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Judo/Sambo UnderGround >> THE COMPLETE GRAPPLER ?


4/26/11 2:16 AM
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gbutts
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Below is a segment from Ann Marie’s blog about grapplers cross -training:

No, this isn't yet another of those million posts you read on the Internet about "my martial art is the best thing invented since breathing and all of you other pusillanimous pukes are my rightful prey and most bow down before me, moo-ha ha !"

In fact, something I have been thinking about for a while is the benefits and drawbacks of cross-training. This has been in the back of my mind for years, ever since one tournament when I saw a pretty good young black belt get slammed with uchimata.

A lot of times wrestlers beat judo players. The truth is that there are a lot more wrestlers in this country and wrestling coaches tend to run a lot more physically strenuous practices than most judo clubs do. This isn't uniformly true, but it's true of most judo and jiu-jitsu clubs and if you think differently, I recommend you get out of your little bubble and go watch some wrestling practices. PLEASE don't tell me how your club trains harder than everyone - I have heard that from so many instructors, it's just boring, not to mention impossible. There can't be ten jiu-jitsu schools in your city that train harder than every other school in the city. Nine of you guys are fooling yourselves.

My friend, Steve Scott, says in one of his book (I think it is Coaching on the Mat) that you should teach them like judo players but train them like wrestlers. I meant what I said literally. If you have never wrestled, or it's been twenty years (memories fade), I strongly recommend you drop by your local university and watch wrestling practice. It IS physically harder than most martial arts practices.

There are some excellent moves from wrestling that can help anyone's matwork. I'm always amazed when I meet a judo player who doesn't know how to do a half-nelson turnover. The link shows a half-nelson being demonstrated by Los Angeles Trade Tech Community College instructor, Steve Seck, who was a very successful high school wrestler before going on to make the U.S. Olympic judo team.

So... benefits of wrestling for judo and jiu-jitsu players - better physical conditioning, pick up mat moves that might not be as familiar or emphasized as much as they should be. BUT .... there can be too much of a good thing...

When cross-training is too much of a good thing

Going back to our young black belt investigating the number of lights in the ceiling - he hadn't been to judo for a while because it was wrestling season and he was on the team at his school. He came back to judo in much better physical condition. The only problem is that in wrestling no one ever gets a high grip on your gi because you're not wearing one. The third match in the tournament, someone got a grip on this young man, pulled down, and when he started to come back up, the opponent stepped in and slammed him. This was a good judo player and I am pretty sure if he had been coming to practice regularly the match would have come out differently. He had lost some of the reflex of protecting people from grabbing his gi because he didn't have to worry about it.

I'm always an advocate of going to other sports IN ADDITION to your main event, not judo practice instead of wrestling, jiu-jitsu instead of judo, or vice-versa. The most obvious difference wrestling has from jiu-jitsu and judo is there is no gi, so there is less fighting for a grip.

There are other "differences that make a difference". Of course, a really good judo or jiu-jitsu player loves fighting someone who gets in a wrestler's position on the mat, because they have their head up to keep from being turned over easily - which makes it harder to do a half-nelson but really easy to loop the gi under and choke them. They keep their arms too straight and are almost inviting armbars. In judo, wrestlers often win in the novice divisions where armbars, and sometimes chokes, are not allowed, but once they move into brown and black belt divisions a judo player will take them out. Of course, jiu-jitsu allows chokes and armbars from the very beginning.

From that last sentence, you might think it's easier for a wrestler to win at judo than jiu-jitsu. Not necessarily, especially not with the new rule changes. It is now (with limited exceptions) against the rules to grab the leg in Olympic judo, so a single-leg take down, double-leg take down and many other wrestling throws are now illegal in judo. They are, however, still legal in jiu-jitsu (and freestyle judo). So, a technique that would get a wrestler a penalty in judo will get him points in jiu-jitsu.

The obvious point is that there are differences in the rules and if you are doing too much cross-training, you get into the habit of playing by a different set of rules - a lesson our young black belt learned the hard way.




