Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Statistics and Armbars

I can't remember whether it was my daughter, Ronda, or my niece, Samantha, who first told me about the sherdog site. What they have in common is that they are both in their twenties and find stuff cool and interesting that too me is as exciting as watching your cat eat a bug. That is, a little gross but interesting the first time, which for me, was about 45 years ago.

So .... I was very pleasantly surprised when in searching I came across what is now my most favoritest forum thread on the internet, I refer, my friends to the Sherdog UFC Factoid (Useless Info Thread).

They documented what I had suspected for a while

which is that not too many people lose by arm bar in mixed martial arts.  It is clear from these data that the percentage of wins by submission are going down - it's the purple line (the top one for those of you who are color-blind or visually impaired [Hi, Tina!] ) - the one that hits a peak over 70% in the 1990s and is around 20% now.

There is also some data, albeit less, on the Sherdog site that suggests arm bars are declining as a percentage of submissions.

Why would that be so? Well, I think in both a rear naked choke (referred to in judo as hadaka time - Japanese for "naked choke") and arm bars, a person who is unfamiliar with the technique can lose even when the execution is pretty sloppy. If they have no idea what the hell you are planning to do with that arm or behind their back, they won't start defending until it is too late.

So ... early on, you see lots of people losing by submissions. Then, two things happened.  One, a fairly large number of people realized that if a person is jumping on your back, they are probably going for a choke and you should get them off of there and if they are grabbing your arm, they are probably going to arm bar you so you should get it back. Two, more people actually started doing submissions, which made them even harder to catch because once you do a technique yourself you are better at sensing when someone is setting you up.

Most people became harder to submit and a few people became a lot harder to submit.

Wouldn't more people doing submissions mean more people would be submitted? Not necessarily. What I suspect (and the data bear me out) is that the general population of fighters has gotten better at defending half-ass arm bars, so more people doing half-ass arm bars is not going to increase the number of submissions.

Every time I go to a mixed martial arts event I see a lot of fighters whose matwork just sucks. I know high school English teachers always say that there is never a time when there isn't a more appropriate way to write a description of something. They are wrong. The matwork of most fighters in the UFC just sucks.

Does this mean that judo players are all of a sudden going to go into the UFC and wipe up the mat with all the mixed martial artists? You can read my post on that here. Short answer: I don't fucking think so.

As Rick Hawn said, more nicely than me, there is a difference between doing judo and getting punched in the face.

What is the solution? Practice. Practice. Practice. Learn some arm bars that don't suck.

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Anonymous said...

Strategy plays a role here too. Its a whole lot easier to defend a submission than to apply one. Many fighters look to stall out on the ground so they can get back to standing and go for the KO.
That also means the rules add a bit to these trends too. The current ruleset actually favors strikers slightly, because KOs are a little more accessible to folks that have never watched MMA or grappling before.
Of course, that also means that takedowns are suffering. I think once people can defend a decent double leg, they're not likely, or less likely to face a different type of takedown.

Jakob Enlund said...

Is this book for sale on any online store? :) would be nice to read it, but I live in Finland so I don`t have the chance to buy it from a bookstore here I think :)

regards Jakob

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Hi, Jakob -
Yes, it is available in just about every possible ebook format.

Here Or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble .com and other sites