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TJ-Jitsu
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 30 Sep 2014
Posts: 316
Location: PA
Styles: Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai

PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:11 am    Post subject: Submission elitism... Reply with quote

I feel like making a provocative post (what else is new?) so I decided to attack BJJ.

"Submission only" is taking BJJ backwards as a good martial art. For a long time when I was in the competition circuit, I would hear fighter "X" say "I don't fight for points, I fight for the submission." The critique was always that "sport" fighters fight for points while "real" fighters try to get the submission. Shortly thereafter sub only tournaments started to open up so that we could see who the "real" champion was. The problem is that we started seeing jiu jitsu that wasn't very impressive (IMO). A "fighter" who falls on their butt and drags it across the mat to "attack" an opponent in a drastic effort to be "world champion."

The first thing to point out is that "sub only" is supposedly a new idea for grappling and we're to believe that its a new concept but it isn't. Its been around for a long time... its called catch wrestling.

What JJ'ers thought was going to happen by eliminating points was eliminating the stalling you see so often when a fighter gets a lead so "ah ha!" fighters will start to attempt to finish the fight when they get to a particular position! The reality was that with no incentive to pass a guard or get dominant position, fighters had no reason to learn or attempt to learn how to do it- why put all this time and effort into passing or sweeping when theres no reward for it? May as well just fall on a foot and attempt leglocks all day long. What we have now though is jiu jitsu fighters that have no takedowns, no sweeps, no pressure and in short- have gaping holes in their game.

Consider, BJJ was made for fighting. It was developed, tested, and forged on the streets of Brazil for an absolute fighting style that would win when there are no rules. This is precisely why points are awarded for getting a dominant position in BJJ- it reflects just how important said position would be in a real fight. Sub only ignores this concept and becomes its polar opposite with submission being the ultimate (indeed only) way to win. This is BJJ elitism in my opinion. My submission game is very unique and it works particularly well, but I recognize that submissions are far from the only way to win a fight. Very often in a fight, position can be a submission... when you drop unrelenting strikes on your opponent from there. This is why you see styles like wrestling that do exceptionally well in MMA because they emphasize the importance of step #1- get a dominant position (i.e. be on top). Often they don't have particularly good submissions but nor do they need to because they'll just continue to pound and punish their opponent.

In an attempt to deal with this dilemma, EBI has started to allow open hand strikes when on the ground. Another "new idea" that's not particularly new.... they've just reinvented Pancrase
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singularity6
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Joined: 26 Jun 2017
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Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I've mentioned several times already, we train TKD and Hapkido "simultaneously." Submissions are great, but so is palm-strikes to the face.
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sensei8
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Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Singularity6 wrote:
Quote:
Submissions are great, but so is palm-strikes to the face.

Biting works too!!

I believe that biting could be under the heading of a submission. Or a kindly knee to the groin could be under the same heading.



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TJ-Jitsu
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Joined: 30 Sep 2014
Posts: 316
Location: PA
Styles: Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai

PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
Singularity6 wrote:
Quote:
Submissions are great, but so is palm-strikes to the face.

Biting works too!!

I believe that biting could be under the heading of a submission. Or a kindly knee to the groin could be under the same heading.




Let's call it an option that's dependent on how good a position one is in. It can be done but it's effectiveness depends on how good your position is.
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sensei8
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Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TJ-Jitsu wrote:
sensei8 wrote:
Singularity6 wrote:
Quote:
Submissions are great, but so is palm-strikes to the face.

Biting works too!!

I believe that biting could be under the heading of a submission. Or a kindly knee to the groin could be under the same heading.




Let's call it an option that's dependent on how good a position one is in. It can be done but it's effectiveness depends on how good your position is.

I wholeheartedly concur!! Like in anything, position is everything.




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Wado Heretic
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Styles: Wado-Ryu , Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu (Kodokan), RyuKyu Kobojutsu

PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be a pedant I would not say they reinvented Pancrase; that was open palm strikes to the head standing. Technically; there was no rules against striking on the ground, besides the no closed hands to the head rule. Something that can be seen in the infamous Rutten-Frank Shamrock fight. However, a gentleman's agreement between the competitors, and the expectations of the fans essentially made striking on the ground non-existent.