NOW ANN MARIA AND I WILL ALWAYS DISAGREE ABOUT CROSSING -TRAINING AND BEING ABLE TO COMPETE AT AN ELITE-LEVEL IN ALL FORMS OF GRAPPLING. Having competed in wrestling, sambo, judo and training in bjj, I believe if a young person trains as a complete grappler they can succeed and compete at an elite level in all grappling forms regardless of the rules.

I remember Ann Maria asking me why do you bother with taking your kids to kickboxing and tkd , they have their judo to defend themselves ( of course I laugh at her as explained the importance of learning to strike) and Ronda has to learn how to strike.

Anyway the question remains do you think it is possible to compete at an elite level in all forms grappling?
4/26/11 2:39 AM
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judom
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That is an interesting post (I have not posted here in a while).

My experience and seeing what happens in Eastern Europe (Russia, Georgia and others places), the answer is: CLEARLY NO.

Further, IMO, the practices of competitive judo/sambo in EE usually is as hard as any wrestling practice, there is NO difference. I think in the US its quite a bit different.

So, that means that beyond certain (past amateur) level, wrestlers have NO conditioning advantage over judoka or sambist, let alone with the gi'. IMO, even, sambist are slightly better conditioned than wrestlers. Once again, I think in the US, judo is much more amateur so that is not the case.

I've NEVER seen an elite wrestler dominate elite judoka in judo, even when the wrestler had some gi' training. And I've seen many friendly matches of world champion wrestlers vs. sambists/judoka gi and no gi'.

I actually think cross-training as done in the USA is deeply flawed. They mix stuff up often without any proper foundation. In many clubs in EE that is not allowed. Even using certain moves is disallowed up to certain age: counters, leg attacks, armlocks, massively hinder your foundation, and so when you go up to higher levels, you are doomed. Too late to recover.

I am generally against cross-training, unless you are around age 20-21 and have developed great foundation, say "master of sport" in Sambo or Judo.



4/26/11 3:15 AM
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gbutts
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judom - That is an interesting post (I have not posted here in a while).

My experience and seeing what happens in Eastern Europe (Russia, Georgia and others places), the answer is: CLEARLY NO.

Further, IMO, the practices of competitive judo/sambo in EE usually is as hard as any wrestling practice, there is NO difference. I think in the US its quite a bit different.

So, that means that beyond certain (past amateur) level, wrestlers have NO conditioning advantage over judoka or sambist, let alone with the gi'. IMO, even, sambist are slightly better conditioned than wrestlers. Once again, I think in the US, judo is much more amateur so that is not the case.

I've NEVER seen an elite wrestler dominate elite judoka in judo, even when the wrestler had some gi' training. And I've seen many friendly matches of world champion wrestlers vs. sambists/judoka gi and no gi'.

I actually think cross-training as done in the USA is deeply flawed. They mix stuff up often without any proper foundation. In many clubs in EE that is not allowed. Even using certain moves is disallowed up to certain age: counters, leg attacks, armlocks, massively hinder your foundation, and so when you go up to higher levels, you are doomed. Too late to recover.

I am generally against cross-training, unless you are around age 20-21 and have developed great foundation, say "master of sport" in Sambo or Judo.




that my point I say let's stop limiting our grappling training to fit the rules of a sport (judo, grappling, bj, wrestling etc..) return to the days of old when people taught catch wrestling. when i start sambo we trained with and without a jacket (gi and no-gi , combat and competition). when I started judo i this view it as sambo with different rules and same for bjj.I have stress upon my students and kids to be complete grapplers, yes judo is there primary form of grappling but they are able to compete and win at any form of grappling because we have elite instructors from all forms of grappling. Most of these instructors feel share my my views and vision of building a complete grappling system.
4/26/11 3:28 AM
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Chocolate Shatner
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I have to agree with gbutts here. When we talk about an elite wrestler not dominating an elite judo player, well, of course that is to be expected. They are ELITEs. They are in the upper 1% of their skills in the world.

However, what about the other 99% of players? I think they can benefit greatly from cross training and even sometimes from cross competing.

