Oh, the old Scissor Sweep….. Basic yet effective at all levels of competition from white belt to black belt. Because the Scissor Sweep is such a common Jiu Jitsu technique it also serves as a great example for highlighting the gap between training for competition & “commercial” martial arts scenarios vice training for real world operations.

Consider the common setup for the scissor sweep – collar and sleeve in the gi, wrist and head control no-gi (see photos above). There are examples of no-gi set ups with two on one grips on the controlled arm however this is less common in most Jiu Jitsu programs and  regardless still serves our point.Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 7.10.00 PM

From a Defensive Tactics / Combatives standpoint I have two major problems in both of these set ups which I must address.

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Despite the highly effective control set up of both positions described above the hostile / attacker / top guy still has one free arm available to either A) rain down strikes on the bottom guy or B) attempt to take control of the sidearm or taser.

The second problem is more of an issue of weapon awareness, mental preparation or a combat mindset that training for real world operations would emphasize. Follow me here….Most grapplers training for sport or unarmed grappling will consistently set up their attacks / sweeps to their dominate side. Under this set up the dominant leg would be on the top / shin to midline. This particular body position and grip set up exposes your weapon side to your opponents arm that is not being controlled. It’s a tactical mindset and awareness that is simply not considered outside of military / LEO channels.

How do we BRIDGE THE GAP? In a real world situation you must control both arms at the wrist / forearm vice collar and sleeve or wrist and head. The remainder of the details remain the same! Its not a major detail but it IS a significant detail. Control of both arms prevents the bad guy from throwing strikes or attempting to gain control of your side arm. Train to keep your sidearm protected and unexposed to the bad guys at all cost.

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Try this simple adjustment the next time that your drill. Your mindset for the streets must not be the same mindset as for the gym.

Train hard, bridge the gap, and get home safe.

Let me begin by stating that I was wrong. Yes, I made the same mistake that most people make when discussing overtraining vs under / poor recovery and continued to blame my poor Jiu Jitsu performance, lingering soreness, and lack of explosiveness to the former not realizing that few people ever truly over train while the majority of people actual suffer from poor nutrition and lack of sleep or in other words, poor recovery methods.

Many Jiu Jitsu practitioners  in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area are gearing up for the IBJJF DC open. This means hard comp training of two – three training sessions a day of Jiu Jitsu drilling and sparring and possibly weight cutting. Add in a gym workout, a normal 9-5, a family, oh and very little sleep and the result is a lot of mental and psychical stress on the body and what most people will refer to as being overtrained.

Overtraining by definition is a physiological state not an action and is impacted by every single type of stressor vice a sole stressor i.e. training or working out too much. Additionally, overtraining leads to a SUSTAINED decrease in physical and mental performance not one bad day or a couple of shitty rolls. One cannot expect to recover from a state of being truly overtrained by simply sleeping in on Sunday and training light for a week, in actuality recovery can take months.

I’m as guilty as the next guy. I can’t recall how many times I have told someone “If I have a bad night of sleep, I know I am overtraining so I take a day or two off.” Man was I completely off (thanks google for setting me straight). Sure, I was fatigued but I wasn’t overtrained and what I needed was a more holistic approach to correcting my deficiencies and getting back to firing on all cylinders.

Salt baths, ice baths, eucalyptus saunas, foam rolling sessions, cupping, dry needling, etc. have all become the “in things” that people perform for recovery and they are not necessarily wrong for seeking out some of these methods. Doing these activities can and will contribute to your recovery however the two key factors to proper recovery are SLEEP and NUTRITION. As intensity and workload increase, the amount of food and sleep must increase as well. When seeking to correction nutritional issues, it is not simply consuming more food but it is seeking out real food (vice a bar) made from healthy ingredients, ingested at the right times paired with adequate fluid which will aid in digestion. Aim for 8-10 hours of quality sleep (yeah right) a night ditching the electronics and television during the evening and replacing them with a podcast (Work Play Obsession, Life and Jiu Jitsu – plug) or even reading a book (gasp).

I’m not a doctor, coach, therapist, trainer, etc. I’m just a Jiu Jitsu guy throwing some ideas on a computer screen. If this has made you curious to seek out more information I refer you to google. There are plenty of articles and recommendations on things that you can do in order to prevent under-recovery as well as programming that will leave you fully prepared for the your next competition. It’s all just a click away.

Until next time – Keep Grinding

no-gi-me

 

The most common excuse that people use when questioned on their lack of Defensive Tactics / Combatives training is “lack of time”. Well, when shit hits the fan and push comes to shove you will literally have the rest of your life to figure it out. I bet you’ll wish you made time.

From a grappling perspective I truly believe that all of the skills required to safely and effectively dominate a hostile encounter can be learned in one year of training. The key then becomes consistent training to retain the skills, grease the groove, and make the movement patterns more proficient. This training can be accomplished with concise, focused training sessions conducted at regular intervals with minimal supervisory instruction. Whether it is at the department, on base, or at a civilian academy all that is required is a partner to train and minimal kit (training weapon, holster, whatever). As my friend John V. pointed out on the Work Play Obsession podcast, episode 21  available on SoundCloud, Blubrry, iTunes, Podbean, Google Play (plug) “It’s not complicated” and he is absolutely correct. People get lost in the structure of Jiu Jitsu and the length of time it takes become competition proficient and move through the ranks however this is not the focus and intent of training for real world operations. I remember seeing a t-shirt that said “You train for the cage, for us the cage is just training” and we must not lose focus on that.

Below are some some of photos of sparring with a sidearm. This is a great training method because it forces both people to not only focus on attacking, it creates the need to also focus on weapons retention. Keep in mind you do not need another military or law enforcement trained person to do this type of training. In fact it is preferable to have an opponent who is going to think and behave more like a criminal in order to give you the most likely reactions. Grab a teammate who is just sitting around shooting the shit and ask them to be a training buddy, chances are they will ask you to learn the stuff you are drilling because its effective and “its not complicated.”

Clinch work in my opinion is the most overlooked portion of grappling training especially in the gi where the stand up is dominated by collar and sleeve grips. The ability to effortlessly flow through post, frame, hook, pummel on and off the wall, and drill clearing the head from an opponents control. All of these elements will not only keep you off the ground but are also crucial to controlling the distance and when done properly will keep you prepared to transition to your side arm if required. Practice this.

All of this training below was conducted in about 15 minutes after a “modern” Jiu Jitsu no-gi class. Food for thought. It’s not that complicated. BRIDGE THE GAP