the author described grappling John Danaher by saying the ‘right’ move was the ‘wrong’ move. How I interpret this now is you can use any move against some one if you know it’s coming, no matter how fundamentally text book sound it is.

There are a few ideas at least. There are more pressures and words to describe them, but the main thing is feeling the top player and adjusting your escape strategy accordingly. A squeezing arm as opposed to a loose arm looks the same from the outside, but the pressure and corresponding escape routes can be totally different.

In closing, where is the tension, body weight, and what is the top player looking for and/or trying to neutralize? Relax, feel a body and have fun. =)

Guard Passing: One Size Fits All Vs. Ideal Timing

It’s probably a natural tendency to want our favorite guard passes or positions to be one size fits all, swiss army knife propositions. The problem of course being the swiss army knife doesn’t do any one thing well, as it’s an emergency tool designed for patching things up enough to survive long enough to get home to real tools and more permanent fixes.

So, number one, relax enough to not fall in love with any one thing. =)

Number two, probably the foundation of mechanical understanding is the study of the ideal timing for specific guard passes, i.e. what is the ieal momentum, energy, and limb configuration for said move?

Another thing I’ve been thinking about in terms of momentum and energy, is pushing and pulling. To illustrate, unless we’ve gotten ourselves super tangled up and are being pushed and pulled at the same time, we can for example resist a push to confirm and increase it before using it as a sling shot to propel us around. Conversely, if pulled, we pull back first to help add more pressure to create momentum for us to go in.

In both the above cases, we’re using some one’s energy against them pro-actively.

Mindsets: Fluid Understanding

If your training partners are smart, they’re going to adapt and learn to counter what you’re doing, so even rolls with the same people are going to be different day to day. Such is the beauty of art and being involved in Jiu-Jitsu.

Conversely, there is a natural human tendency that if something works once, or worse still, has been our solid ‘go-to,’ it should always work! And if we can’t get it to work, we need to do it faster and harder!

Going with the idea in the post below, we can counter the above thinking in by being present enough in sparring to notice what is working and what isn’t in real-time, as understanding is process that is fluid to the degree we are awake as we roll.

Mindsets: Sensual Vs. Analytical Feedback

Kinda tripped out on how much I’ve been writing about mindsets, but it probably comes from being in a cycle where sparring reps are being prioritized.

Taking this further, in general it’s best to tackle mechanical, technical type thinking away from sparring, where for all intensive purposes we’re accessing the logical, analytical left side of the brain.

Sparring on the other hand is more of a right brained, creative and intuitive time where you’re in the moment and feeling the roll letting your body explore and gather information via the subconscious.

Mindsets: Having A Session

Having a pretty solid day on the mat Sunday, further reflection warranted the tendency of giving myself too much credit on a ‘good’ day and too little on a ‘bad’ one.

Who cares!

If I’m in my right mind I should be on the mat with my friends open to all levels of experience.

It’s not good or bad, but do, or did I approach training with an open heart?

Mindsets: Time, Goals, & Process

The problem with setting a time period for achieving goals is you haven’t gone through the process of arrival yet, much less in a healthy, balanced way.

To remedy this, you have let the process be what it is, focus on the the doing, and enjoy each step along the way. Two days, two months, or two years, who cares. =)

Mindsets: Less Is More

Another thing I’ve realized of late is I’m usually working on too much stuff at once which leads to an excited, cluttered mind and corresponding tension.

Working on mastery of a few things as opposed to many is easier, costs less, and feels better. =)