Forks in the road

Micro and mindful decision training, recognizing hesitations and second guessing, using information gained from class, training, notes and prior live experiences to guide your immediate circumstances to the best available choice in your sparring session. These and more are why I train and spar.
It’s not about wanting to beat your opponent rather I find it a lot more interesting and satisfying to address my personal shortcomings and to reduce the waste of time and opportunities.

In many instances when I observe my students sparring, they move and make decisions based on the outcome of scrambles or force their way into a position they want, often oblivious to the most natural, economical and easiest option. Most of the time these opportunities present themselves in scrambles and I like to initiate situation where scrambles happen but I am aware of the possibilities that arise. When I’m on form (not injured or tired) I can catch the timing and capitalize on the mistakes that my sparring partner presents during their attempts to gain a better position. Often the case when I adopt a strong base and defensive posture, I relegate the next move to my partner as they are forced to launch a stronger attack to break through my (usually) static posture thereby giving me the advantages of catching a breather and observing when and how they move. As I am stationary at that moment it often draws them into moving with a little less caution as they can feel I am not offering a strong resistance. Partly this is as much a psychological as is a physical strategy.

For example, I allow my partner to feel some resistance as they try to pass my guard, but contrary to conventional (sport) jiu jitsu strategy, which is usually to defend or recover the guard position, I yield and allow the pass but not allowing the passer to “complete” the pass by securing the grips that they want or immobilizing my hips. This is the mini fork of decision making while under pressure. Do I put in effort to defend the pass and recover my guard or yield to the pass but deny them the grips and prevent them from locking down my hips?

Distilling the entire roll down to a series of mini binary decisions makes things a lot less stressful as I only have to concentrate on the next immediate 1-5 seconds of movements. I don’t trigger my anxiety by worrying about the outcome of the roll 4-5 minutes in the future when I just started in the first 15 seconds of the first minute, not do I dwell or mope about what just passed in the previous 15 seconds.

In servitude,
Vince Choo


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