The following is a guest post written by Vlad Koulikov & Javier Palomo
Kimura… If you’re into Jiu-Jitsu, grappling and MMA you might have heard that word once or twice.
For those who do not know, it’s an arm lock (or shoulder lock as some people consider it) named after the famous Japanese judoka (someone who practices Judo) Masahiko Kimura.
It’s generally considered a bent arm lock as far as categorization goes, where the pressure builds up in the shoulder joint forcing a recipient to tap out and surrender. However, as you’ll see in some of the supplied examples, it’s the elbow or humerus that often breaks if an unfortunate victim decides not to submit or gives up too late.
Why is it called The Kimura?
General nomenclature bills the submission hold as the “Kimura” after an iconic match took place between one of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) founders, Helio Gracie and Mr Kimura himself.
The mastery and skill of Mr Kimura had Brazilians name it after the man himself, although the Japanese name, Ude-Garami, already existed in Judo.
Since Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most popular grappling arts on the planet, the hold is best known under that name. But the arm lock is not indigenous to BJJ and Judo only.
The anatomy of the human arm implies that there are only a few ways you can bend or twist the limb to damage it, so naturally, the submission can be seen in many other submission fighting styles: Chin Na, Luta Livre, Sambo.
Behold Catch As Catch Can Wrestling (CACC)
Catch Wrestler Billy Robinson Demonstrates A Standing Double Wrist Lock
The submission exists in that wrestling style as well. Moreover, it’s one of the fundamental holds in CACC, where it’s identified as the “double wrist lock” (DWL).
The idea behind the Kimura and the DWL is identical, however, there are plenty of differences, most notably the use of a thumbless grip (so-called “monkey grip”) vs gripping with the thumb (“motorcycle grip” or “c clamp”). There are other subtle differences that vary, such as gripping nuances and application of rotation.
Generally in BJJ, the submission hold in question is taught with a thumbless grip to deliver more pressure and avoid thumb locking yourself as the opponent tries to wrench his arm free. Where in CACC the hold is taught using the thumb while gripping. The alleged benefit of it is the firm control of the wrist and defence prevention.
Tony Cecchine Explains The Variation Between Using The Thumb & A Thumbless Grip
The “True” Kimura Grip
I’ve personally heard enough pros and cons for either style of gripping that I think there’s no formula that fits all.
My philosophy is: if it works for YOU then use whatever grip.
Ironically enough, as pictured here, Masahiko Kimura himself used the grip with the thumb on the opponent’s wrist and a thumbless grip on his own forearm.
Additional KIMURA Grips
Below are a few of the different gripping variations that can be used to establish control of the kimura and apply the pressure required to execute the submission.
Javier Palomo Demonstrating The Knuckle Grip Kimura
Satoshi Ishii Demonstrating The Power Grip Kimura
Vlad Koulikov Demonstrating The FBI Grip Kimura
Additional KIMURA Finishes
It can also be finished with one hand either by bending (chicken wing) or actually extending the arm.
Michael Chiesa Submits Carlos Condit At UFC 232 With a One-Armed Kimura
Nick Diaz Submits Josh Neer At UFC 62 With A Kimura
The Reverse Kimura
Lastly, there is the so-called “Reverse Kimura”. The grip has been used a lot in Freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling mostly for throws. The reverse Kimura can be utilized in Jiu-Jitsu, too. For further information, Budo Jake also has an instructional about the technique.
One technique utilising the reverse kimura grip is the “Zangief Roll”. The technique is a combination of throw and submission made popular by The Ultimate Fighter competitor and BJJ black belt Jacen Flynn. Although the Kimura is usually finished from top side control or bottom guard, sometimes it’s also finished from top half guard.
Jacen Flynn performs a Zangief Roll at Gracie Worlds 2014 Black Belt Division
Jacen Flynn performs another Zangief Roll using the Reverse Kimura Grip
The Kimura as a Position
Not only is the Kimura an actual submission, but pretty versatile hold for many other jobs in grappling. One can sweep from one’s guard, use the hold to pass someone’s guard, apply a takedown, take the opponents back, advance in other positions and use it for general control.
Most cops I’ve trained over the years swear by the effectiveness of the hold while arresting or apprehending a suspect. That tells you something about its usage for pure control!
Kimura As A Takedown
Karo Parisyan Submits Dave Strasser with a Kimura From Sumi Gaeshi At UFC 44
Kimura As A Guard Pass
Beneil Dariush passes the guard of Drew Dober using a Kimura at UFC Fight Night 146.
Kimura To Take The Back
Goiti Yamauchi Uses the Kimura To Take The Back of Isao Kobayashi At Bellator 144.
Quite a few Kimura specialists have appeared in MMA and grappling. To name a few: Kazushi Sakuraba, David Avellan, Maui Maui, Chris Brennan, Vagner Rocha and many others. All these mentioned athletes do have their own instructional material on Kimura, feel free to check them out.
Notable Kimura Uses
Here are a few final notable examples of Kimura use in high-level competitions and classic matches.
Mark Schultz uses a Double Wrist Lock to takedown his opponent (and break the arm)on his way to winning Gold at the 1984 Olympic Games.
Kazushi Sakuraba Submits Renzo Gracie With A Kimura.
In this Guest Post From Dr Ian Dunican, He looks at the aftermath of UFC 233 where Tony Ferguson suffered an injury resulting in a missed bout and how it relates to the requirements of combat athletes to sleep while cutting weight.
Although bouts getting cancelled, card reshuffles and late replacements are not that uncommon, UFC 223 had a particularly interesting and somewhat crazy week in the lead up to the main event. Multiple changes to the fight card and the fighters as a result of injury, weight cutting issues and poor behaviour. Let’s take a look at some of the underlying physiological components that may have contributed to these changes.
The interim lightweight (155 lb) champion, Tony Ferguson is renowned for his all-out approach to his fight camp, including training at altitude in big bear, unorthodox strength and conditioning methods (See Tony Ferguson kicks a steel pipe in training) However, training hard needs to go hand in hand with training smart. Late night sessions at 01:30 in the morning in addition to his daily strength and conditioning (Tony Ferguson: “Late Night Sesh A Success”) may be negatively affecting the recovery process.
Sleep for Physical Repair
This is specifically the period when Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep should be occurring. Whilst many processes occur during sleep, this phase of NREM is predominately for “physical repair” with the release of growth hormone a vital requirement for an athlete in camp. Lack of sleep and mistiming of sleep can lead to an increase in the likelihood of injury and affects daily cognitive performance including reaction time. In industrial settings, this may result in slips, trips and falls.
“Updating the software without damaging the hardware”
– John Kavanagh
Whilst replication of your fight conditions and fight time at least three weeks out from a scheduled fight is recommended, a sensible approach should be employed including delaying the next day time of wake to increase sleep duration. This will allow your body and mind to get used to staying awake at the time of the fight and more importantly being active during this time. You don’t have to spar hard during this period, but you should be drilling, moving or doing some light sparring. As John Kavanagh says, “Updating the software without damaging the hardware”. Notable fighters who employ this strategy include Conor McGregor, Michael Bisping, Nick and Nate Diaz.
Adapting For Fighting In Different Time Zones
Max Holloway should be commended on taking a fight on six days’ notice and weighing in at 171 lbs at the start of fight week. It seems the odds were stacked against Holloway from the start. The potential confounding factor for Holloway not being able to cut the weight may be due to circadian misalignment (Jet – Lag). Holloway flew from Hawaii to New York City (NYC) crossing 6-time zones.
Adaptation in general requires one day for one-time zone crossing, meaning Holloway would not be fully adjusted to the NYC until at least Friday (weigh-in day). The side effects from jet lag include digestive issues such as bloating, gas, diarrhoea and difficulty in regulating appetite and may result in lethargy (UFC 223 Embedded: – Episode 4), diminished strength and difficulty sleeping.
Jet Lag & Sleep strategy
These are all important factors that may affect a weight cut of 16 lbs in six days. It is also of interest that flying eastward (Hawaii – NYC) is more difficult to adapt to as opposed to flying westward. In contrast, flying in a westward direction is easier to adapt (Dublin – NYC). This may be why McGregor was not suffering from any of the physical effects of jet lag in NYC such as diminished strength or lethargy, but some would argue that his cognitive performance and decision making was impaired.
