Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Rivalry and sweep of the week!

Ive been thinking about the motivations for training that occur within the training itself. Self improvement, ego and pride, team dedication, instructer pressure (this is not necessarily negetive), rewards/punishments, rivalry. The one that Ive recently noticed is rivalry ( I briefly mentioned it in my last post). I think rivalry can be a very good and positive tool for motivating yourself to improve. I mean everyone always wants to improve but extra pressure can do wonders.

In this context I define rivalry as between 2 or more people where they are specifically trying to improve so that they are more dominant over the opponent/training partner in question. And of course you get different types of rivalry, I am reffering to friendly but competitive rivalry. Where you are good friends but go to significant lengths to keep up or better your rival.

A while ago I as reading a short history of nearly everything by Bill Bryson(stay with me this is relevant). He described two early paeleontologists whose rivalry was so fierce that when occupying two parellel trenches they were throwing rocks and FOSSILS at each other. But between them they found more dinosaurs than anyone in history to date. Their rivalry pushed them to the top of their field.

I feel the same can happen in jiu jitsu, although I would prefer more friendly terms. As I think being open and exchanging ideas with your rival can also be very usefull, as they can have a unique insight into your game.

I have a rival (his probaly reading this), he as you might of guessed is Matt "the triangulator" Passfield (Im trying out the nickname). We are of similar weight, height, build, ability and competitiveness. These attributes lead us to be naturally competitive with each other, after Brighton we kicked it up a notch. We roll nearly every class, and there is definitely a sense of pressure that isnt there in my other sparring matches. Someone watching usually will mention something about Brighton, just to add a lil extra....atmosphere to the fight.

Me and Matt sparred again last night, with myself starting in his guard. I had just dispatched 3 other opponents but was feeling good (we do a winner stays on type thing), as I felt calm in my guard passing. Our roll went on longer than my 3 previous rolls combined. He consistently broke down my posture and was working for a triangle and/or collar choke. The collar chokes meant I had to keep abandoning pressure on his hips to protect my neck. I kept on working, trying to open his legs. After nearly getting choked countless times I managed to creep my way out of his guard and into side control, avoiding a scissor sweep on the way.

I went on to beat a few more opponents without rest untill I made a very silly mistake of forgetting my base after passing and getting swept from side control!.

I plan to attend this:

As do a few of my training partners. The best scenario I could hope for would be to meet Matt in the final again, which we are both working hard to do. Being from the same academy the organisers will hopefully try to make this happen, as it would be a big shame to fight him earlier on.

I feel that our friendly rivalry is pushing us to improve at a steady and fast pace, we know each others game inside out. And as such we target each others weaknesses with our own strengths, so in reply our weaknesses are strengthened and so are our strengths. Doesnt matter who loses, I always learn something when we roll. This does apply to other training partners mind you, just not at the same level.

So if you train, think about any rivalries you might have and be thankfull. They will make you far stronger. This is only the beginning, the drums of war are beating!

....Oh yeah, sweep of the week!. As a reward for reading my blitherings, Ill post the best video I can find of a sweep that I like. This week we are going straight for my fave. The simple, elegant and morale destroying sit up sweep. Shown by Pedro Sauer:

I remember Adam from RGA mentioning that he used the sit up sweep actually mainly as a setup for the kimura (by letting them base out), which is genius. Ive been working on actually implimenting this as a strategy if I dont want the sweep. Managed it yesterday but could of been tighter. Yay for progress though.


slideyfoot said...

Heh - you have pretty much the exact opposite approach to training than I do. Ever since I started BJJ, I've been working to get rid of any competitive impulses whatsoever when it comes to sparring (although that also fits with my passive personality anyway).

I wonder if it is mainly a personality thing, or just a different way of learning? Either way, will be interesting to see if you keep up that use of rivalry in later training, and if it ends up being a positive methodology overall.

Have you checked out the Abhaya videos on sweeps? That was my main source when I started and was looking to refine my sweeps, in particular the pendulum/flower, sit-up and scissor:

Sit-Up Vid (Kimura here)

Pendulum/Flower Vid (transition to armbar)

Scissor Vid (transition to armbar)

Jadon Ortlepp said...

It could be a personality thing, also a cultural thing as well I expect. As a south african I have been known to get "sports rage". But I am always pretty happy in BJJ so being positive is probaly important otherwise it could get in the way of the training.

Ill be checking out quite a few vids to see which ones ill add as "sweep of the week". I quite like Mario Sperry as he chats quite abit on the topic of whatever technique he is showing. Cheers for the Abhaya vid, will probaly use that pendulum vid.

I think competitive spirit is a very usefull tool, one that you do have to keep a handle on though. As a sport and as a martial art I believe that you should always try to win but embrace losing.