If you ever watched even one tournament you've seen this happen ... One person is thrown, knocked or falls to the mat. The other player stands there for a few seconds and either doesn't follow through at all or moves to a different position before going into matwork. Nothing of interest happens and the referee makes them both stand up and start again.
What the hell happened?
Yes, this really is labeled "Secret of matwork #14" in our book.
One reason people will let an opponent have a chance to escape is that they only have a limited number of techniques on the ground. They have to move from the side of the opponent to in front because they don’t have any moves they can do from the opponent’s right side.
There should be no position, no place on the mat, where your opponent is safe from you. For each of these positions, write down what technique you do well enough to do in competition. That is, not just something you can do in a demonstration, but that you can make work against an opponent who is resisting you.
1. You’re knocked down with your back to the ground and the opponent standing in front of you.
2. You’ve knocked down your opponent, his/her back is to the mat and you are standing in front.
3. You miss a technique or are pulled down so that you are on your hands and knees and your opponent is standing in front of you.
4. Your opponent misses a technique or is pulled down so that he/ she is on hands and knees in front of you.
In the photo below both of the players should have practiced attacking from the position she finds herself in.
5. You miss a technique or are pulled down so that you are in front of your opponent with one knee on the ground and still holding on (this is a terrible position, by the way, against a knowledgeable fighter and you should try never to do this).
6. Your opponent misses a technique or is pulled down so that he/ she is in front of you with one knee on the ground and still holding on.
7. You are on all fours with the opponent your side.
8. The opponent is on all fours with you at the side.
Do we need to say it again? In the photo below, whether you are the person on the top or the person on the bottom, you should have practiced an attack from there.
9. You are on your back. The opponent is between your legs.
10. Your opponent is on her back. You’re between her legs.
11. You have been thrown to your stomach and your opponent is behind you.
12. Your opponent has been thrown to the stomach and you are behind him/her.
In this case, for the person on the bottom there is not a very good attack, but what he should have practiced is getting out of there and into a better position.
How do you get an attack from every position? Go back and read some of those posts about drills and repetitions.
We want you to notice something here. All of those pictures above are from one tournament, the 2008 Olympic Trials. If we can go to just one event and find examples of all of these situations, they must occur fairly often. If you know you’re likely to find yourself in a situation, practice for it. It only makes sense.
And that goes not only for positions you're going to find yourself in, like on all fours with the opponent in front of you, it also goes for situations you'll find yourself in, like behind by a yuko and at the edge of the mat. If it's likely to happen, you should practice for it, don't you agree?