Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Am Wrong About Tapping.

I consider myself a Jiu-Jitsu scientist, psychologist, practitioner AND “theorist.”  I like to investigate the mental as well as physical aspects that make Jiu-Jitsu functional for MOST human beings.  

My idea being that if we investigate how the mind works (because the mind controls the body) in conjunction with proper body movement AND couple it with the emotional tendencies and habits of everyday men and women- how they are  AND how they should be, we can produce a higher level of Jiu-Jitsu thinking. This includes the areas of decision making, reaction time, angles, leverage, subconscious thought, willpower, strategy, tactics,  body type, learning style, self-esteem,culture, politics, prejudice and attitude.

An example of  Jiu-Jitsu “attitude” could be toward “tapping.”  Many people obsess over being tapped out.  They might have anxiety over going against better people because of it.  Some instructors almost make tapping out to be a personal character flaw or weakness if it is done by a student. 

Tapping causes mental and emotional pain in many practioners and in some cases the thought of "failing" stops them from progressing smoothly.  They fixate on what they “Don’t want.”  They feel that somehow if they tap they will be thought less of and have less respect from their peers. They think "I don’t want to tap" so they will do the same old tired moves they know will work and not try new things because the fear of tapping is too great. This is simply HOW IT IS in the mental thought process in many Jiu-Jitsu schools and it unfortunately slows development.

As a Theorist I try to investigate new ways to create a personal “Paradigm Shift”  (a new way of thought from an earlier belief system) for myself and my students.  In the case of tapping I hold the theory that tapping is a necessary part of training and should in no way be feared or judged by others but should be reveled in as a necessary effect of training.  In this case, I’m out to change MY emotional thoughts and feelings on tapping. 

As a black belt my training should require that many times I PUT MYSELF  in bad positions like the triangle or the arm bar so that I can continuously improve my escapes.  If I feared the tap then in no way would I want to subject myself to such craziness.  The result is that many times starting out, one is tapped by lower belts but over time escapes become instant and effective and one becomes a better practioner for it.   I want to WIN for sure but only thorough proper practice, technique and accepting that sometimes I will not get my desired outcome. In this way I truly become better and get what I desire…the win!

The name of this article is “I am Wrong about Tapping.”  The reason I named it that is because as a theorist I always assume I am wrong about everything. 

This affords me the luxury of not getting my ego involved in trying to justify and protect my position on subjects and allows me to accept new theories that are potentially better.  I look at many new ideas without prejudice and examine them logically to see if they are better than the way I’m doing it now.   

My three measuring parameters are:  Is it safe, is it simple (number of moves involved using proper technique) and can MOST people do it regardless of body type?   If the technique or idea doesn’t fit into MY measuring points I typically abandon them BUT many times I simply shelve them until I'm at a more mature point in my training and then re-evaluate. Because I'm wrong a lot.

I also split parameters up into genre.  Self-Defense, tournament, Gi, No-Gi and MMA when looking at techniques and ideas.  Not everyone focuses on Gi self-defense like I do but I want to know EVERYTHING about Jiu-Jitsu so I categorize my ideas to the genre that I believe they are most effective in.   

I often find too that the established ways are STILL THE BEST WAYS but little tweaks of technique make them more efficient…In effect creating significant progress.  I will also always give you a reason as to WHY this should be done a certain way as well.  Believe it or not I actually use my brain and think about it before teaching it. 

Innovation is highly prized in my school.  I encourage my students to test, try, theorize and investigate at higher levels but they must first have a basis from which to start from.  This is why basics are so important for beginning practioners. You can’t innovate without proper foundation!

The last thing I would like to emphasize is that we all stand on the shoulders of giants.  We MUST learn from others research and then add our own contributions if possible.  We can't know everything.  This why I try to give credit where credit is due.  Great minds help other great minds and people should know they have affected my thinking with their contribution. You weren't born knowing Jiu-Jitsu, you learned it from someone else.

There is still so much more of Jiu-Jitsu to be discovered.  Are you an innovator or will you simply be doomed to mindlessly repeat the same material for the next 40 years without truly looking for a more efficient and better way to express your Jiu-Jitsu? 

It’s up to you.

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  1. I really agree with you. So many people feel rolling is a mini competition. It's not. It's putting your technique to use under pressure. I work on different parts of my game and as I put what I know to the test, I might get tapped over and over.
    Rolling is like getting the test, and then learning the lesson afterwards.

  2. I really dig this. Fearing the tap is definitely something that has held me back. I don't think it is conscious though. I feel like I go into the roll with the thought that I don't want to lose instead of going into the roll thinking I want to practice my jiu jitsu. Of course I want to win, but I too really want to win using my good technique. Thanks for this. Great reminder for all levels.