Let's look at another competitive area, that of weightlifting and bodybuilding. Now, it would be downright stupid (and dangerous) for your average lifter to train the same programs as a world champion in powerlifting, or to use Mr. Olympia's arm training programs. Why? Because their bodies are not ready for it, they haven't established the all around base of skill and muscle needed to gain benefits from such programs. However, to the frustration of many skilled weight coaches, you see gyms full of ignorant people repping out the latest magazine workout that comes "straight from Mr. Olympia!"

We can all agree that weight training like Mr. Olympia when you are neither A) carrying 300 pounds of relatively lean body mass nor B) on enough steroids to make a racehorse have a heart attack, is stupid. So, why is it that in grappling we think it is correct to train like elite level players?

Players in the top 1% in the world of any sport have to specifically train, yes. But, they also pay a price in many ways. They subject themselves to overuse injuries, they allow and even don't mind having huge gaps in their all around "game", because it helps them in a rule set. We can see it now, with Satoshii Ishii. Besides his mental case issues, in MMA, his takedowns were great, but his punches were pathetic, and honestly he couldn't submit a wet paper bag it seemed. He had huge holes in his overall game that cost him.

For the rest of us, and especially for a young person coming up, overspecialization can be detrimental and frustrating. We see it in other sports, with Little League pitchers getting Tommy John surgery due to overspecialization. You don't think the same could happen in judo or other grappling sports? But, by cross training, they can practice useful skills, in a different environment that both refreshes their attention, and places the body in a different stress level that allows them to recover in other areas.

Let's look at that black belt kid who loses in the third match of the tournament. Now, unless the kid is going for Jr. Nationals, who the hell cares? Honestly? And, if the kid was trying for Jr. Nats, then why is the Jr. Nats his first tournament back after wrestling practice finished? If it's a local tourney that the kid was just getting his feet wet in order to ramp up for "judo season", then the tourney did exactly what it was supposed to do: get him back into "judo mindset."

So, for 99% of people, go do cross training. And not just in other grappling. Go do some bike riding, or swimming, or other athletic activities. Overall, it's going to be better on your body and mind.

4/26/11 9:40 AM
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Spartan79
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To me if u want to be the best in a sport and u have the potental to be the best u should train in that sport only! If u wNt to be more combat effective cross train. All depends on ur goals. Phone Post
4/26/11 10:15 AM
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Chocolate Shatner
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Spartan79 - To me if u want to be the best in a sport and u have the potental to be the best u should train in that sport only! If u wNt to be more combat effective cross train. All depends on ur goals. <img src="/images/phone/post_tag.png" alt="Phone Post" border="0" style="vertical-align:middle;"/>



Except that many pro athletes, among the best in their sports, now "cross train." Jerry Rice didn't become the best football receiver of all time just by running routes in practices and playing football. He "cross trained" using weights, sprints, bikes, etc. Michelle Kwan didn't become the greatest women's figure skater of all time by just doing her routines on the ice. She did yoga, weights, running, etc.

The days of "to become better at something, just keep doing that thing" are over. The science has shown that to be limited at best, and in a sport with high contact and chance of injury, to spend too much time doing just the sport is just asking for injury.
4/26/11 10:48 AM
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judoblackbelt
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THe posts are longer than my attention span. I agree with Spartan79. But I think you should be good in all facits of your particular game. If you have excellent throwing skills and poor mat skills then xtraining (wrestling/bjj) would help your ground skills and could make you a better judoka. Especially if there are opponents who have excellent ground games that you will potentially have to fight. I watch some of our Senior players like Mike Eldred for example who fight 5 minute matches and be just as "fresh" at the 4:59 mark for many matches, end on end. Judo conditioning is by itself all that is needed. Now for the non elite x training can eally improve your game overall. Not sure if I made any sense. Purpose of this post?
4/26/11 10:58 AM
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gbutts
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Spartan79 - To me if u want to be the best in a sport and u have the potental to be the best u should train in that sport only! If u wNt to be more combat effective cross train. All depends on ur goals. <img src="/images/phone/post_tag.png" alt="Phone Post" border="0" style="vertical-align:middle;"/>



I understand but if you look at judo in the US, you cannot only train in judo because the truth is the US standing game will ever be as good as the top countries because the US does not have enough players; however, the US as enough bjj players,wrestlers,and no-gi players to improve their matwork and matwork transition to beat these top countries in the only area (the ground)where they are weak.


