Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Guest post from Jim Pedro, Sr. : Good matwork is more than winning
This is my philosophy. ...
If you can do a good juji gatame and get everyone with it that doesn't make you a good mat person. Mat work is more than being good at one technique. Matwork is a feel. If you do these drills all of the time you develop a feel. You know where your opponent is going before he goes there.
I remember when I used to drill Jimmy, Jr. when he was five years old and he would have to do these drills continuously, moving from one pin to another, from one technique to another. Before I would work out, I would have him and Tanya do all of these drills with me so they had to anticipate where I was going.
When he was older, whether he was wrestling, or doing judo, he could feel his opponent. They couldn't believe that he knew where they were going before they knew where they were going.
As you can see, in most contests when people are on the mat, they don't usually get that one technique they are trying. They end up letting their opponent up and giving them a chance to beat them standing. I believe you are better off having a sequence of techniques you can go to off that first technique you were starting. If you are almost continually on your opponent, making progress, moving from one technique attempt to another, the referee will allow you to continue mat work, rather than stopping the match, making you get up and re-start from the standing position.
I believe that if you are doing one technique you should learn and know an option of your opponent where they can escape from that technique. Then if that happens and you have been practicing you can automatically go to the second technique and beat your opponent. It doesn't mean you have to do everything robotic. It's the same as doing standing combinations, these are just combinations in mat work that you have to do.
An American System
In other countries, you might have 100,000 judo players, and competitors can do mat work three hours every night with thirty different people. You can develop a feel for matwork that way.
In America - certainly in the vast majority of America, at least - you don't have three hours a night with people for them to develop that feel on the mat. If you only have an hour and a half three times a week, you need to take advantage of all of that time. If you have a system, you can be more efficient. You can directly teach your players by setting up situations.
As far as writing a book, I think when you show techniques everything should be as technically correct and perfect in every photo as it is possible to get them. This is why we have taken some of the same pictures over two or three times. Of course, you realize as a competitor and a coach that not every technique will be done perfectly every time in competition or in practice. However, when people who are not so experienced are reading our book, they may not even know what the exact right way to do a technique is. So, that is why I think we need to show the "perfect" technique - even if it means taking pictures again or re-writing descriptions.
Then, if there are other situations where you are doing a less than perfect technique, or where you are doing things differently, you need to clearly state that this is not the way you would do it normally and explain why you are doing it that way.