Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Better Edge

I have noticed in Amateur MMA a lot of schools/teams/gyms ignore the importance of elbows and leg submission. Some amateur competitions allow elbows and others don't. I would imagine that many people don't want to spend the limited practice time they have honing skills they may or may not use; understandable, but risky.

After working with one of my teammates and mentors, Ivan, I have gained a new understanding of the importance of the underrated techniques. (I say underrated because I have not seen them very much in competition.) Ivan and I were going over the fine tuning of my last fight. I am a firm believer that there is something to be learned in everything. So, yes, I was victorious but I also have a lot to learn based on the way I fought. During one of our advanced practices Ivan demonstrated for me how to use elbows and strikes to advance my position further. That is the beauty of being able to work hard with people that know so much. I am now more capable of seeing openings that I was not looking for. I have something to work on at practice to help advance me to the next level of my game.

After we had gone over the fine tuning from the fights I asked him to help me out with leg submissions. I will make this generalization and swear by it: most amateur fighters have no clue how to do any leg submissions, nor do they know how to see them coming and defend them. Every time I role with Ivan or T.J. I find myself tapping to a knee bar, leg lock, toe hold, etc. I have been submission grappling for five years and I am decent at it, but I know there is a big hole in my game. After we talked and worked on some stuff, I van dedicated an entire practice to a leg lock series. I did not even realize how many ways there are of submitting people using legs in just one series.

And that is the thing about martial arts: there is always an art to beat yours in one respect or another, always a competitor that knows more, always more knowledge to be gained, always changes and new moves, always a next level. The key to having a better edge is to find a team and coach that you trust, so that you can learn together and build on what you are and who you are. The learning is never finished. I feel like martial arts is a lot like teaching; once you feel like the job is easy, the job is done, then it is time to hang up your shoes and move on to the next.

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