Sunday, January 16, 2011

who, what, where, when, how and why

In the who, what, where, when, how and why of life, positioning falls into the "where" category. Where are you? Where is he?

To me that is big topic. From the macro to the micro. In BJJ or any submission wrestling tunnel vision, positioning means only the micro, the very small little positions of your body versus his body. Inches. Half-inches. less. How many times have you heard a BJJ practitioner declare-

"the most important thing I have learned is positioning."

MAN! I have heard it a lot of times.

Think about that. Think about what that actually means inside their world. Think about what that means to them within their confinements. Does it really mean positioning to get a submission hold or a choke? When I hear that remark from a BJJ practitioner (and by that, I mean ANY submission fighter...wrestlers too) I always feel a little uncomfortable for them. I mean, I know what they mean. Yes it is important. But it is very micro in body and mind. It is actually as important as everything is important. I mean, if I said the most important thing to me in a ground fight is breaking the guy's nose, someone would agree me. Positioning my body and my arm so that my hammer fist can be position onto his nose. About six times. Why not seven?

To me, positioning means MANY things, like getting behind cover in a gun fight. Getting outside someones arms for a take down. Working my way to a door way to escape fast. Cutting off an escape route for a fugitive. All that is real world positioning.

If you know me for years now, you know I have these commandments of fighting system doctrine preparation. Macro to micro. Mission. Strategies. Tactics. Situations and on down to micro - the smallest positions. Your training doctrine depends on your mission. Look at this from a WW II perspective:

Mission - invade Europe on D-Day
Strategy - how do we do it? By boat. Beach landings. Air support.
Tactics - what generic tactics do the troops need to execute this strategy
Situational - what specific tactics will a soldier need to fight in these identified
situations. Identify the situations and train those tactics
Positional - the last little section. Probably the most intricate, if there is time to
train it. Learning these tiny specifics of those tactics in those situations.

A wrestlers world is very small. If your world is small, you can worry more and fuss about small things. You can meet at 8 pm twice a week and roll around, working on a mat doing small things, for years and years and years - work for many years, which will do almost NOTHING for preparing you for a wolf pack attack by three thugs at an ATM machine, or killing a Nazi hiding with a subgun in a ruined building. Or dodging a crack head. I mean there is SO MUCH. AND so MUCH positioning involved in everything, that for a fighter to declare that minuscule positioning in a matted ground fight is the most important fighting small. That is not a system geared for real word survival or self defense. You are not just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. You are on the wrong boat.

That kind of micro positioning is not everything when it comes to a mixed weapon, mixed person (size, shapes, strengths) mixed terrain world of combatives.

We fight in a mixed weapon, mixed persons, mixed terrain world.

More on this later.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Trap of Trapping

The Trap of Trapping

I get these questions a lot, and especially lately since Training Mission 9 is being constructed and the official subject of trapping doesn't seem to be in it...

"Has Invading Hands been removed from the UC course, or will it still appear as a separate module?"

"When will you do a trapping hands DVD?"

Yes and no to the both of these questions! But...

There is nothing wrong with isolating and developing skills in parts of any training movement, and trapping is a part. It is only when we erect a shrine in that one part, we start to lose our way. I was once in an empty hand system that did over 100 different kinds of trap sets. Trapping consisted of about 80% of the entire system? Where was the space for the ground fighting? Anything else?

Trapping takes place in less than a camera snapshot of time and on a few, mere inches on the floor - yet for some, trapping gets an entire "range." I have come to think though time, that trapping gets entirely too much attention and many spend a disproportionate amount of training time on it, compared to other bigger, longer events.

And the actual Four Ps:


...are so very simple when you dilute them into their essence, then connect them to hand, stick, knife and gun. I aim to de-mystify trapping! It is indeed the four Ps in the clock directions. And they are easier and smarter to learn when directly connected to bigger events such as the striking and kicking that comes before them and the grappling that comes after them.

Hand trapping is a very short, brief, bridging event, virtually, seamlessly connected to the bigger events before and after the trap.

