Knowing what you want to do
Imagine a Genie came to you and said he would give you both a tremendous blessing and a tremendous curse. You ask him what the blessing is and he says, “ I will give you all the skills to accomplish whatever you want in life!” You are overjoyed at this wonderful news and the powers it will give. Then you ask, “So what’s the curse?” He replies, “ You will have no ability to decide what you want to do.” Will you ever accomplish anything with those new incredible skills of yours? No - not a thing. SKILLS CAN ONLY BE IMPLEMENTED WHEN YOU HAVE A NOTION OF WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. That is, A SENSE OF DIRECTION IS A NECESSARY PRECURSOR TO SKILL IMPLEMENTATION. So often I see people teach and learn jiu jitsu as though it were only a set of skills. THOSE SKILLS ARE ONLY AS USEFUL AS YOUR ABILITY TO CLEARLY IDENTIFY WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH. It is worthless to teach skills without giving an athlete a general sense of direction so that he or she can actually put them into operation. That is why I always imbed skills in general tactical plans. The best way to do this is in short and simple sequences that give order and direction to the skills. So for example, in ashi garami based heel hooking skills, there are four basic tasks arranged in a sequence that are necessary for the successful completion of the move. First, you have gain entry and connection to the opponent’s legs and hips. Second, you have to expose the heel. Third, you have to negate the various lines of resistance, usually by undermining the defensive potential of the secondary leg. Then last, break the opponent. When the athlete is absolutely clear conceptually as to what needs to be done - he or she will naturally exhibit the skills they have trained to get it done. CONFUSION AT THE LEVEL OF DIRECTION WILL ALWAYS PARALYZE THE STUDENT AT THE LEVEL OF EXECUTION. Here, Gordon Ryan has clearly formed a solid connection, exposed the heel of Keenan Cornelius, compromised resistance by interfering with secondary leg - all that remains is to go for the finish. Crystal clear sense of direction creates quick and positive action- one without the other is worthless.