It may be beneficial for top tier fighters to consult a Physiologist / Sleep / Performance expert in the future to plan fight camps, travel and fight week or even on late notice.
To hear more from Ian you can listen to my podcast with him on how Combat Athletes can Sleep In And Win!
Dr Ian C Dunican PhD, MBA, MMineEng, BA
Ian holds a PhD title for “Sleep and Performance in Elite Combat and Contact Athletes” and has worked with combat athletes at the Australian Institute of Sport, Super Rugby, Australian Rules Football, UFC and many more. He was a TEDX Perth speaker in 2017. Contact him at Sleep4Performance, in Perth, Western Australia.
“Leave your ego at the door” is a common phrase you will see written on the walls of martial arts gyms everywhere. But it has always amused me because it would be almost impossible to do unless everyone had an existential crisis as they walked through the door.
But more than merely being helpful, considerate and courteous to people, I think it might be useful to interpret it as not being fearful of receiving feedback or experiencing failure in the learning process.
To simplify the process, we can experience failure and either laugh or cry about it. You probably have to do both at some points, and only ever having one reaction would possibly lead to negative consequences. Maybe accepting it as just the way things are and an unremarkable, expected, and natural part of the process seems to be the healthiest attitude. You might feel awkward, uncomfortable and embarrassed, but no need to make it worse by thinking that those feelings would be rare.
Of course, you will find these new movements and skills difficult at first. Unless you started training as a child, we all come to martial arts at a stage of life when we are probably skilled in different areas, at the very least whatever you do for a profession would give you skills in one area that most people in the same room do not possess.
Everyone would likely struggle if they stepped into your day to day activities and had to learn on the job. It’s the expected outcome, predictable and we shouldn’t let it surprise us, throw us off or discourage us from persisting.
Understanding that process could then lead to the more common interpretation of the saying of basically not being arrogant or a jerk. Then maybe becoming less arrogant and more understanding of other peoples struggles and your own could then, in turn, make you a more peaceful person?
Using Jiu-Jitsu To Leave Your Ego At The Door?
If you want to try that out, then martial arts might be an excellent vehicle to do so. Possibly because on some level, fighting or physical struggle has a deeper meaning with a long history in humans nature than other modern skills you could learn.
Im not doubting that you could get the same lessons through other professions, but martial arts does seem to have some exceptional qualities to it if that might be what you are looking to achieve in regards to loss of ego.
Or maybe im overthinking it (more than likely) and simply put, just don’t be a goose and injure anyone in the mat by going too hard.
A Cutman at an MMA fight is responsible for treating a fighters lacerations or swelling in the one-minute break between rounds. Therefore, a cutman’s duties include getting the fighters to perform at their highest level of ability by minimising the effects of cuts and lacerations that could hinder their performance. Also, if cuts become too severe, it may lead to a fight being called off by a referee or doctor so in some situations a cutman’s work could make the difference between winning and losing a contest.
All major MMA promotions will provide corners with their cutmen; a smaller show may provide one cutman per fight and rely on the chance of both fighters requiring a cutman from not occurring. However, at smaller regional shows a cutman may not be provided at all, and it will be expected that the coach or cornerman of a fighter will fill this role.
Learning the skills required to be a cutman can be through an informal apprenticeship where you could help out a more experience cutman in their duties and learn on the job. In this case, you will have more success finding experienced cutmen in boxing clubs and venues rather than in the MMA circuit. Otherwise, a few formal training courses exist online and around the world that attempt to pass on the knowledge while providing an “Official Cutman” certification upon completion. The article below will give an overall guide as to what is required, but real insight will come through working corners and getting experience 60 seconds at a time.
The Equipment of a Cutman
The lists of equipment for a cutman will be as follows and may include some crossover with the equipment you would be expected to carry as a cornerman. Enswell, coagulant, vaseline, gauze, cotton swabs & towels.
The Enswell (Sometimes called an End Swell or No Swell) is the most distinctive piece of equipment in a cutman’s toolkit, and It is merely a flat piece of metal that is kept cold and used to apply pressure to cuts or swelling on a fighters face. Different styles and variations on design exist for enswells, but their essential use is all the same and can come down to personal preference as to what type you would use.
As you want to keep the enswell cold for its use, it should be kept stored in your bucket of ice on fight night, and a thin layer of vaseline can be applied to the enswell to prevent the metal from being so cold that it would stick to a fighter’s skin when used. In the event that you cannot find an enswell to use any small piece of metal can be used as a makeshift enswell providing that it doesn’t have any sharp edges that could cause a cut. A simple bent spoon is always a good option that is available to use if necessary.
A coagulant is a medicine used to assist in clotting the blood to stop or slow the flow of bleeding from a cut. The most common and available coagulant used by cutmen is adrenaline 1:1000 or epinephrine. The epinephrine can be applied to cotton swabs and then pressed directly onto a cut to in-between rounds. It can come in bottles that are designed to be used for injections so it can be useful to transfer the liquid into an eyedropper bottle which is easier to apply to a cotton swab. Also, you may need to get the adrenaline from a doctor or nurse, so if it is unavailable, a hemostatic gauze is also another option to use.
Hemostatic Gauze is a medicated gauze strip that contains a coagulant in it to promote blood clotting that usually is either zeolite or kaolin. The hemostatic gauze can be cut into smaller pieces that can be applied directly to a fighters cuts in between rounds. Other coagulants do exist, but adrenaline is the most commonly used by cutmen, and hemostatic dressings may be the most easily available over the counter option available from pharmacy or military surplus stores.
A cotton swab is used as the application method for the coagulant and to apply pressure against a cut. Many cutmen will use a wristband that they store multiple cotton swabs in that they have prepared before a fight. Cotton swabs can also help in treating a bloody nose as they will be able to fit up a fighters nostril and help with stopping the bleeding.
The cotton swabs used by famed cutman Jacob “Stitch” Duran are not your regular swabs used for cleaning out the ear. Instead, he will purchase cotton balls roll them out as much as possible and then cut and attach them to smaller cotton swabs to help bulk them out so they can contain more adrenaline and cover a larger area (Bartlett, 2008).
Petroleum jelly is more commonly known by the brand name vaseline and is an essential piece of kit for any corner to have. Vaseline will be applied to a fighters face before they enter the ring or cage as a preventative measure to avoid cuts by helping gloves slide off the fighters face rather than sticking and breaking the skin. When dealing with an existing cut, vaseline will be applied entirely over the wound as a filler to help “seal” it up and help prevent further bleeding.
When using vaseline as a filler, it can be kept cold which will make it harder and more malleable, but this can also make it more difficult for a doctor to clean and stitch together after the fight. The vaseline can also be mixed with adrenaline 1:1000 to provide an additional application of the coagulant to the wound.
One large white towel should be kept for wiping down a fighters shoulders and back and in the unfortunate situation where it may need to be thrown into the ring or cage to halt a contest. Multiple smaller face or hand towels should also be in the toolkit and kept damp on fight night for use in wiping fighters face clean of any blood or vaseline between rounds or at the end of the fight. The smaller wet towel will be easier to handle and manipulate along the curves of a fighter’s face than the standard large towel which has a rough texture when kept dry.
Other Cutman Tools
A cutman may use various other pieces of equipment with a lot of crossover with standard corners supplies. Latex gloves are one piece of additional equipment. Wearing gloves is simply a hygiene issue as dealing with open cuts you want to keep your hands as clean as possible to prevent infection. A bucket will be required to help store all the other piece of the kit and taken to ringside. Fishing tackle toolboxes can also be useful to store all the smaller pieces of equipment between fights.
Icepacks to help keep your enswell cold or apply to a fighter are also helpful to keep in your tool kit. Plastic zip lock bags make for cheap and useful ice packs as you can fill them with ice you get at the venue. Ziplock bags should be double wrapped to help prevent them from accidentally opening and spilling ice on the floor when used.
