A while back, Dean Lister released a video in which he described some of his training methods. One method that Lister uses is that he starts some of his rolls in his training partners’ submissions, and then tries to work his way out. In doing this he has toughened himself up substantially and was able to avoid being submitted in competition for over a decade, until finally meeting his match when he faced Josh Barnett.
This week’s Jiu Jitsu Times Weekly Challenge is to do exactly what The Boogeyman does. Start 2 rolls of every session in your training partners’ submission. Obviously be safe about this, if you start in their arm bar and they immediately start to apply it, tap rather than allowing them to injure you, but work your way out as much as possible.
Starting in the submission is difficult because it forces you to accept a certain degree of futility. There is no “ego” when you’re in a triangle choke, only “Oh crap, oh crap, what do I do, oh crap!” However, as time progresses and you get more and more comfortable with this training method, you’ll begin to be able to feel the moments when your escape is possible. You’ll begin to actually have an intelligent defense to an already locked in submission. And, most importantly, you’ll become far more difficult to submit.
When doing this challenge, pick submissions that you struggle with. Communicate with your training partners and tell them to take the submission as slowly or quickly as you need them to. This will also help them develop control over their submissions, allowing them to understand the difference between uncomfortable and un-survivable.
Starting in different submissions may open up your eyes to holes in your game. If you find yourself able to readily escape a given submission, work on another one. Keep going until every submission that another person can throw at you is one that you are ready to escape. Get to a point at which people who are much better than you say “Wow, you’re really hard to submit.”
If you find any submission “impossible” for you to get out of, ask your instructor. A big part of this exercise is for you to find attainable goals to set, like learning how to get out of a specific submission. Far too often people set goals like “Make my guard better” or “be less spazzy,” exercises like this one allow us to refine those goals down to “learn what makes the arm bar from mount work, and learn how to make it NOT work.” Specific goals are much more likely to be reached.
So for one week, try this challenge out. Let us know what you think of it and if it helps your game at all. The purpose of these challenges is to get you to look at training differently, to help you get the most out of each training session. Enjoy!