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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:31 pm
by Graham Cox

There, I've said it. Specifically, submission wrestling on the ground. Both players vying for arm bars and pins and those damn strangles that mostly rely on the nature of the outfit we wear to train. Yawn.

Actually, it's not that I hate it. It's just that I don't think it's properly jiu jitsu.

See, if we spent our regular training sessions foregoing punches and weapons in favour of gripping up and wrestling, then everyone would say, "Hey, isn't that judo?". That's not what we do: we defend from attacks, and although the techniques are the same, we're specialised in a different kind of execution to judoka.

Same on the ground. Sitting back to back like duellists is very different from the uke/tori training that we are used to when on our feet.

Ground 'n' pound on the other hand I TOTALLY LOVE. Uke holding down tori with one hand and striking with the other, so that tori has something interesting to defend from: this is what makes sense to me in jiu jitsu. Suddenly the technique execution becomes much less about size and much more about what you do with the attack you're facing. Just like it does when we're on our feet.

That's the kind of 'groundwork' I tend to teach (when I need a lie down). Full disclosure: that's mostly because when it comes to judo, my primary specialism is being folded up like a deck chair. Even so, focusing on creating space to strike and stand, or turning uke's strike into an armbar, seems to me as 'real' as a cosh disarm or a throw. Whereas training within the constraints of 'no striking, no standing' feels unreal and theoretical to me.

So, here's hoping that if we start fitting in more groundwork as an organisation, that we can 'keep it real'.

Re: Groundwork

PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:19 am
by Alan Chappell
Aren't there things to learn about movement, use of body weight, where to apply weight etc .... that might add understanding that can applied to the 'more real' situation? Perhaps things that might be missed or even ignored for the quick wins when 'keeping it real', but that might enhance your technique and ability under those circumstances?
And doesn't it offer a (relatively) 'safe' way of learning some of those things?
As well as providing a (relatively) safe way for some people who may never have had close physical contact with others, especially on the ground which for some can be quite psychologically daunting, to get used to the feel of somebody on top of you and shoving sweaty bits where you really don't want them - so the shock of the keeping it real is dissipated somewhat.
So, for me, maybe it's about both and getting the balance right.

Re: Groundwork

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 11:00 am
by Luke Bale
For me Judo is a fantastic base to introduce students to the principles of ground work. Once students understand these principles we then want to try and build in the Jiujitsu elements. Specifically, 30 second pins aren't all that effective if the attacker has friends and your all tied up on the floor.

When me and Stu did a little MMA we found their style very interesting, they would get a hold, put in a strike, and move to the next hold so they were constantly moving around the body using distractions and weakeners and rarely staying in one position which I think fits in more to where we want to be. This also encourages our students to move away from sitting in kesa gatame while somebody struggles underneath for what seems like an eternity and nobody is learning anything.

Ideally in the future I'd like to work on awareness and being able to get to your feet quickly or at least be in a kneeling position opposed to making yourself vulnerable whilst applying a hold.

Re: Groundwork

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:45 pm
by Alan Chappell
Agreed - but we are always very clear about not doing judo as self defence - we never say that a groundwork hold is part of defence, and we do make it clear that jiu jitsu doesn't play to judo rules.

Re: Groundwork

PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:00 pm
by Graham Cox
No disagreement from me with what has been said so far, although I stand by my earlier remarks :)

My experience of learning groundwork within Aiuchi as well as previous jiu jitsu clubs was that even though we always state that self defence and jiu jitsu are not constrained by judo rules, I have regularly been taught approaches which are well suited to judo but not ideal for jiu jitsu. As one example, I was often taught that when a fight ends up in the guard position, then the person blocked by guard is in the weaker position than the person whose back is to the floor. I now see this disadvantage as an artefact of judo rules which prevent striking; once those rules are gone then the person on the floor is still in the stronger wrestling position, but is very exposed to game-changing groin and stomach strikes. Outside of judo, guard is often considered neutral, because both parties are strong in one regard and exposed in another. I have yet to hear this view articulated by another instructor - although that's not to say that this isn't being taught by some, I have only my own experience to go by.

Guard work is far from the only example, based on what I have seen in both club training and national events. My point is that even though judo has a lot to give to the student of ground based jiu jitsu, I believe that an over focus on orthodox judo created a significant blind spot in my own training for many years, and I believe my experience is widely reflected by others'. This problem is particularly compounded by the practice of sitting back to back and spinning into a judo ground duel in order to 'test' groundwork. This competitive scenario with sport-based rules becomes the one that we all want to learn how win - in my view at the expense of drilling important aspects such as creating appropriate distances for striking and for recovery to a standing position.

Re: Groundwork

PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:15 pm
by Luke Bale
I agree about guard, not only is it weak from a self defense perspective but it leaves very few options to move anywhere else other than a possible triangle choke, this often results in a stalemate where nobody makes progress.

Dave pointed out to me long ago the importance of creating space and moving backwards in order to turn your opponent and using guard as a last resort.

I think the real problem is instructors are as good as their training. I have never done judo so my groundwork is pieced together from limited experience.

Re: Groundwork

PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:05 pm
by Keith Cooper
I agree with you all. :)

I think there is a home for some aspect of it in aiuchi, but that might not be what it has previously looked like, and might be closer to the MMA/bjj stuff than judo.

If you want a giggle, try groundwork a la 'thunder dome'. i.e. ground work but add a knife just out of reach of the parties. Do they go for it or not? Do they notice it? What do they do if they get it? Now that is entertainment. And there are probably lessons to learn, too.