What to do In-Between Rounds
During the closing thirty seconds of a round, you should begin to assess what work will need to be done during the break. While a cut could still occur from the last punch in the last second of a round, you should always begin to form a general plan before the bell rings. After the bell rings, you will then need to assess the severity of cuts as soon as you are allowed into the ring or cage.
A judgment will then need to be made about what will be worked on during the minute break with priority going to preventing the fight from being stopped and then too, which cut impairs the fighter the most (Matuszak, 2015). In general working out how you will work with other members of the fighters corner who will be wanting to provide technical instruction should be discussed backstage before the show starts.
The following image is a guide to help assess the severity of the cuts according to their placement on the fighters face. The most common and severe cuts you will deal with are ones running horizontally along the eyebrow. These cuts are dangerous as they can bleed into the eye and obscure the fighter’s vision and if they are deep enough they can damage important nerves (Gelber, 2016).
Cuts that have occurred within zones 1 and 2 are the most serious and may need you to consider ending the bout. Cuts within all other zones will require careful inspection of their depth to make a judgement call
SUMMARY OF LACERATION ZONES
tarsal plate, lacrimal sac
nasolabial fold with facial artery
superficial temporal artery, facial nerve (at the zygomatic bone)
facial artery at masseter
mental nerve (Gelber, 2016).
Working with Cuts
The number one technique to use when dealing with cuts or swelling is to apply cold direct pressure to the affected area to compress the blood vessels and help contribute to the clotting that needs to occur. Doing too much else can end up making things worse, so unless you are confident in what you are doing or find yourself in a unique situation, it would be best to stick to the basics. Even without adrenaline to apply to the wound merely adhering to the basic principle of applying cold direct pressure will be the most important thing you can do.
The first thing to do when dealing with a cut is to quickly clean the area with your small wet towel, which should be cold from being kept in the ice bucket. Then as soon as possible, applying pressure to the cuts with gauze or your cotton swabs soaked in adrenaline should be done if you have them. You could also place the enswell on top of the swab to apply pressure and cold at the same time. When the break is coming to an end, then you will remove the gauze or swab to apply vaseline to the cut. The vaseline should be used over and into the cut to act as a filler and should be seen to seal up the wound to the best of its ability.
Nosebleeds will be another common injury you will deal with as a cutman. Again wiping the blood away from the nose with your small wet towel should be done straight away. Then immediately placing an adrenaline-soaked cotton swab up the bleeding nose of the fighter while applying pressure to hold it in place from the outside of the nose should be done.
It would help if you were careful not to pressure both nostrils as you still want the fighter to be able to breathe but as you work on stopping the bleeding advise the fighter to breathe through their mouth, so they do not swallow blood. You should also caution a fighter not to blow their nose if you suspect that the nose is broken.
Dealing with Swelling
As with cuts, the most important technique you can do is to apply cold direct pressure to the wound using your enswell o if you didn’t have one then even an ice pack will do. Some cutmen will advise to rub swelling out to try and lessen it, and I have seen this used to move swelling away from the eye, but this is a technique that Jacob “Stitch” Duran strongly advises against as it can make the swelling worse (Markarian, 2010). Cold direct pressure to any swelling will still be your most used technique in dealing with swelling. Vaseline should also be applied to any swelling before the break ends to help with reducing the chances of the skin tearing on a swollen area and turning into a cut.
Other Duties of a Cutman
Dealing with cuts between rounds is the primary duty of a cutman, but other skills may also be useful to master and cover the scope of a cutman. Wrapping hands would be the number one skill cutmen would also be expected to have, and I will cover this in another article. Along with wrapping hands, general skills in applying sports tape to other parts of the athlete will also be useful and general first aid skills to help assist in fighters well being after the fight will be suitable to acquire.
General people skills are also useful for a cutman to have as they will need to negotiate with corners to figure out how they will operate in between rounds. On top of that, giving the fighter confidence that they are working with is also helpful as it can help calm them in-between rounds and provide them with confidence backstage going into a fight. Part of the trust you can instil in a fighter can be done by building a reputation as being the best at your craft so that when they know you are working with them, they feel confident in your abilities.
Cutman: Sixty Seconds to Work
Being a cutman will always be a pressure-filled role as you have sixty seconds to work within where you will need to prioritise what you do and work effectively with the rest of the corner. It may be repeated twice or four times within a fight. With that in mind have a good handle on your equipment and what you will do with them ahead of time will make you better prepared when the time to work on a cut comes.
If you spend time in a fight gym, you may want to keep your toolkit in your gym bag. If a fighter gets cut during practice or sparring, then it may allow you to work with a cut without the pressure of the 1-minute time limit and gain some experience. Otherwise except for the few cutmen courses that are available then first-hand experience working on fights will be your best teacher or if you are lucky you will be able to find someone willing to let you shadow them and learn the craft.
Dealing with cuts is all about helping your fighter be the best they can be and also keeping them as safe as possible during their fight. The above article is a good rough guide, but if this is a topic that you are serious about mastering, then you should seek further instruction, particularly from medical professionals.
(Although this didn’t fit anywhere in the article I thought it was interesting to include at the end. While researching this article, I found a study they did on fighters in the fifties on sewing a single stitch to fighters cuts between rounds which I found fascinating: “Closure of Boxing Lacerations Between Rounds”. )
Bartlett, S. (2008). A look at the tools Stitch Duran uses to stop the bleeding. Retrieved 26 January 2020, from https://www.espn.com/espnmag/story?section=magazine&id=3686568
Duran, J. (2008). Jacob “Stitch” Duran Presents DVD: Giving the Fighter One More Round [DVD]. America: Jacob Duran.
Fleischer, N. (1951). How to Second and How to Manage a Boxer. Nat Fleischer.
Gelber, J. (2016). The Ultimate Guide to Preventing and Treating MMA Injuries. ECW Press.
Markarian, R. (2010). “Stitch” Duran: This Cut Man Gets Priority Position. Retrieved 26 January 2020, from https://tss.ib.tv/boxing/articles-of-2010/11826-qstitchq-duran-this-cut-man-gets-priority-position
Matuszak, S. (2015). UFC 189 From a Cutman’s Perspective | FIGHTLAND. Retrieved 26 January 2020, from http://fightland.vice.com/blog/ufc-189-from-a-cutmans-perspective
MMA Junkie Staff. (2013). Alex Davis, Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran discuss the science of the cutman. Retrieved 26 January 2020, from https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2013/07/alex-davis-jacob-stitch-duran-discuss-the-science-of-the-cutman
Reddy, L. (2019). Adrenaline, Vaseline and composure – Kerry Kayes on the art of being a boxing cuts man. Retrieved 26 January 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/sport/boxing/47026147
The Australian colloquialism where your jovial mood is suggested to be “As Happy as Larry” finds its etymological roots in the early bare-knuckle pugilism of a Sydney prizefighter and undefeated middleweight boxing champion at the turn of the 19th century.
The Larry in the idiom is Laurence ‘Larry’ Foley (1849-1917), who was born in Bathurst and would gain recognition as the “Father of Australian Boxing”. He spent his formative years in Wollongong where he served as a Roman Catholic priest and had an expectation of joining the priesthood but instead moved to Sydney where he would later participate in a Roman Catholic street fighting gang that feuded with a rival Protestant group.
Larry Foley would become the unofficial bare-knuckle champion of Sydney by beating Sandy Ross the leader of the rival gang in a contest that lasted 71 rounds and went for over 2 hours and took place at Como in South Sydney.
The bout which leads to the birth of the phrase “As Happy as Larry” was against the Australian boxing champion Abe Hicken. The contest lasted 16 rounds with the first round of the match lasting for 23 minutes because in 1879 rounds lasted as long as it took for one man to achieve a knockdown.
Larry Foley claimed the victory and won £600 which made him a jubilant man and it was apparently reported in the newspapers that the crowd was said to be just as “Happy as Larry” leading to the creation of the phrase that is still used to this day.
Larry Foley retired from boxing at age 32 and became a publican running the White Horse hotel located on George St in Sydney. He opened a boxing academy in the back of the pub called the “Iron Pot” where he trained many boxers and which also held many boxing contests.