I believe if we start teaching these young kids how to blend all grappling techniques togather when they become adults they can compete at a high level in judo, bjj, sambo and wrestling.

4/26/11 1:43 PM
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Missing Glove Tape
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Edited: 04/26/11 1:48 PM
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It's tough to answer because it's really a few different questions. Is (structured) crosstraining to become a complete grappler ideal? Sure. Should kids programs (especially) focus on skill development that translates to a variety of sports? Of course. Will crosstraining foster competitive multi-sport athletes at the elite(olympic/world) level? Doubtful.

When's the last time a person competed at a high level (in equally large/deep sports like judo, wrestling, and sambo) in two sports? Greg Gibson in the 80s? That should tell you something because even with Gibson, when you look at his record you're talking about an athlete who, despite competing at a high level in 3 sports, still seemed to lean towards 1 sport, being greco roman, in terms of his best sucesses. And what's more is that as good as the old Soviet system was at blending their programs to produce the best athletes that continues today, when's the last time Russia or any of the former Eastern block and Central Asian countries produced a multi-sport (olympic/world) medalist in wrestling, let alone someone making the transition from gi(judo/sambo) to no gi(wrestling)? I can't think of one. So I think that says something, because if they can't do it(consistently producing top athletes in all 3 sports), then who can?

That said, I think it's interesting you mentioned catch-as-catch-can, because, imo, two of the reasons the old catch wrestlers were so good, beyond the obvious mindset advantage/philosophic freedom the term cacc implies(ie: win by any means possible/necessary), is that instead of there being a set of hard and fast rules that said "this is the only way", the rules of each (professional) contest were decided on ahead of time, for that particular match, therefore wrestlers in those days really did want/need to be complete grapplers because they never really knew what kind of match they'd be getting themselves into as far as concessions(agreed upon rules) they'd have to make in order to get the match signed, win(hopefully), and make their money. As well, the other reason the old wrestlers were so good was because cacc literally drew from the largest talent and technical pool(s) possible. Meaning, and as people like Karl Gotch(RIP) and Billy Robison have often said, back then, in both Britain(by way of the British Empire/Navy) and the U.S.(THE melting pot), wrestlers were exposed to styles and wrestlers from all over the world, allowing them to see and absorb different ideas/techniques, thus adding to the compendium of knowledge that was cacc, which spread, largely in part, thanks to the training and matches of big name wrestlers like Ad Santel, Gama, and of course, judoka like Maeda. It's not wise to serve 2(or more masters), but when you can draw from the best of the best like the oldtimers, the idea of becoming a "complete grappler" who can compete with anyone in the world isn't so far fetched, imo.


My $.02
4/27/11 8:45 AM
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Outkaster
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Great thread by the way.
4/27/11 10:29 AM
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Spartan79
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Yeah do sport specific exercises. Thats all good but Do you think Ali was the best cus he mixed boxing with kickboxing? No he drank ate, slept boxing. Same as suger ray, hatton and all the greats! I I want to be a world champion moter bike rider driving a car won't help. As I said depends on ur goals if u want to be the best in the world at a sport u av to put in the time and u just won't have time or energy to cross train! Tim henman tryed a bit of boxing in his training before Wimbledon. Now he may be a little more able in a punch up but he did shit in Wimbledon ! Phone Post
4/27/11 12:11 PM
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Chocolate Shatner
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Spartan79 - Yeah do sport specific exercises. Thats all good but Do you think Ali was the best cus he mixed boxing with kickboxing? No he drank ate, slept boxing. Same as suger ray, hatton and all the greats! I I want to be a world champion moter bike rider driving a car won't help. As I said depends on ur goals if u want to be the best in the world at a sport u av to put in the time and u just won't have time or energy to cross train! Tim henman tryed a bit of boxing in his training before Wimbledon. Now he may be a little more able in a punch up but he did shit in Wimbledon ! <img src="/images/phone/post_tag.png" alt="Phone Post" border="0" style="vertical-align:middle;"/>



You keep bringing up examples of those who were the best in the world, the top 1%, and how they trained as professionals, or in that top 1%.

