Friday, August 8, 2008

Jiu-Jitsu: Flow


The following is a very good message, courtesy of instructor Roy Dean. Internalize it and turn into action on the mat; apply it to your own game!

Jiu means flexible, yielding. Jitsu is technique. Soft techniques, yielding techniques. Gentle arts and ways. So it says. So they say.

But the reality of effectiveness is much different than the theory. It is not gentle during application. Beginning students use all their strength just to survive. Every minute of every match is a full force effort. The concepts of relaxation and flow are merely words at this stage. It requires many hours of practice to feel what’s going on in the give and take of randori.

Flowing is allowing a situation to unfold, and gently guiding it along the way. Direct opposition of force can work temporarily, but this requires large amounts of energy. The flame of a beginner burns brightly, quickly, and without a clear purpose. There is a pacing that needs to be learned, a cycle, a rhythm, an ebb and flow. Jiu-jitsu teaches you this. It is a method of conserving energy, then magnifying the effect of your efforts through distraction, angles, timing, and leverage.

“Flow with the go,” as Rickson said. “Push when pulled, pull when pushed,” advised Kano. Add your force to their force. But the timing of this is tricky. People don’t push or pull for very long. It’s a small window of opportunity to slip into. It takes a while to feel the window open and learn to pass through it. At higher levels, you have to learn to put the pressure on, and know where to push them so their response is a push back. The push you’ve been waiting for.

Don’t try to move your partner. Move yourself in relation to your partner. Take what your partner gives you. Flow. Sometimes you can encourage your partner to want to give the submission to you. Threaten the choke and allow him to expose his arm. If he gives you his arm, take his arm. Don’t force yourself into another position just because you wanted the choke. Once you see the armlock, capitalize on the situation.

Even if you didn’t want it, make it the best armlock you’ve ever done. Crisp timing. A sharp lockdown with the legs. Wrap his wrist with the bend of your arm and shoot your hips high. Feel him tap and release the hold. Respond quickly to what your partner signals. It’s good practice for the real world.

Bring that flow into your life. And the responsiveness. Blend with forces greater than yourself. Accept your situations. Work with them. Position them.

This life is something we can steer, but not stop. So relax.

Save your strength.

Flow with the go.

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