Thursday, May 07, 2009

Don't just crank it on!

When someone actively resists your attempt to apply a joint-lock, most people fall into the trap of applying more and more force.  Besides being dangerous -- if it eventually works you may well hyperextend the joint -- this approach contradicts the "minimum effort" part of this month's theme.  Pretty soon you find yourself exerting maximum effort to minimum effect.

Three better alternatives:
  1. Distract: A light strike or -- even the threat of a strike -- to a vulnerable will take your partner's focus away from their resistance for a moment, and that should be long enough to apply the lock.  [Other distractions: pinches, kiais, etc. can also do the same job.]
  2. Change the focus of the lock: Most locks either use or have the potential for a two-way action.  Usually the resistance will arise at the point where you are applying most of the force.  Switch your emphasis to another point of contact (and maybe back again).
  3. Flow into a different technique: Make use of the resistive force supplied by your partner to power the transition.  Now the resistance is working for you.
All of these options emphasize skill, sensitivity and knowledge over brute strength.

As the Borg of Star Trek say: "Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile.  We wish to improve ourselves."  

And Bjorn Borg (former tennis great): "You have to find it. No one else can find it for you".


Michele said...

Great tips! Flowing into a different technique is especially helpful. Sometimes people get stuck when things do not go exactly according to plan. It is important to remember to be flexible and make necessary adjustments based on the specific encounter. Thanks!

Littlefair said...

Thanks Dan.

I must admit that flowing generally helps. When I'm learning a completely new throw or release I try to process the information and go slowly through the technique. Inevitably these initial fumblings fail. Ok, the technique isn't probably sound just yet but the fact that I'm going through it slowly means I lose a bit of momentum. Bit of a catch 22 really cos if I can't go through it slowly first I don't 'get it' and can't progress onto speedier versions. I find a (slightly) compliant partner helps AT THIS STAGE! Compliant partners, though, is a different subject altogether...

Daniel Prager said...

Littlefair wrote:
"Bit of a catch 22 really cos if I can't go through it slowly first I don't 'get it' and can't progress onto speedier versions. I find a (slightly) compliant partner helps AT THIS STAGE!"

Hi Chris: Although momentum has it's place I was taught to work slowly at first -- there's nowhere to hide! -- and learn to make the leverage work. Momentum can always be added later.

For releases and throws, speeding up gradually is clearly the way to go.

For joint locks I always want slow application and appropriate compliance; otherwise things are going to snap! If a partner resists I either tell them to stop -- "we're trying to learn here, not have a competition" -- or apply one of the ideas mentioned above.

Once you get really good you may be able to whip locks on very quickly, and be sensitive enough to not inflict injury, but there is always some risk. When training I prefer to apply locks slowly and continue to refine my sensitivity and overall technique.

Littlefair said...

Nice one Dan.