Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gripping and Your Plan B

Jorge asked a question a few days ago that I did not have the chance to answer as completely as I would have liked. In short, his question was that it seemed like everyone focused on attacking from YOUR grip but isn't there an alternative view, that you should have a Plan B and have something in mind to do when you cannot get your grip for some reason, like that they just beat you to the punch or that you can't break their grip?

My answer to this is that I think you SHOULD always have a Plan B. For example, when I was competing, my first plan was to get both hands on the opponent's right arm and attack before they had a second hand on me. The throws I normally did were right ko uchi makikomi (Jim always calls this ko uchi sutemi) and ippon seoi. I used to do drop ippon seoi before I wore my knee out completely.

However, sometimes, for whatever reason, I could not make that work. Then I would switch and try a left side ko uchi makikomi or a tani otoshi. Here is a really key point - both of those are throws I did a lot, fairly successfully. So, my Plan B was a pretty effective Plan B for me. I PRACTICED those throws a lot.

I asked Jim his opinion and it was pretty similar to mind. He said he really emphasizes the discipline of breaking a grip when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation because far too often what happens when an athlete is in a situation where someone else has the dominant grip, he or she bends over or accommodates in other ways which make it easier for the opponent to throw. Why do you think he/ she wanted that grip in the first place? He did say that they always try to have at least two different grips that a player executes most of his or her throws from.

So, I think we both agreed that it is fine to have a Plan B for when you can't get the grip you most prefer, but that you should be sure it is YOUR plan and not your opponent's.

I had more to say on controlling the match, and some thoughts on uchikomi as conditioning, but since I was too tired when I got back from the meeting in San Diego to finish this blog or do work, it will have to wait for tomorrow.


Jorge Almeida said...

How many times did plan A work? How many times did plan B work?
How many times did plan A work on the first matches or people that were lower in the ranking? How many times did plan B work in finals where the opponents have done their homework and are prepared for your plan A? How many times did you win with another technique? At which stage did you win with other techniques?

One more thought.
Your plan A had 1) right ko uchi makikomi (if they would be leaning backward) and 2) Ippon seoi (if they would be forward). Then you have your plan B. 3) left side ko uchi makikomi and 4) tani otoshi
I can see 4 different techniques that you have practiced intensively. Was it plan A and B or was it plan A,B,C and D?

This said, how many techniques should an international competitor have in their repertoire? Most clubs rotate through teaching all the gokyu through out the year plus more competitive high level techniques from time to time. How much work should a competitor put on learning the different techniques? Of course a good coach should know them all plus their variants and when to use them efficiently, but the international competitor only needs one to win each match.

When I was training for black belt, we used to say with a smile that if someone asked which technique was our Tokui Waza, we would answer "The Gokyu". Everyone knew that it was not true. However, this idea has been engraved in the back of my mind and it was from it that my question about gripping, plan A and plan B came from.
One thing is certain, most top players are known for one technique and not for their extensive use of the 67 kodokan throws. And that speaks louder than answering "the Gokyu".
Thank you for the answers.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

My Plan A depended on the player. So, yes, I had one plan if I had no other information and it worked much of the time. However, if I had tried the ippon seoi - ko uchi on you several times the last time we fought, I would come out with say, left ko uchi this time, but as you noted, I had practiced that left ko uchi A LOT.

When people would ask me what was the grip I preferred, I would tell them "Whatever grip my opponent doesn't want me to have."