He died of heart disease in 1917 and is buried in Waverly Cemetery. In the above photo, we see a picture of Larry in his boxing stance and a picture of his White Horse hotel.
The question of Cryotherapy vs Ice Baths has a surprising answer for combat sports athletes. Competitors training MMA & Jiu-Jitsu will often experience muscle soreness after heavy training sessions and are always looking for efficient recovery options and if something promises to give them an advantage over an opponent they are often willing to try it out especially if it also happens to be spruiked by Joe Rogan on his podcast.
Recently, many athletes can be seen on social media using whole body cryotherapy where they stand in rooms or containers that are chilled to sub-freezing temperatures. Still, the question remains as to how much better are the expensive cryotherapy treatments than the cold water immersion ice baths that athletes have long used before?
Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is an increasingly popular recovery strategy. WBC involves spending 1.5-3 minutes inside a chamber that has had the air-cooled down anywhere as low as -150 degrees whereas Ice baths or Cold-Water Immersion (CWI) involves immersing the entire body in cooled water for up to 10 minutes at a temperature of 10 degrees.
CWI is a far more common means of recovery and a systematic review of the literature found that a large body of evidence did support the use of CWI in alleviating muscles soreness post-exercise (Leeder, Gissane, van Someren, Gregson & Howatson, 2011). Additionally, one study looked specifically at MMA athletes and found that CWI following intense training sessions worked successfully to reduce muscle soreness in the athlete (Lindsay et al., 2017).
Cold Water Immersion
While the evidence does support the use of CWI for helping recovery and reducing muscle soreness in the athlete, it may come as a surprise that the evidence is not that clear when it comes to WBC. A study that looked at the effectiveness of CWI when compared to WBC in athletes concluded that clinical trials for WBC were lacking and that most of the evidence supporting it was anecdotal (Holmes & Willoughby, 2016).
Additionally, a meta-analysis of studies testing WBC for athlete recovery found that current evidence was unable to support the claim that WBC worked in reducing muscle soreness or subjective recovery and that no evidence existed at the time that trialled the recovery method on women or elite athletes (Costello et al., 2016).
On top of this lack of evidence to support the use of WBC in athlete recovery, another study found that CWI performed better than WBC for recovery after exercise with the reduced muscle soreness and perceived recovery levels gained from CWI potentially being due to the time spent in each recovery option with WBC being limited to only 3 minutes while CWI can be up to 10-15 minutes (Abaïdia et al., 2017).
Cryotherapy vs Ice Baths
Part of the current popularity in WBC may be due to a bias that “colder is better” when it comes to recovery and the extremely low temperatures that WBC reaches can be seen as unbeatable by other recovery methods. But tests to find the ideal temperature for CWI have found the belief that “colder is better” not to be the case.
Studies show that water temperatures of 5 degrees perform worse on recovery tests than water with higher temperatures with the best protocol for CWI found to be with water temperature between 11-15 degrees and for a time of 11–15 minutes (Machado et al., 2015).
In summary, although WBC is currently a popular solution to recovery at the moment, not enough evidence exists on this recovery method and the high additional costs associated with it means it cannot be recommended as a suitable addition to the training routine. Alternatively, CWI offers a relatively cheap and easy way to accelerate recovery and reduce muscle soreness that is also evidence-based.
Yoga would be the most important part of any evolutionary or spiritual practice of a martial artist. No other skill in the entire arsenal of spiritual techniques will do more for you than meditation and yoga. One kind of Yoga is Raja Yoga and this is a summary of the core techniques involved in the practice of Raja Yoga and how it is the best yoga for martial arts.
In modern terms, it is sold as a new age de-stressing technique but this is only considered teaching a shallow version of yoga. The more you meditate, the more resilience you build up against the little stresses of life.
It has to be a constant daily practice like showering and brushing your teeth. The discipline built through meditation could also be the most important part of keeping you on point in life.
The attention overload of modern society makes meditation more difficult but also more important.
The concept in Buddhism of the 10,000 things is the idea of the infinite distractions that life throws at us. These are the 10,000 things that are constantly calling for our attention and pretending to be what matters.
Meditation is the practice of disentangling from the 10,000 things and re-engaging with your deep self in the non-distracted silence of your mind.
There are the external 10,000 things that beg for attention in the physical world, but you also have 10,000 internal things like emotions and feelings.
Meditation is establishing order in your life to overcome the monkey mind and develop single-pointed focus. The mind needs to be trained to do this.
Western culture does not have any mind training as part of its core curriculum or values; It is all focused on logical, rational and alert processes. But mind training will strengthen the mind to make it perform better in all th3se alert tasks. Basic mind training in the West would be positive thinking.
A lot of distractions that people become involved with are attempts to quiet the mind that can be achieved through meditation without any harmful side effects and a constant process instead of swinging from branch to branch to find new distractions for the mind.
Meditation is more than just relaxing. It is a set system of steps for achieving inner peace and ecstasy.
The Dangers Gurus, Cultural Interchange & Cults
Meditation can be practiced without any religious dogma. But the fact is from a spiritual perspective meditation has been practiced by many traditions as a direct route to God. This is true with Hinduism, which is the foundations of yoga.
In the traditional Vedic literature, it does say you need a guru to complete the path of meditation. This is when the path is considered to be started from a young age and would take decades to complete. We cannot get hung up on this and instead just throw ourselves into the process.
But a student of real meditation will need to see someone who is the finished product to know even what that is. This is especially difficult as the world is full of frauds and charlatans. Both in the East and especially in the multimillion dollar new age industry.
There are still many legitimate Hindu or Buddhist teachers who live in the west or travel to the west so it might now be easier than ever to gain access to these people. But remember they are just people and many gurus get involved in scandals and cult behavior. While we go to the east and do not understand Eastern spiritualism many gurus can come to the west and not understand western materialism and it causes problems for them. People are people.
All expectations need to be managed. In our western traditions, we will already have a stereotyped idea of what a holy person should look like. This can sometimes mean the expectation is set as high as Jesus. In the eastern tradition, holy people are not expected to be perfect. Even big deal gurus will not be perfect. They may have brought their divine nature to the forefront but still this is not going to equal a perfect person. People are people. Consider a guru or meditation master as possibly someone who has more expertise in the field but not as an excellent teacher or complete human.
Of course, this gets tricky as the eastern tradition does promote surrendering completely to your guru. This is fraught with danger in the western world with so many charlatans running rampant.
People are people.
Autobiography of a Yogi
That being said a good starting point for an additional study if you are looking for more is the “Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yoganada”. Gandhi was a student of this teacher. Of all places, this would be the safest place to start. He was not over the top; it was the simple cut and dry meditation. The organization was continuing the work known as the self-realization fellowship.
Distinguishing Different Meditations & Yogas
This information covers Vedic meditation from the Hindu tradition. This is not the same as Buddhist meditation even though they are often thrown in together.
Hindu meditation posits that there is a core self that is covered by the personality and Buddhist meditation posits that there is n9 core self.
You do not want just to mix up a bunch of random meditation techniques as they all have specific functions and have different theological underpinnings.
Meditation has now been filled with common misconceptions about what meditation is from the modern western culture. It is not merely positive thinking, this idea came out of the new thought movement in the 20’s and made a resurgence with the secret and Oprah. Meditation is concerned with turning off the mind and not thinking positively. Meditation is not just sitting comfortably, burning incense, playing new age music and feeling good. This is play acting meditation, it may be calming, but this is not the hard-core work of meditation of shutting off the mind. The hard-core work of meditation is a lot drier and boring then what is popular and sells to the new age movement,
Hatha yoga, where the body is contorted into different body positions, is not meditation. There are lots of different Yoga’s, the exercise yoga being taught is hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is not even a traditional step in the meditation process.
Raja yoga , the king yoga, is the eight fold path of meditation. This is the real yoga and although it does contain physical postures these are for sitting still for long periods of time. Hatha yoga still has many benefits but it is not the hard-core work of meditation. Hatha yoga can still be a good base to prepare for entering into Raja yoga.