In fact, it works for people to remove the "Trapping Range" from their range list and simply add traps to end of long-range, or the beginning of grappling range. Giving them their own range, automatically over-emphasizes them. Over emphasizing well..a trap...and confuses people and steers them off into too much trapping (see Remy Presas notes that follows)

Most simple takedowns involves a brief trapping entry and/or trapping connection to the body. In this mixed weapons world, I thought it would be a waste of time to just do the hand-to-hand, trapping-only methods, and given the naysayers and criticisms (some just by the way) I decided to bury trapping into the bigger crashing and grappling events. Naysayers of trapping say-

"That can't work!"

"That won't work!"

They are really observing and commenting on the systems that over-do and over-emphasize trapping at the expense of other range training. YET! These people trap too! And they never make the connection that they do! A UFC fighter will laugh at trapping hand class, yet they do the fundamental moves too! Automatically and seamlessly attached to the end of the crashing and striking range material and the beginning of the grappling range. They just don't travel to a Chinese temple or overdo the study. They seem to do pretty well!

I mean to say that these big crash and takedown fights often contain a quick trap, and in so subtle a fashion, people don't even notice there was a trap involved! Look at jujitsu. It is full of pinning, passing, pulling or pushing the opponent's limbs to get in, get on and do a takedown. Any manipulation of the limbs, these four Ps, are traps, and everyone is doing them as parts of bigger movements. Silat traps. Jujitsu traps, UFC traps, Karate traps...well, everyone traps. But they don't know it? And in this context, the Unarmed Combatives course is already full of "trapping."

I have once even changed the title of the trapping subject to Invading Hands, to escape some of these blind criticisms in an attempt to re-think the whole subject. Trapping ALONE really has never appeared in my UC course. Yet, the course is FULL of traps as they are seamless attached to bigger events.

Many trapping-based systems innocently have bongo-playing moves because in the trap-world, some people think advanced trapping must therefore lead to 4 and 5 deep bongo-playing on the arms. I think this is a misappropriation of training time.

I think what has happened to the Remy Presas system, now almost full time trapping/Tappi-Tappi, and is a classic example of the worst of over-emphasizing trapping. How did that happen? If you spend too much time with the tapi, a Dog Brother is just going to split your head open with a power swing, while slap/tap happy people are waiting to bongo the attackers and go 4 deep with cool, arm manipulations....and BANG! Goes the club to the head! With the over-emphasize on tapi-tapi, you wind up redefining stick fighting and it is well...its wrong. (Old-school Remy was not this way, by the way, only new-school tappi-happy, tapi-tappiers)

To me, trapping transcends just hand-to-hand, and its Four Ps movements occur in a hand, stick, knife and even gun (pistol and long gun) fighting. Anytime you do the four Ps. Given this big, mixed-weapon picture there is enough, good important information to justify a whole hand, stick, knife gun study module, where even bayonet trapping is connected to the basic principles used with the hand. And here is the study worthy of inspection to me.

So, in answer do those asking, "where did the trapping hands go? in the Training Mission and course levels?
Pretty much in the entries to grappling. They almost become invisable! And the critics go away!

Invading Hands, Sticks, Knives and Guns will have its own Training Mission Theme Module and DVD (like Arm Wraps) (an arm wrap by the way, is also trap, an immobilization of a limb). In fact, there is so much uniqueness to knife-only, entry, dueling and trapping with knives, it deserved its whole DVD onto itself, but not a whole knife level.

In summary:

Trapping is the pinning, pushing, pulling or pushing of the opponents limbs to clear a path to a better target.

Trapping skills are mandatory, yet...

Trapping is often over-studied at the expense of other things.

Trapping is better attached to before-and-after methods of a crash and takedown fighting

Trapping is simple and needs to be de-shrined.

Trapping is misunderstood and disrespected because of all of the above

Trapping can work and does work all the time for all systems

Trapping involves hand, AND stick, knife and CQC firearms

Trapping is so quick and deeply embedded in these bigger events and systems, unsophisticated people cannot see it.

As I started this essay out...

"There is nothing wrong with isolating and developing skills in parts of any movement.
Trapping is a part. It is when we erect a shrine in that one part, we start to lose our way."