UnderGround Forums
 

Jen >> Rickson seminar - Bolo, thoughts?


9/18/09 3:07 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
None So Blind
205 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 10407
 

Bolo, this was posted by forum member setree on another thread, he gave his permission to re-post it here.

As I read it, I was struck by how similar it sounds to your discussions of body alignment and BJJ, I thought you might find it interesting to pick apart one way or the other...

C&P starts here:

BJJ has always been taught to me as a series of techniques.  I thought that those techniques were BJJ.

Rickson's seminar was also a series of techniques.  But what he was showing was so simple.  He was showing you the techniques that you learned on the first day.  He showed the upa.  He showed the elbow escape.  He showed standing in base.  There was no mistaking his demonstrations for anything other than what they were: demonstrations.  He demonstrated connection, structure, and neutrality.

BJJ is NOT a series of techniques.  BJJ is what you learn through the practice of these techniques.

Regarding connection, he presented situations where people either missed connections to thier opponent or connections to the ground.  It's amazingly simple really when you think about it, but if I want to move something, I need to solidly touch it and I need to solidly touch something else immovable.  In the case of grappling, obviously, the mat is this immovable object.   (For example, if you wanted to move a large safe, you wouldn't try to grab it from the sides; you'd put your hands firmly on the face.  And you'd have a whole lot better chance of moving it if you could find something else to push yourself against; like if it was close to a wall you could plant yourself against.)

On structure, the human body is just built to be strong is some directions and weak in others.  You have to find ways to use it in the ways that it is strong.  Moving seamlessly from one strong point to another strong point.  A weak structure in your movements will collapse no matter how strong the structure was in the positioning before or after the weak point.

Neutrality is my word for it.  Rickson called it "the middle." It's positioning yourself in positions that allow you to respond in all directions, to respond to both push and pull.

Rickson didn't so much say so much about any of these things.  These are my words for what I felt.

These days I spend less time thinking about new moves and more time thinking about why some of my moves are strong and some of my moves are weak.  I spend time trying to discern the differences between them, whether it be connections, structure, neutrality, or some other element of juijitsu that I'm yet to comprehend.

9/18/09 4:10 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Bolo
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 5994
The person who wrote this said, "Rickson didn't so much say so much about any of these things. These are my words for what I felt." As I had mentioned in the past, I believe this talk about alignment and structure will eventually be the trend in BJJ. The only difference is that my background allows me to explain it in a bit more concrete and scientific manner.

I am nowhere close to the skill level of masters like Rickson, however, on a mental level, I feel that I am slowly heading towards the direction which people like him have gone. I don't see BJJ as techniques anymore, but rather principles with techniques only being examples of principles in a particular instance in time. For me, movement is being less about step 1, step 2, etc..., but rather about feel- the feel of alignment and structural strength in your own body, the feel of the force and energy in your opponent's body. Lastly, that the success or failure in BJJ is less about what techniques you know, but rather your mental and emotion state that dictates what actions you take or do not take.

I think a lot of people think and hope that they will get closer to Rickson's level is they just knew the techniques and details he knew. Personally, I believe those people are on the wrong track as I don't think the answer is solely on the physical level.
9/18/09 4:19 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
None So Blind
205 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 10411
It really puts a new perspective on things for me to consider that line that he says BJJ is not a bunch of moves, but rather the understanding of what's going on within the moves...

Kinda like what I've heard my current instructor say - he does lots of competition, and he has noted that his instructor once jokingly ribbed him after a tourney win by saying, "Where the heck did you learn *that* move? I didn't teach you that one!" To which he responds, "You taught me the principles, and knowing those principles, I put 2 and 2 together right at that moment in time in the match, and that move happened almost by itself."

He, too, has said he can spot a "technician" (someone who knows encyclopedias full of moves but has relatively poor understanding of the principles underlying them) fairly quickly once he rolls with them.
9/18/09 4:47 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Setree
43 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 10/28/08
Posts: 149
Can we then turn this in to discussion about those principles?

What can we identify? Can we put them in words? Can we give examples of them?

For example, I believe I'm ready to identify another principle in "yielding." I've had instructors use the phrase "yield to win" before, and I can see this principle in action in my own game and clips of others. A recently posted clip of Pedro shows him talking about and demonstrating his yielding to a butterfly hook. This "yielding" is what makes you feel like water flowing around a rock.