“Mindfulness” is now very popular in the west. This is used in many different things in different contexts. It is essentially a Buddhist technique of being aware of your mental processes. It is now used by corporati9ns and politically correct conversations. It is not the hard-core meditation of Raja yoga. Eventually corporations might start to say people are not being mindful if they are not doing their jobs.
“Spiritual materialism” this is a concept from Buddhism which will be brought into this course. From a book called “Cutting through spiritual materialism”. If you go to a yoga centre, a new age book store or anywhere people are studying meditation you will see people with all the material objects to denote themselves as being spiritual. This is all ego satisfying, you cannot dress yourself into meditation, you cannot buy the right toys or necklaces or books to bluff your way into meditation. Just because your brought all the clubs and clothes that tiger woods uses will not make you as good as tiger woods. The only way to get on an oath to playing better golf is to commit yourself to a discipline of practice like tiger woods. If you are attempting to achieve peace and emptiness you are doing yourself a disservice by trying to fill yourself up with as many different spiritual artefacts, both material and internal will be a disservice to you. The techniques of meditation of simple they just require a lot of discipline.
The Time & Space For Yoga & Martial Arts
Establishing a meditation practice requires daily prate. It has to be a daily practice. The best time is when you wake up in the morning , but if you have to do it at lunch or in the afternoon you can. But in the morning will be best as you will not be distracted by the day or have an excuse to miss it. But the most important thing is to start a consistent practice and do it every day. Pick a time and pick a length for meditation and do it every day. You can start at five minutes and increase it over the weeks. You first need to carve out a time that you devote for yourself. The most important thing when starting is not how long you meditate for but sticking to the daily ritual and carving out the habit.
You will need a space that is dedicated and setup for meditation. In the same way you may have a desk setup for work so that every time you sit down you know you9are there to work, or your bed is there for sleeping, have a space setup for meditation. It can be corner of a room and does not need to be grandiose. Ideally it should be quiet and good ventilation. The best thing to sit on is just a folded up blanket or a basic pillow, Feel free to put thing that are inspiring to you in your meditation space.
The best meditation posture is cross legged on the ground with a straight back. If you physically cannot do this and you have to use a chair it must allow you to keep a straight and upright spine.
A simple clock to keep time of your sessions may be needed and you may like to keep a simple journal of your practice.
First Limb of Raja Yoga – Yama
These are the moral scriptures of yoga. This is the type of life you want to be living to be a yogi. This is to be living a non-chaotic life. A simple and calm existence. You can look up the specifics of what was written but this was in the 14th century.
A stable income, a stable living, a stable home, live a good moral life, speak the truth. Lead a moral and upstanding life as much as possible. The practical reason for this in regards to meditation is if you live a shady life you are giving yourself many more worries to weigh down your mind.
Lead a relaxed, moral, non-crazy, non-chaotic life. Boring is good Boring externally but a free mind full of ecstasy. Go to bed early, wake up early, eat well, have healthy relationships, work a job. Get rid of chaos. These are basic tenants of a Yogi to make the meditation practice easier.
You can also just look at living a life that is most in tune to you that will lead to a drama free life, In your case a boring existence may create some drama, so just look at living a chaos and drama free existence,
Second Limb of Raja Yoga – Niyama
This is really a list of don’ts if you want to practice meditation. Can be summed up as don’t do bad or immoral stuff. Don’t cheat, lie, steal or kill. These will all create disturbances in your mind to deal with.
Don’t do stuff that weighs on your mind and heart as this creates obstacles for meditation.
Also don’t be a smoker, this will disturb the breath which is crucial to meditation. Along with all the other health detriments, Your mind is a by-product of your breath so if your breath is disturbed so will your mind.
Drinking alcohol is also a no go. Meditating hungover will be very difficult. Avoid drugs. Live a clean life. You do not want substances disturbing your equilibrium.
Since Hinduism is a vegetarian culture traditionally the consumption of meat is considered to cause anger, hostility and cause disturbances. A vegetarian or even vegan diet will allow more mental clarity but in the western world this is widely practiced. Make an individual choice with this as nutrition is another topic. Vegetarianism is still probably the best diet for meditation. Also avoid stimulants like energy drinks junk food, etc.
You do not want to eat before you meditate you want to meditate on an empty stomach which is why meditating in the morning is a great time You do not want your body’s digestive functions interrupting your meditation.
Again you can look up the specific by the book rules on this. But again it is written in the middle ages.
Managing lust of result: Focus on the progress and the discipline itself and do not focus on the end result. Just practice it daily and do not focus on if you are enlightened yet. It will take a long time to get good at anything including meditation. Enjoy the journey and do not focus on the destination.
Siddhis: In the yogic literature it is listed that you can achieve magical powers through meditation This can include growing in size and shrinking and certain magical powers. As you get deeper into meditation strange and trippy things will happen in you9r mind but do not get hung up on the idea that you are going to gain magical powers. DO not make this the goal of your meditation. The siddhis are likely just different states of consciousness. Do not get wrapped up n chasing after these, If strange things start to happen just ignore the and let them pass.
Do not become obsessed with things that are not the goal.
Third Limb of Raja Yoga – Asana
This is just a stable position you can hold your body in for a long period of time this ca just be cross legged on the floor with a straight back. Not to be confused with the many various postures of Hatha yoga.
Alistair Crowley also came up with some good postures for this. Lotus position is also good if you are flexible enough to do this.
Generally the Asana is just a position where you can hold your body without fidgeting. Don’t get to complicated at first so just start with a simple sitting position. But you do want to be able to hold this for long periods of time No fidgeting or scratching yourself or adjusting your weight or stretching. You want the body to be completely still. Still the body and then you can still the mind.
A large list of Asana are available to look up and were codified in the middle ages. It is most important to just start out by finding something simple that works for you so you can build the practice.
Fourth Limb of Raja Yoga – Pranayama
This is basically breath control, the way of breath or the energy of breath. There are many Pranayama techniques that can get quite difficult and complicated but we just want to start with a steady relaxed state of breathing.
Start by establishing a regular, rhythmic breathing practice. A good basic one is a 4 count while y9 are inhaling and a 4 count while you are exhaling. You can up this to an 8 count if you want.
Focus on deep stable breathing, rhythmic and regular.
We are stabilising our environment, stabilising our life, stabilising our body and n0w this will stabal9se our breath to lead us on the way to stabilising our mind.
This is taking care of everything that might disturb our meditation be it our life, body or breath itself.
You can learn more advanced pranayama’s but it is more important to establish your practice and keeping it simple makes this easier.
Fifth Limb of Raja Yoga – Pratyahara
It is basically withdrawing your senses from the exterior world. You are not focusing on anything external to you, This is where all the previous stages will have assisted in eliminating these distractions. Earplugs are your friend if you live in the city.
Sixth Limb of Raja Yoga – Dharana
This is basically concentration. We now need an object of focus that is internal. This is where chakras can be objects of concentration. But for our beginning steps the best point of focus is our “third eye” or between your eyebrows about an inch behind.
Focus and concentrate all of your energy to this one point. This is a lot more difficult than it might sound and is most of the work of meditation. All kinds of thoughts will intrude and attempt to distract you. Just let the thoughts go by and keep your focus, DO not try and aggressively fight the thoughts away as you will become entangled in them.
As you progress your mind may even come up with what you think are intelligent thoughts or insights but this can just be your mind being more sophisticated at distracting you. Still let these go by as it is not the goal. We are meditating to quiet the mind.
Start at 5 minutes a day and increase over time. Consider it like going to the gym and working up the amount of weight you can lift. Eventually you want to up this to 30 minutes a day, If you are able to keep a strict schedule of 30 minutes a day then you are well on your way. Ideally you could get this to an hour a day which will be of great benefit but just stick to your daily practice and get as much time in as you can.
Seventh Limb of Raja Yoga – Dhyana
This is the actual process of meditation. It is going to take a long time to get to this point but will decrease with practice. This is when your mind goes quiet. It calms and is focused on your internal point and you are completely still. You have single pointed concentration. This is when you start meditation proper. You are not disturbed by the world, your body, your breath, your mind and you are now meditating.
