Training vs fighting: By John Danaher

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A fundamental tenant of fighting is to avoid your opponent’s strengths whilst imposing your own.

Interestingly, in training I recommend that you often do the exact opposite.

In fighting and competition (shiai) THE OBJECT IS VICTORY.

In training, the object is SKILL DEVELOPMENT – DO NOT CONFUSE THEM.

As such, one of the best ways to train is to identify the strengths of your various partners, AND REGULARLY EXPOSE YOURSELF TO THOSE STRENGTHS.

This is a splendid way to build skills, particularly defensive skills.

Here (Featured Article Picture), Georges St-Pierre works with Nicky Ryan. Of course Mr St-Pierre could easily take Mr Ryan down and play a game of disengagement, but he recognizes that such a tactic would offer very little skill development.

Instead, he opts to maximize training value by going against Mr Ryan’s formidable leg locking and guard passing skills from bottom position.

When students make a clear distinction between training and competition and the different priorities of the two, rapid skill acquisition is common.

Failure to make the distinction usually leads to students who have a small skill set of favorite moves which does not grow over time.

Training sessions tend to become very repetitive and dull.

KEEP IN MIND THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN TRAINING AND COMPETITION AND YOU WILL BE REWARDED WITH GROWTH OVER TIME, no matter how frustrating it may seem in the short term.

Be mindful of one of the central paradoxes of jiu jitsu training.

– THE MORE VULNERABLE YOU MAKE YOURSELF IN THE TRAINING ROOM, THE LESS VULNERABLE YOU WILL BE IN COMPETITION.

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