With that said; I have to say I tend to agree to an extent with regards to the criticisms. My grappling is not spectacular; I have only gone through the technical blue-belt material (GUU), Bart Vale's particular version of Shoot-fighting, and a few ranks in Judo. However, I have found my defence sufficient to roll with submission only fighters, and my offence enough to cause No-Gi players a headache. I rarely get a result worth writing home about, but I tend to find I enjoy (from a trying to learn how to win perspective) rolling with Submission only players the most.

This, to use the Pancrase comparison, was very true of even Pancrase's aces. Without striking on the ground, they neglected positional work and emphasised an aggressive catch inspired approach. Similarly, as they practiced without Gi, they never developed grip fighting skills which can be critical when dealing with the mount; both offensively and defensively. This caused both Ken Shamrock and Bas Rutten, arguably the most dominant Pancrase champions, to falter when they entered Vale Tudo, and MMA, contests under rules more consistent with the modern standards.

All that said; I tend to find points fighters are more aggressive, and tend to work at a pace I currently struggle to keep up with. However, I also find they tend to struggle to lock in the submissions when they finally get the catch. It does not matter so much as they tend to work from a good position, but it is one flaw I have noticed. I have to say I only get a chance to roll once in a blue moon, and only with a very small sample, so I would take my observations with a pinch of salt. I do think they are some what consistent with what we see with certain transitions from other combat sports, in particular grappling ones, to the world of Mixed Martial Arts.

I do think adding in striking on the ground is an interesting move forward, and should hopefully encourage use of positioning that has been lacking.
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TJ-Jitsu
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 30 Sep 2014
Posts: 316
Location: PA
Styles: Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai

PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wado Heretic wrote:
To be a pedant I would not say they reinvented Pancrase; that was open palm strikes to the head standing. Technically; there was no rules against striking on the ground, besides the no closed hands to the head rule. Something that can be seen in the infamous Rutten-Frank Shamrock fight. However, a gentleman's agreement between the competitors, and the expectations of the fans essentially made striking on the ground non-existent.

With that said; I have to say I tend to agree to an extent with regards to the criticisms. My grappling is not spectacular; I have only gone through the technical blue-belt material (GUU), Bart Vale's particular version of Shoot-fighting, and a few ranks in Judo. However, I have found my defence sufficient to roll with submission only fighters, and my offence enough to cause No-Gi players a headache. I rarely get a result worth writing home about, but I tend to find I enjoy (from a trying to learn how to win perspective) rolling with Submission only players the most.

This, to use the Pancrase comparison, was very true of even Pancrase's aces. Without striking on the ground, they neglected positional work and emphasised an aggressive catch inspired approach. Similarly, as they practiced without Gi, they never developed grip fighting skills which can be critical when dealing with the mount; both offensively and defensively. This caused both Ken Shamrock and Bas Rutten, arguably the most dominant Pancrase champions, to falter when they entered Vale Tudo, and MMA, contests under rules more consistent with the modern standards.

All that said; I tend to find points fighters are more aggressive, and tend to work at a pace I currently struggle to keep up with. However, I also find they tend to struggle to lock in the submissions when they finally get the catch. It does not matter so much as they tend to work from a good position, but it is one flaw I have noticed. I have to say I only get a chance to roll once in a blue moon, and only with a very small sample, so I would take my observations with a pinch of salt. I do think they are some what consistent with what we see with certain transitions from other combat sports, in particular grappling ones, to the world of Mixed Martial Arts.

I do think adding in striking on the ground is an interesting move forward, and should hopefully encourage use of positioning that has been lacking.