How about guys like Bo Jackson? Or Deion Sanders? Or Roy Jones Jr, who along with being cruiserweight champ, was also a pro basketball players? Or Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who besides being the best college basketball player at the time, and the top scorer in NBA history, trained JKD along with Bruce Lee? Or Jim Thorpe?

4/27/11 12:18 PM
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gbutts
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Spartan79 - Yeah do sport specific exercises. Thats all good but Do you think Ali was the best cus he mixed boxing with kickboxing? No he drank ate, slept boxing. Same as suger ray, hatton and all the greats! I I want to be a world champion moter bike rider driving a car won't help. As I said depends on ur goals if u want to be the best in the world at a sport u av to put in the time and u just won't have time or energy to cross train! Tim henman tryed a bit of boxing in his training before Wimbledon. Now he may be a little more able in a punch up but he did shit in Wimbledon ! <img src="/images/phone/post_tag.png" alt="Phone Post" border="0" style="vertical-align:middle;"/>

the boxing and kickboxing comparison is not same as grappling because all forms of grappling have the basic structure (throwing/takedowns, top and bottom control, submission, escape, and leverage. I think ronda and rhadi is a good example of an elite cross-trainer. they can win in all grappling forms at an elite level.
4/28/11 1:20 AM
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Spartan79
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You keep bringing up examples of those who were the best in the world, the top 1%, and how they trained as professionals, or in that top 1%. How about guys like Bo Jackson? Or Deion Sanders? Or Roy Jones Jr, who along with being cruiserweight champ, was also a pro basketball players? Or Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who besides being the best college basketball player at the time, and the top scorer in NBA history, trained JKD along with Bruce Lee? Or Jim Thorpe? That's cus I'm on about top people. Number one, world champs, gold winners! Joe bloggs. Sure cross train I do! Phone Post
4/28/11 2:24 AM
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Chocolate Shatner
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Spartan79 - You keep bringing up examples of those who were the best in the world, the top 1%, and how they trained as professionals, or in that top 1%. How about guys like Bo Jackson? Or Deion Sanders? Or Roy Jones Jr, who along with being cruiserweight champ, was also a pro basketball players? Or Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who besides being the best college basketball player at the time, and the top scorer in NBA history, trained JKD along with Bruce Lee? Or Jim Thorpe?That's cus I'm on about top people. Number one, world champs, gold winners! Joe bloggs. Sure cross train I do! <img src="/images/phone/post_tag.png" alt="Phone Post" border="0" style="vertical-align:middle;"/>



1) Were not all the people I listed world or Olympic champs?

2) How's that specialization working out for the US in judo right now? Perhaps some cross training at lower levels, instead of having our noses in the air, might just improve things a bit.
4/28/11 10:18 AM
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judoblackbelt
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I reread Gary's posts and it makes total sense. US elite judokas except for Kayla Harrison do not have ippon judo. By ippon judo I mean dominant throwing techniques that result in scores/wins against a majority of world class players. Kayla has the most complete game and just as easily can win with a throw as a mat tecknique. Next is Travis Stevens, next is Michael Eldred who do not have the throwing game Kayla has.
4/29/11 1:59 AM
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JoshuaResnick
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my team crosstrains with wreslting (folkstyle, freestyle) and Judo. Why? they enjoy them all and the variety helps them develop the ability to always adapt. the throws and techniques are the same in or out of a gi.... whats it matter?
4/30/11 2:55 AM
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Spartan79
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Mate that's great and I'm all for it. All I am saying which is only my humble opinion is that if I was off too the Olympics for judo I would train only judo in that rule set. Train with olympic judo coaches. This would give. Me the best chance of winning gold at judo IMHO . Then I may cross train to become a more complete fighter/ grapperler. Phone Post
4/30/11 7:16 PM
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SamboMMA
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4/30/11 10:15 PM
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jayflo145
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Spartan79 - Mate that's great and I'm all for it. All I am saying which is only my humble opinion is that if I was off too the Olympics for judo I would train only judo in that rule set. Train with olympic judo coaches. This would give. Me the best chance of winning gold at judo IMHO . Then I may cross train to become a more complete fighter/ grapperler. Phone Post


