Winning With ‘Spirit’ vs Winning With ‘Clever Cloggery’

One of my students, Alistair Martin (London), wrote this article and sent to us.
We think that what he says makes a lot of sense. The situation he writes about relates a lot with new students, specially the bigger ones, that try to power themselves out of situations instead of learning the proper technique. The paradox of BJJ is that one must apply force to ensure the success of the techniques, but become too much physical and you are totally missing the point!

Winning With ‘Spirit’ vs Winning With ‘Clever Cloggery’

We’ve all heard stories of incredible feats of strength and agility achieved under pressure, for instance the woman who lifted the car from her child trapped underneath it. Similar stories of people jumping over huge walls to escape from thugs, criminals leaping roof to roof to escape from police. If you’ve ever seen America’s wildest police chases you will have seen many examples caught on video of humans using their fullest potential under pressure.

The problem with this applied to jiu jitsu and fighting in general, is that while it’s ok to use spirit to win under pressure, it’s not a very good idea to try to do this week in week out in training. What if that woman had to lift the car from off the ground 3 times per week? She would be much better off using some tools to jack the car up from off the ground with minimal effort. It’s like this in jiu jitsu, there are tools you can use to win with minimum effort, these tools are the techniques that utilise principles of leverage and body mechanics. It’s much wiser to develop technical proficiency and rely on that.

There are many fighters that talk about winning with spirit but these fighters don’t stay at the top for very long, sometimes you get them pop down to a jiu jitsu class and put up a huge fight, they still lose but they put up a good fight, they don’t attend regular classes because they simply can’t keep it up. Sure they can do one class and go all out as if they’re in some sort of Rocky movie, but that’s as far as it goes, 1 class, 3 at best, any more than that and they’re doing themselves some serious damage. It’s excellent to be aware of spirit, but save it for the competition, where its needed, it has no place in regular training. If you’re using spirit too much in training, then it prevented you from developing your technique.

Alistair Martin

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