Can we agree to yielding as a principle? Can we agree on the others?

If so, the list here on this thread reads:
Connection
Structure
Neutrality
Yielding

What do you have to say about those I've identified?

What are some of the others you can identify?
9/18/09 5:25 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Setree
43 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 10/28/08
Posts: 151
Of course, there are also connections between principles. ie, building structure between connections and finding neutrality within that structure... etc...

You can't imagine how excited I am to possibly hear like minded thinking on these issues.
9/18/09 5:34 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Bolo
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 5995
The principles I think about are more along the lines of postural alignment, physics, and biomechanics.
9/18/09 7:51 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
m.g
35 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6292
I've been saying this for years. I mean, I've been saying Bjj, in my view, was nothing more than movements that have a purpose or function and that Bjj techniques were merely movements that followed a principle. I've said this in regards to Bjj mostly because I truly believe Bjj is like any other physical activity and all physical activities can be understood in the language of "movement". And movement, in and of itself, can be categorized as efficient or inefficient.

It is interesting how the same principle Bolo mentioned applies to ALL physical activities.

I also believe people learn and master physical activities through their physical senses (please note the plural).
9/18/09 8:34 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Bolo
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Edited: 09/18/09 8:39 PM
Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 5996
Here's an interesting thing in regards to it being applied to all physical acitivites.....

As the awareness of my body increased, I noticed that when I swam, my swimming form/technique naturally changed. My freestyle used to be extremely ugly and inefficient. Rather than cutting through the water, I felt like I was slapping the water really hard. I'm not saying a swim coach couldn't improve my form, but I found it very interesting how my body intuitively changed.

Along those similar lines, when the alignment of my body improved, I felt that my running form/technique naturally improved. Prior to improving the alignment of my body, my running form was horrible. The more aligned my body became, the more I intuitively began to understand what efficient movement felt like.

Let me also add that, in my opinion, a lack of awareness of your own body will limit your ability to feel what is happening in someone else's body.
9/19/09 2:43 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Setree
43 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 10/28/08
Posts: 152
Bolo - The principles I think about are more along the lines of postural alignment, physics, and biomechanics.


But those aren't principles; they are fields.  Obviously everything we do in this world is constrained by physics.  Everything we do with our bodies is constrained by biomechanics.  And while I feel you might be getting a little more specific in postural alignment, it's still very much vague in focus.

While I do believe BJJ comes from keeping your body most efficient and your opponents body most inefficient, that doesn't say a whole lot in achieving this goal.  I'm interested in specifics.

9/19/09 7:33 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
cdog1955
5 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Edited: 09/19/09 10:00 AM
Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 992
"I don't see BJJ as techniques anymore, but rather principles with techniques only being examples of principles in a particular instance in time. "YES!!
9/19/09 2:51 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
m.g
35 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6294
Setree,

You're right in saying that postural alignment, physics, and biomechanics are three fields of study which contain concepts and principles. None of these fields of study are principles in and of themselves.

I guess in order to be specific in regards to principles one would have to first explain a given prinicple and then give a tangible example of how the principle works in a given technique, movement etc.
9/19/09 3:51 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Setree
43 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 10/28/08
Posts: 155
 m.g,

That's exactly where I would like to see this conversation go!
9/19/09 3:55 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Bolo
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6000
Yes, what m.g. said is correct and that is what I mean.
9/19/09 10:16 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
tysaw
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 913
It is interesting that Scott Sonnon said this on this very forum several years ago and got tar/feathered for it. Yes, Bolo/MG et al are correct. The Russians have used this approach for many years in vitually all their sports prep.

Cool discussion with lots of great points made. Thanks everyone.
9/20/09 1:32 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
cincibill
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 5/21/06
Posts: 345
Mike,

Several years a ago I had first heard talk of connection, structure, neutrality, etc. from someone that had considerable training with Rickson. My assumption was that this specific instructor just had a good knack for describing things, I didn't realize this was taught to him in this manner by Rickson.

Did Joe teach these concepts directly and did he use this terminology?
9/20/09 1:48 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
cincibill
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 5/21/06
Posts: 346
m.g.

