Incorporating systems into your game
I always enjoy coaching experienced athletes with a well established skill set that they have used for years and working with them to take on new skills and add them to their already existing skills as a means of increasing their effectiveness, or even just giving them the joy of new perspectives and skills on top of what they already know. My good friend, Tom DeBlass is a fine example. He has a highly successful game that he developed over many years of Training that saw him win US ADCC trials on many occasions and compete at the world championships on multiple occasions. As he saw the success of the squad (to whom he is very closely linked - he gave Garry Tonon his black belt and is a great mentor to Gordon and Nicky Ryan) he became interested in studying the various systems we employ. Being a skilled athlete with vast experience in jiu jitsu made it very easy for him to pick up the essential concepts and movements and very soon he started having success in the gym. This weekend at Fight2Win Pro Grappling in Philadelphia he went out with the intention of using that knowledge in classic squad style - sit and battle for inside position, then a fight to off balance the opponent (kuzushi) to get an opponent into vulnerable extended positions from where a solid connection via ashi garami can be attained - from there it’s a task of negating resistance, exposing the heel and then proper breaking mechanics. Mr DeBlass did exactly that - and in quick time - just thirty seconds in and victory via outside heel hook was his. It was a fine example off an athlete who had a certain skill set and added to it. If you have been studying jiu jitsu for some time, I am confident and infusion of our systems based approach can do similar things for you. Sometimes people think that my students became proficient because I began teaching them early - in fact I have had many athletes who started very late in their careers with me and had similar success at learning the various systems. Hats off to Mr DeBlass for taking on a new skill set that he did not need, but did so for the sake of knowledge and learning and did a fine job of demonstrating it.