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February 2013
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02/03/2013: "Resistance in training?"

A gentleman stopped by recently to ask about the dojo and about how we train. One question that he asked was whether we train against resisting opponents.

Well... no. Not in the sense that he probably meant it. Given that this is not a sport (with rules etc.), resisting the techniques we teach will result in injury. If you're e.g. in an armbar and you try to resist it, then you'll only be assisting the defender in applying the technique - and helping him to inflict the resulting damage. Not a good thing in class.

BUT: we train to apply techniques properly, and to correct those that are incorrectly applied, since the last thing we want is a Real Bad Guy (TM) to be able to counter what we're doing. We do this by training to change the attacker's focus, so that he isn't thinking about resisting the technique we're applying, but is focused instead (we only need a split second) on the distraction we just sent his way.

And if the attacker were to resist, all we would have to do would be to follow what he wanted done, and change to another technique. You pulled so I can't get that arm bar? Fine, because it means you're now adding your muscle to mine and giving me your strength and momentum to use that pull against you, just in a different direction and using different body mechanics than what I started out with. There's a reason it's called "ju" jitsu. (See the previous post about Legos and levels, which also addresses this question to some extent.)

When we demonstrate techniques, we do sometimes show what might happen if an attacker resisted or countered the initial technique. We do less of that for beginning students, in an attempt to prevent overload and confusion, but they do see those options - and also notice them on their own - fairly early in training.

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