I had to cheat and wiki "physical senses" just to be sure: hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste.
9/20/09 2:57 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Bolo
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6001
Haven't you seen Joe's videos? You should know that Joe can barely speak English even after all these years in the US. :)
9/23/09 12:43 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
cincibill
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 5/21/06
Posts: 348
No disrespect intended, but what and how did Joe teach? How did he communicate timing, strategy, unique situational differences, etc.
9/23/09 3:24 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Bolo
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6006
Joe, or any other instructor I've had, never addressed things like timing, strategy, etc... If it was mentioned, it was just that- mentioned rather than taught. These were things that I figured out on my own.
9/23/09 3:37 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
m.g
35 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6299
In my opinion I think concept like timing, strategy, etc are hard to teach because they can be very abstract. One can be shown examples of timing or strategy but, in my opinion, both of those concept are very dynamic and cannot be fully captured or explain in a few physical moves. It like rhythm. Rhythm can be demostrated and explain to a certain degree but neither demostration or explanation can fully capture all that rhythm is.

I think a big part of growth and development in any physical activity/sport is intuitively using and understanding the intangible concepts like timing, strategy and rhythm.
9/24/09 11:11 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
cincibill
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 5/21/06
Posts: 349
m.g.
Given your formal education in sport sciences, what do you feel is the role of an instructor of a sport, like a jiu-jitsu instructor?
9/25/09 11:46 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
None So Blind
205 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 10431
m.g - In my opinion I think concept like timing, strategy, etc are hard to teach because they can be very abstract. One can be shown examples of timing or strategy but, in my opinion, both of those concept are very dynamic and cannot be fully captured or explain in a few physical moves. It like rhythm. Rhythm can be demostrated and explain to a certain degree but neither demostration or explanation can fully capture all that rhythm is.

I think a big part of growth and development in any physical activity/sport is intuitively using and understanding the intangible concepts like timing, strategy and rhythm.

Even simpler - try to teach someone how to ride a bike just by using words, or having them watch other people ride a bike. Just make sure they have a helmet on first :-P

It has to be felt to be learned....
9/26/09 8:27 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
m.g
35 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6300
Cinibill,

My feeling about the role of an instructor of a sport, like a jiu-jitsu instructor, is this:

I believe a sports instructor has to approach teaching a sport in a way that is both natural and practical.

In my opinion most, if not all, sports and physical activities (including Jiujitsu) have a very strong "self-learning", "self-training", "self-discovery" element to it which is often very informal. In my opinion, in sports and physical activities, people aren't so much taught, by someone, what to do, as much as they learn, for themselves, what do to.

It is interesting how most athletes in most sports already had a impressive level of skill in their chosen sport (from years of informal play and physical activity) well before they even began any formal instruction and training under an instructor or coach.

When a coach or instructor has a student or athlete who already has some skill (again derived and developed from years of informal play and physical activity) than it is easy (or I should say easier) for the coach/instructor to "further" the athlete/student's skills and ability. In such a case the coach simply plays the role of refiner.

BUT if the student/athlete has never been involved in the sport/physical activity then it becomes much harder for the coach/instructor. Because the student has nothing reference and relate to and everything for the student is "abstract".

Like NSB (Not So Blind) stated, much of what one learns, in terms of physical activities and sports, has to be "felt" and obviously understood physically. Which means the student has to know his or her body physically. And to do that the student internalize everything in terms of body control, body awareness, and body mechanics.

In my opinion a coach/instructor of a sport/physical activity ought to "guide" his or her students in the sport or physical activity by providing alot of opportunites for the student to "discover" how to move their own bodies in such a way that it is an efficient and effective instrument and expression of the sport/physical activity.
9/30/09 3:01 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Bolo
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6009
Strategy is abstract, however, if you are given enough concrete examples, you begin to understand the general idea. The problem I found is that since it is abstract, many instructors don't even both with giving examples and figure that it is something that you will eventually figure out on your own.

With many of my more advanced students, I address lot about the mental aspect of BJJ- reading your opponent, formulating strategies, etc.. However, when I provide specific examples, I make it clear that what I am saying only applies for the specific instance at that moment in time and with this specific person.

I have also now begun to work on some ideas on how to teach "feel". Though many of my explanations can be understood on a conscious intellectual level, "thinking" when rolling is too slow and some people try to over think things.
9/30/09 8:43 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Eel
5 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 884
"thinking" when rolling is too slow and some people try to over think things."


That is an interesting comment. What comes to your mind when you hear
people say that such and such jiu-jitsu player is able to think two
or three moves ahead?

Reply Post

You must log in to post a reply. Click here to login.