This is a victory you ca make over yourself that few people ever make. It is not easy. But with discipline it will get easier over time. The more meditation you do the easier it will be to get to this point. But in the modern world any more than an hour a day can be very hard to achieve.
When you start your practice you may not reach this point in a session or you may only get here briefly but just persist and keep working on it,
Eighth Limb of Raja Yoga – Samadhi
This is when you achieve unity. This is extremely difficult to talk about without using imprecise language as It is always regarded as mystical and religious terms like a unity with god.
A broad way to describe this would be a break between a sense of subject and object. We have concentrated on an object in step six; we are meditating on the object in step seven and Samadhi the distinction between those two things vanish. There is no meditate or object, and it bec9mes the same thing.
A collapse of the dualism between subject and object.
Also referred to as the disintegration of ego. Obviously this is a topic that can get very complicated and mystical and spiritual but again just focus on the process of meditation and you can investigate this further when required.
AS you go further there are different levels of Samadhi. Again you can investigate this later.
Further Research and Practice
As you can see the benefits of yoga meditation itself are immense and it has many knock on effects in life.
Yu can go much deeper but the most important part is to start your practice and be disciplined in it.
The self-realisation fellowship is a great resource if you go deeper into this and want to research further.
You can find the natural warrior athlete in any nursery, we often only think of athletes as highly trained Olympians but remember all infants are born with natural athletic ability.
Infants have an incredible ability to learn with a mind that is concept free and therefore entirely receptive.
You were once a natural warrior athlete with unlimited potential, but then the socialisation process gave you fears, associations, beliefs, attitudes and concepts
Your mind learned to criticise yourself and to be afraid of failure. You began to develop emotional constrictions and inhibitions that resulted in physical tension, and as you grew and struggled with gravity, you developed psychological and physical imbalances and compensations.
Athletics and the Game of Life
The simultaneous development of mind, body and emotions will only happen if you perform a task that puts a demand on all three centers.
But most people’s lives, jobs and hobbies are very specialised and only place a claim on isolated portions of our full capacity.
To return to the state of the natural athlete, we focus on the balanced development of all three centers. In turn, this will have the best carryover effects on all parts of your life.
Most people just look at athletics as purely physical exercise and recreation with only a casual or random look at developing the mind and emotions. But you can gain far more from athletics and develop your total capacities for life.
You can create a harmony of body and mind to become a new breed of warrior athlete. Gaining access to your original state as a natural warrior athlete that will help you succeed and excel in athletics and daily life.
The Map is not the territory
Understanding the game.
You can represent the experience of training as that of the journey up a mountain path.
Everyone has their personal mountain to climb, and the peak of the mountain represents your highest potential. If you are going to climb the mountain, it is best to have a map, so you avoid drifting or wandering
Know precisely where you are going and your what your checkpoints and goals are along the way and what obstacles may lie in your way.
THE LESSONS OF NATURE
Rules of the game
The essence of talent is not so much the presence of certain qualities but rather the absence of self and society imposed obstructions. Young children are free of the mental, physical and emotional obstructions that we unconsciously develop in our later years.
This form is seen in nature. Trees bending in the wind shows the principle of nonresistance. Gently running water cutting through solid rock displays the law of accommodation. All things thriving in moderate cycles shows the principle of balance. The regular passing of seasons shows the natural order of life.
These laws are all psychophysical and apply to nature and equally to the human psyche and inseparable from the human body.
The principles of martial arts training are not just concerned with physical exertion but are a psychophysical challenge. That accepts that the world is not just a static physical environment but is filled with energy, movement, and subtle things found in nature and universal laws.
Through training that incorporates these principles, athletic development will reawaken our innate ability to learn, and the benefits will spill over into our daily life.
Principle 1: Nonresistance
There are four ways to deal with the forces of life. Surrender to them fatalistically, Ignore them and have accidents from ignorance and Resist them which will waste energy and create turmoil.
Or you can use them and blend with nature. Like birds that fly the wind or fish that swim with the current. We can make use of these natural forces, and this is the real meaning of nonresistance. .
Nonresistance is not passive inaction as any rock can do that. Rather it is a great sensitivity and intelligence to flow with the natural laws.
There is no resistance in nature only in the mind of men. The natural warrior athlete has dissolved all resistance.
The natural warrior athlete will see an opponent in competition as a teacher who will show them their weaknesses and help them improve, and they intend to do the same for the opponent.
Through nonresistance, an opponent’s movement can be used to your advantage.A well known martial arts principle is softness in the face of hardness, absorbing neutralising and redirecting force.
Problems of daily life should be handled in the same way.
Nonresistance: psychophysical applications
“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” – Most actions of socialized man are attempts to either push or slow down the river of life rather than flow with things as they are.
This resistance causes turbulence that is physical, mental and emotional tension. When you fall out of the natural pattern, you will feel the tension. Tension is a subtle pain and a signal that something is wrong. You have to listen to this message and take responsibility for your actions rather than blame life or circumstance.
The most common way warrior athletes resist by “trying”. The moment you “try” you are already tense and assume a weakness in the face of challenge. Trying is the primary cause of the error. When you feel under pressure, you begin to “try”.
This pressure is not a physical object that you could show someone. It is entirely your mental creation as a result of “trying” too hard.
To see this consider walking a small plank between two chairs on the ground and now place the plank on two skyscraper buildings. It may be the same physical task, but you will have a different mental state.
The law of action-reaction causes this mental effect as it will set up mental opposition when you “Try”. Warrior Athletes, who try too hard to stretch, will only feel the muscles tensing in resistance.
The natural warrior athlete never “tries”. They are smooth, relaxed and have a naturally progressive approach. They avoid internal resistance by carefully sneaking up on things, being very subtle and gentle and smoothly flow along with no sudden or jerky movements.
If you play golf don’t swing the club , instead let it swing. In life let things happen naturally based on fortune and the complexities of circumstance. Trying to make things happen only sets up turbulence. This is not just semantics but harnessing the force of nature.
By no longer trying you are free of tension and by no longer resisting you can train in full natural ease.
Principle 2: Accommodation
Athletics and life develops what it demands, No demand, no development, small demand, small development.
Demand requires motive. Without motivation to energise a demand it will not be persistent.
Motivation requires meaning. The motivating factor must correspond to your values in life.
Demand must take the form of progressive overload. You must repeatedly and consistently ask a little more of yourself than you are comfortable or capable of dealing with easily.
Development through overload requires a tolerance for failure as it will entail lots of little failures on the way to your ultimate goal .
Tolerance for failure comes from an intuitive grasp of reality and of the natural laws of learning. Unreal expectations produces frustration but realism produces patience.
Training therefore is a process of development through a gradual increase of demand. If realistic, gradual and sensible demands are made on the body, mind and emotions development will take place in these centers.
The human organism will adapt to demands made upon it. This is accommodation which reflects a law that has seen humans evolve and survive through time.
Learning knowledge and building muscles are two kinds of accommodation.
You can grind a rock into a shape but if your grind too quick it will break. The demand for change must be gradual and within our capacity, one step at a time.
Accommodation: Psychophysical application.
Accommodation is a law but we have learned to not trust it by asking ourselves questions like “Can i become good at this?”. These questions and doubts only create tension and weaken motivation. Trust in the natural law at least as much as you trust your own mental noise.
Once you recognise the inevitability of the principle of accommodation you become responsible. You know that your success depends on the demands you are willing to make on yourself. You will get clarity and psychic security because you will know that if you decide to do something it is without doubt within your capacity.
Principle 3: Balance
Balance is a great principle informing every aspect of your body, mind, daily life and training. Simply stated it is “Neither too much nor too little.”
An athlete who is balanced moves neither too fast nor too slow, too aggressively nor too passively, too high nor too low, too far right nor too far left.
Balance determines the correct pace, timing and accuracy that any warrior athlete depends upon.
Applying this to training you become immune to impatience and frustration.You accept that you will naturally have an “up” and “down” cycle because that is balanced and it would be unrealistic to expect a constant “up” state.
This means you are not enslaved by the mental highs and lows of training. Your realism makes you mature, stable and free. Once you learn to accept, ride and enjoy the these cycles they balance themselves.
