In previous articles we’ve discussed what a grappling arms race is, and how in that situation you can use video self analysis to get an advantage over your training partners.
Today I want to briefly touch on one of MY secret weapons in the everlasting arms race in the dojo. That method is focused partner training.
Here is what I do. Suppose I consistently run into the same problem with a certain individual – perhaps he’s catching me with the same submission all the time, or he’s always countering my sweeping techniques, or whatever.
As we’re sparring I’ll try to make note of the problem – I might even put myself into the exact problem position on purpose, just so I can see exactly what my opponent is doing to make my life difficult.
Then I call up a different training partner, and we meet behind closed doors with the windows blacked out and the room swept for listening devices.
I show that partner the situation that is frustrating me, and we look at it from all angles and brainstorm for solutions.
Going back to the problem in this calm and controlled environment usually results in us soon having an answer to the original dilemma. The next step is to take it back to the original partner and see if it actually works in reality.
Here’s a video in which I talk about this process. You can also see two examples of exactly how this methodology is used in practise…
In the first example my friend and training partner Ritchie Yip shows how he learned to break apart my 411 leglock position “tabletop” defense (the nerve of some people!)…
The second example is how I figured out a good counter to the triangle-legs-and-crossface kneebar escape!
Check it out:
Many of the sequences I teach in my instructionals were developed exactly like this.
First I had an initial attack that worked for a while…
Then my opponents figured out how to counter those attacks. And then I used focussed partner training to discover and refine the recounters to those counters.
As we leave this topic I want to emphasize once again that this arms race is a mutually beneficial process. After I use my new super-duper recounter one or two times in class, I then share it with my sparring partners. That way the cycle goes on and we both continue to grow.
First published Nov, 2008. Republished with more content June 2018