Curious- why do you think grip fighting skills are essential for a good mount?
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Wado Heretic
Green Belt
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Joined: 23 May 2014
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Location: United Kingdom, England, Shropshire
Styles: Wado-Ryu , Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu (Kodokan), RyuKyu Kobojutsu

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it helps with preventing sweep attempts; if you have some awareness of how to deal with what your opponent is doing with his arms below you. Not that grip fighting is necessarily reflective of this, I just find grip fighting trains a certain awareness for this aspect of fighting. In particular defences, and controlling an opponent's defence.

As I said; I am not a hugely knowledgeable grappler so I would take my opinion with a pinch of salt. It is just something I have observed.

Edit: I think I read some where that Jean Jacques Machado made a similar assessment about learning to defend effectively, with regards to 10th Planet Jujutsu, and the emphasis on No-Gi. Top of my head, that is the only real authority on the matter I can think of that somewhat supports my basic assessment.
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tallgeese
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Joined: 04 May 2008
Posts: 6851
Location: McHenry County, IL
Styles: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Bujin Bugei Jutsu, Gokei Ryu Kempo Jutsu, MMA, Shootfighting, boxing, kickboxing, JKD, Pekiti Tersia Kali

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Submission elitism... Reply with quote

TJ-Jitsu wrote:
I feel like making a provocative post (what else is new?) so I decided to attack BJJ.

"Submission only" is taking BJJ backwards as a good martial art. For a long time when I was in the competition circuit, I would hear fighter "X" say "I don't fight for points, I fight for the submission." The critique was always that "sport" fighters fight for points while "real" fighters try to get the submission. Shortly thereafter sub only tournaments started to open up so that we could see who the "real" champion was. The problem is that we started seeing jiu jitsu that wasn't very impressive (IMO). A "fighter" who falls on their butt and drags it across the mat to "attack" an opponent in a drastic effort to be "world champion."

The first thing to point out is that "sub only" is supposedly a new idea for grappling and we're to believe that its a new concept but it isn't. Its been around for a long time... its called catch wrestling.

What JJ'ers thought was going to happen by eliminating points was eliminating the stalling you see so often when a fighter gets a lead so "ah ha!" fighters will start to attempt to finish the fight when they get to a particular position! The reality was that with no incentive to pass a guard or get dominant position, fighters had no reason to learn or attempt to learn how to do it- why put all this time and effort into passing or sweeping when theres no reward for it? May as well just fall on a foot and attempt leglocks all day long. What we have now though is jiu jitsu fighters that have no takedowns, no sweeps, no pressure and in short- have gaping holes in their game.

Consider, BJJ was made for fighting. It was developed, tested, and forged on the streets of Brazil for an absolute fighting style that would win when there are no rules. This is precisely why points are awarded for getting a dominant position in BJJ- it reflects just how important said position would be in a real fight. Sub only ignores this concept and becomes its polar opposite with submission being the ultimate (indeed only) way to win. This is BJJ elitism in my opinion. My submission game is very unique and it works particularly well, but I recognize that submissions are far from the only way to win a fight. Very often in a fight, position can be a submission... when you drop unrelenting strikes on your opponent from there. This is why you see styles like wrestling that do exceptionally well in MMA because they emphasize the importance of step #1- get a dominant position (i.e. be on top). Often they don't have particularly good submissions but nor do they need to because they'll just continue to pound and punish their opponent.

In an attempt to deal with this dilemma, EBI has started to allow open hand strikes when on the ground. Another "new idea" that's not particularly new.... they've just reinvented Pancrase


I kinda agree with what you're saying here. I get really tired of hearing it. The "He's a point fighter..." ignores the fact that by getting takedown points, passing guard, and holding position is pretty dominating. Don't want to lose to points? Get better at escapes.

I'll go a step further though, I also get really irritated by people who bash guard pulling. It's one of the major positions of our sport. It gets people to our game. Don't like people pulling guard? Get better at passing.

We get so wrapped up in what each of us THINK jiu jitsu should be we've ignored the fact that 20 years of evolution has brought us to some pretty interesting positions.
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bushido_man96
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Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the topic, TJ, and you've made some good points in your statements. I do think that being able to pull guard and defend from there is very important, but in the end, being on the top position is the better place to be (especially coming from the law enforcement perspective).
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