The natural warrior athlete knows to balance development of mind, body and emotions. You can focus on physical training for periods but never to the exclusion and detriment of developing emotional stability and mental clarity. Slow and sluggish days are used to pay more attention to mental and emotional weaknesses.
Balance: Psychophysical applications
When your training is a psychophysical process, balance is even more profound.
You discover that physical imbalances are only symptoms of mental and emotional divergence from the natural pattern of living.
A natural warrior athlete is centered and in balance with the physical , mental and emotional all simultaneously. These are so interconnected that they affect each other.
The martial artist knows that if an opponent is mentally distracted or emotionally upset they will be much easier to defeat.
Physical balance and emotional upset are like fire and water as they do not mix. If you meditate on your upset you will lose balance easily. But if you meditate on your balance you will lose your upset.
When you play with both sides you can find your middle again and regain your balance.
Principle 4: Natural order.
Natural order accounts for progressive development through time. In nature the seasons always occur in the proper sequence and a tree grows from a seedling. The process never goes backwards and it can’t be rushed. It is the natural order of things.
Only the human being is in a hurry caused when our minds race faster that life and ignore the natural order.
We know that progress is function of both time and intensity. You can spend less time and more intensity but this must be balanced .
Training too long and intense will lead to overtraining but too short and little intensity will lead to not achieving your goals. Instead you must keep these in the natural order.
Humour is a great sign that you have a balanced perspective that reflects your alignment with the natural order of lifes flow. After all not matter how grand your achievements in the scheme of the entire universe it will be tiny and hardly shock the cosmos.
Natural order: Psychophysical applications.
You have probably previously thought “I should be doing better, i should be achieving faster”. This is an indicator that you not thinking in the natural order. Just life the word “try” the word “should” has little place in the mind of a natural warrior athlete.
“Should” implies a dissatisfaction with the current state of things. The ultimate contradiction and the trembling foundation of neurosis.
Your time is too valuable to spend stewing over things that are not.
A good measure of your alignment with the law of natural order is how much you enjoy training> Certainly you can have a good or bad period but in general if you push too hard you will lose the original sense of joy you had as a beginner. The natural warrior athlete is always like a beginner, full of inspiration.
Following the natural laws is essential for full enjoyment and natural growth in daily life. The consequence of breaking these laws is you are trapped in a prison of ignorance.
Balance between pleasure and pain and become sensitive to the natural order of things. Practice nonresistance with whatever fortune brings to experience personal success.
You will use all these principles to transcend illusionary self concepts, break down emotional blocks and develop whole body talent.
The power of awareness
Hearing life’s lessons.
Life is a school and nature is a teacher. But without awareness you can’t hear the teacher. Awareness translates lifes lessons into wisdom. Awareness is the beginning of all learning.
Learning is a response of a demand to grow. This will naturally involve errors because you do things you couldn’t do before.
Errors are not the problem only ignoring them or misunderstanding them is. In order to correct an error you must be fully aware of it.
True awareness is a sensitivity of the entire organism as a whole derived through sensory feedback , mental clarity and emotional intuition.
In life and training errors are always with us. You could even say that learning a skill is a process of refining errors to the point they no longer hinder a desired goal.
You should also be aware of strengths as well as this will give you confidence , inspiration and motivation but it is only awareness of weaknesses that will allow you to strengthen your foundation and consistently improve.
Awareness, disillusion, and success.
Growing awareness is not a pleasant process. t is in fact a disillusioning process and requires the spirit of a warrior.
The more aware you become the more you will realise your tension. A sure sign of growing awareness is to “feel” as if you are getting worse.
Awareness is literally a process of disillusionment. As it cuts through delusion it will cause a momentary drop in our self esteem, a dent in our self image. No one really likes to look at their weaknesses and therefore tend to resist awareness.
It is important to understand the phenomenon as people can become discouraged when they become aware, imagining that they are “getting worse.”
Most warrior athletes have the courage to see and overcome physical errors but the way of the natural warrior athlete is to see and overcome errors in all three centers. The physical , mental and emotional.
When becoming aware and disillusioned of mental and emotional weaknesses you must be willing to lose face as you will momentarily see yourself in a less flattering light than you would normally wish.
Everyone has mental and emotional traits from childhood that are maladaptive, immature and downright silly. In most cases. But in most people these are hidden from their own awareness only to surface in times of upset, pressure or crisis.
If resist physical weaknesses a little we resist mental or emotional weaknesses a lot. Physical errors are much easier to see. whereas mental and emotional errors are more subtle and we identify more with our mind and emotions than we do with our bodies.
What we identify with we tend to defend. We defend our self image more than something we perceive as separate from us. People are much more comfortable talking about a physical problem rather than a mental or emotional problem .
If you are to become a natural warrior athlete aligned with the natural laws you must bring nonresistance to awareness. You must open your eyes, cut through illusion and achieve whole body and mind awareness.
The growth of awareness.
Awareness itself will develop in accordance to the natural laws. Think of your own growth as a self sculpture. First you determine the shape you want to bring out of the stone. You then begin hacking away and these rough cuts are your general awareness. Later when you are ready for the detail work and polishing is the most subtle awareness.
The beginner is someone who has not refined his awareness of errors relative to a particular skill.We are therefore all beginners because no matter what their will always be new refinements for which we are yet to develop a subtle awareness.
An old samurai warrior knew his time on earth was near an end, and wished to bequeath his sword to the brightest of his three sons. He designed a test.
He had a friend hide just inside a barn, above the doorway, and gave him three bags of rice. He then invited each son inside, one at a time.
The first son, after feeling the rice bag fall on his head, drew his sword and cut the bag in half before it hit the ground.
The second son halved the bag before it hit his head.
The third son, sensing something amiss, declined to enter the bard – and so earned his fathers sword.
At first you will have no awareness of what you have done wrong and will rely on outside feedback. As you then become more aware you will be able to say what was done incorrectly after the errors have been made. You will then be aware of the errors as they are happening. Finally once your awareness is integrated with body, mind and emotions you will correct errors before they are made and perform beautifully.
A habitual error must be felt, not merely acknowledged verbally, before anyone will generate the motivational impulse to change.
Teachers who understand the progressive growth of awareness are never impatient with their students. They realise that telling a student of his errors is addressing only his mind. These teachers know it takes longer for full awareness to pervade all three centers and give the emotional impulse and motivation to change.
Realizing the natural growth of awareness allows you to be your own gentle teacher and then you give yourself sufficient time in which to learn.
Feedback aids to awareness
Sometimes you will know that you are making an error but not know what it is and in this situation an aid to awareness can be helpful.
The errors and successes of other students and warrior athletes can serve as lessons and as inspiration.
Nothing serves the growth of awareness so instantly as seeing a film or videotape of your own movements. Even a mirror can help.
A teacher can pinpoint the specific errors in order of priority. The teacher is an intelligent feedback aid who can analyze errors and effectively communicate ways to correct them.
If you do not have access to videotapes or teachers and want a shortcut to awareness then you can deliberately exaggerate your errors. This will make the errors very obvious and your awareness will grow instantly and you will also make your errors conscious and deliberate which is under your control instead of making them unconsciously. Deliberate error is no longer an error.
A key to success
Preparation is the foundation for success but most warrior athletes however do not prepare for their journeys. But most athletes do not prepare and instead learn by Darwinian survival , pure trial and error
All things in nature have a gestation period they must go through with proper stages until they are formed and the natural warrior athlete makes use of this natural way by beginning with thorough preparation.
Complete preparation is the most difficult but most important part of the learning process. What would a cars paint job look like if you don’t sand and fix any dents in it first ? It would look like the usual athlete uneven and quick to show wear and tear.
Any obstructions you have encountered or may someday encounter are a direct result of insufficient or improper preparation. Think of an athlete who has developed strength but ignored suppleness and compensates for the lack of flexibility with with more strength. This will work for a while but eventually be a roadblock.
The part of an iceberg above the water can represent your visible skills while the larger part below the surface is your preparation. Like a house you have to spend time laying down quality foundations. It is not flashy but vitally important.
For any movement activity you must align with the proper laws of nature and first understand the qualities of suppleness , strength, speed, relaxation and the learning of proper fundamentals.