+1
5/2/11 1:34 AM
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gbutts
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This is my orginal question: do you think it is possible to compete at an elite level in all forms grappling? I did not ask if you are training for a big event should you cross-train or train with a different rule set in mind. Btw, I just look at Justin Flores video again and I'm sure if want to he could had been and elite wrestler (olympian wrestler) he used his judo and wreslting to win his state championship and college wrestling bouts.
5/2/11 1:40 AM
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gbutts - This is my orginal question: do you think it is possible to compete at an elite level in all forms grappling? I did not ask if you are training for a big event should you cross-train or train with a different rule set in mind. Btw, I just look at Justin Flores video again and I'm sure if want to he could had been and elite wrestler (olympian wrestler) he used his judo and wreslting to win his state championship and college wrestling bouts.

No.

Think about the depth of talent in each sport and the lengths an athlete has to go through points-wise to stay competitive and qualify for big events. It's an insurmountable endeavor, especially when you're talking about the subtleties in rules and grip/handfighting between the gi and no gi.
5/2/11 2:24 AM
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gbutts
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gbutts - This is my orginal question: do you think it is possible to compete at an elite level in all forms grappling? I did not ask if you are training for a big event should you cross-train or train with a different rule set in mind. Btw, I just look at Justin Flores video again and I'm sure if want to he could had been and elite wrestler (olympian wrestler) he used his judo and wreslting to win his state championship and college wrestling bouts.

No.

Think about the depth of talent in each sport and the lengths an athlete has to go through points-wise to stay competitive and qualify for big events. It's an insurmountable endeavor, especially when you're talking about the subtleties in rules and grip/handfighting between the gi and no gi.


Good points, I was think about a skill set,and abailtiy to apdt to any rule set using your core grapping art. I trulely believe the next generation grapplers will be able to do it all like the old timers; look at how mma has evolve, now you have to be a complete fighter but they still have their base (foundation) and adpt their foundation to a rule set.
5/2/11 2:29 AM
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gbutts
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I think the keys is to start/expose people at a young age. Rules are always changing, you improve your skill set but leg locks, armbars, chokes,positioning,throws/takedowns and gripfighting don't change they just improve.
5/2/11 2:59 AM
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gbutts - Good points, I was think about a skill set,and abailtiy to apdt to any rule set using your core grapping art. I trulely believe the next generation grapplers will be able to do it all like the old timers; look at how mma has evolve, now you have to be a complete fighter but they still have their base (foundation) and adpt their foundation to a rule set.

Sure, I guess if we're talking about single 'superfight' type matches then an elite athlete with a complete game has the potential to compete with/impose their game against anyone in the world. It'd still be really difficult, I think, because you're essentially talking about competing against someone who is not only an elite athlete themselves, but also a specialist in _____ style/rule set. But at least in that situation you wouldn't have to grind out victories in multiple matches against athletes with an assortment of strengths/styles of play that you may not have seen/felt before. I think it was Tom Brands from Iowa who talked about something similar in a flowrestling video. He was saying how necessary it is for American wrestlers to get international experience, at as early an age as possible, for them to really be able to compete against the best in the world, because even at the elite college level(and getting ready to transition to freestyle/greco full-time), there is still so much that they need to see/feel before they're ready. So, the same would absolutely be true for an athlete wanting to compete at the elite level in multiple sports. The fundamentals would still be the same re: skill development and knowing the various rules and how to attack/defend the entire body, but again, the subtleties of things like grip/handfighting would be *really* hard to deal with at that level where the difference between winning and losing is often a question of who gets their grip first.

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