If you have been stuck on a plateau you can work through it and get on the path of the natural warrior athlete by going back for a time to do intense work on your talent foundation and fundamentals.Allow yourself to progress slowly at first but then your progress will accelerate passing your old level.
Step by step preparation.
All problems including physical, mental and emotional problems can be solved with a step by step plan. Each broken down into a series of small steps, gradually and methodically till you achieve the final goal.
Focus your energy on the smaller steps and the process will be manageable and enjoyable and without noticing you will be moving closer to your goal. Without breaking things down to step by step you may just look at the large goal and procrastinate on where to start.
The illusion of difficulty.
Difficulty has no objective meaning as it is only relative to your preparation. With proper preparation nothing is difficult.
A common experience for athletes is they will initially find learning easy but that it gets harder over time. This is not natural and is just the result of improper preparation and planning.
Athletes may fall into that trap if they don’t appreciate the importance of thorough preparation, do not know what preparation consists of , may be in a hurry and seeking shortcuts, lacking confidence or have a teacher that has any of these tendencies.
Many teachers allow shortcuts in order to keep the students interested or because its more practical for them is they have competitive pressure or deadlines.
An intelligent and patient teacher is worth there weight in gold and one of the most important aspects of your training.
Choosing a teacher
The teacher is your guide along the mountain path to your goals. You want a guide who knows the path very well, is aware of all his own weaknesses so he can show insight into yours, can show you obstacles, can point out interesting sideroads and beautiful scenery along the way and asses you and find the best path for you.
You do not want a teacher who will make you travel the exact same path they did without taking into account any of your unique qualities.
A movement teacher can have a profound impact on a students self concept and outlook on life. They are able to impart lessons on life through teaching movement. An average teacher just teaches skills only.
Note that a knowledgeable, skillful teacher can develop a winning team but at the same time smother the fundamental enjoyment and freedom of athletics. Think of Drill sergeants, you want to avoid them.
You want to pick a teacher with the same care you would pick a surgeon. You would not pick a surgeon just because they were a nice person, the operated close to your house, or charge a few dollars less. You would want to pick the best.
While a great competition record or lots of degrees can be a great positive and inspiration to the students what matters more is what the students know. Not what the teacher can do but what the students can do is more important.
A great teacher can speak the language of intellect and can clearly communicate with words. They can speak the language of the body and show the physical movement of muscle and bone properly.They can also speak the language of emotions and can inspire and motivate and make you love the activity.
The master teacher does all three of these at the same time. Master teachers are out there and may be found in unexpected places. Remember that the not only teach a subject they convey principles of life through a subject.
The preparation of children: a note to loving parents.
… and a time to every purpose under the heaven – Ecclesiastes 3:1
In the modern time sensitive world everything tends to be in a rush or a hurry and this can lapse over to your children as well.
For young children and even infants you want to introduce them to movement play. It will stimulate them, exercise them and open their vital bodies to enjoy and discover the natural laws.
Skills are not the most important aspect for children to learn.
It is more important that they learn to feel good about their bodies, to feel success in these early stages, to learn the enjoyment of active movement and accomplishment and to develop core confidence in completing tasks.
Success for a child is measured by their smiles and happiness not by the parents goals or aspirations.
Children need to be allowed to be children and play with others on child equipment of size, softness and safety. As one early injury,fear or failure can have a lasting impact on your child.
Private lessons may not be the best way to teach your child e, especially if mum or dad is the teacher. And even a well intentioned , patient and skilled will be perceived by your childas larger and infinitely more capable than what they are which gives them no hope that they can emulate their success.
The best learning environment for children is within a small group of other children which will inevitably have some more and less skilled than your own.
Early play prepares a child for development later on, but the focus should still remain on play which feels good and not intense training. You also want to avoid an emphasis on competition too early and keep the value of this for later on in their development.
The main determining factor to what movement training and what age your child should start is their development of bones and joints, attention span and natural interest.
If your child is interested in anything then let them try it and see if they remain interested for at least three months. Do not force your child to do something only you are interested in as this will not work out in the long run.
Overinvolved parents who are pushy and want to help their child a little too much end up doing more harm than good.
You do not want weaken their core confidence. being unsure if they are living their own native interests or a parents fantasy.They are very sensitive, can see through social lies and will feel emotionally contradicted no matter what is said to assure them.
You are best to offer your child financial support, transportation to classes, mild interest and emotional support.
It is great to go watch them play every now and again but if you go over the top when they win they will think that you are equally disappointed in them when they lose.
A child’s athletic training has enormous benefits but it must follow the natural principles to get them. Preparation is key.
A common belief is that talent is inborn and therefore the foundation of potential is too often overlooked as people make do with what they have.
Physical traits cannot be changed but other key qualities can be developed. These develops can just be left to develop overtime but it is much better to do the proper preparation and develop a well rounded talent base rather than just emphasizing your strong points and allowing weak areas to develop.
You may remember times that you have been absent minded, not paying attention and missing out on things, your eyes and ears may be open but your attention was captured by thought.
Your attention can fundamentally go in two directions, outwards towards to the world of energy and inwards to the world of thought.
A psychotic would be an individual who gets lost in inner thought. Most people are able to bounce between the two at a healthy rate, but even a normal person can sometimes get caught in episodes of obsessive thought.
The natural warrior athlete has learned to focus his attention on the matter at hand and be in the present moment. Their thoughts may come and go but they do not get caught up by inward distractions of any kind.
Most people are subject to the pattern of random attention with thoughts floating back and forth between the inner stream of consciousness and the outer world. Problematic thinking takes the form of worry , fear and anger and will cause tension in the body.
In athletics and life the source of our discontent is this primitive habit of allowing our attention to be reactive to thoughts instead of being mindful.
You may try to convince yourself that it is external factors that cause lifes discomfort but on closer inspection you will always find that it is actually your mental resistance to the present moment.
Mental talent emerges as you gain facility in dissolving archaic habit patterns so that you no longer feel compelled to pay attention to the obstructions and limitations which are primitive creations of your own mind.
All rigid mental patterns will end up manifesting themselves as tension in your body. Whilst the usual reaction to this tension would be to work on the physical symptoms by stretching but you should really deal with the mental source of this stress.
An effective way to see your mental state more clearly is by comparing it to the state of mind of a baby. A baby will process tons of new information but because the have no complex beliefs , opinions or associations they will accept the information without judgment.
A baby will not ruminate, stress and philosophise over new information as their attention is entirely in the present moment. Because of this they manage to stay away from complex fears, plans, expectations and self criticism that can get caught up in an adults mind.
Consider a baby’s mind state as that of a natural warrior athlete in its clarity, relaxation , sensitivity and openness to the environment. They are free of mental reaction or resistance and have a direct approach to life by being in the present moment.
The mental state is responsible for a babys amazing learning abilities and it is only when their mind becomes immersed in preconceptions and judgments that the natural learning is inhibited.
Illusory Self Concept.
The self fulfilling prophecy describes how our results in life tend to follow our expectations. If you expect or believe in something which can be either a positive or negative trait you will set in motion many psychological processes that make your expectations come true.
Self concept is a fundamental self fulfilling prophecy. If you expect to do poorly you will be less interested, less motivated, have lower energy levels and therefore end up performing poorly and making you self concept accurate.
You have a different self concept for all different areas of life which will generally dictate how you behave and perform in these different areas.
But self concept is an illusion , manufactured in your own mind and is no more real than a ghost. Yet you have imposed it upon yourself a long time ago and you would have let it overshadow every athletic endeavors you have undertaken.
You need to see your self concept for the illusion it is and cut through and destroy it.
Once you gain insight into the illusory nature of your own self concept you can then transcend your self imposed limitations and give your training and techniques real momentum.
In order to gain insight into the illusion remember your own childhood when you were completely free of self concept and had the belief that you could learn anything within the grasp of human knowledge because you were pure potential.
It is obvious that having a low self concept would be undesirable but having an unrealistically high self concept causes its own unique set of problems. Setting your self concept to high can puts immense amounts of unnecessary pressure on yourself to perform.
The best self concept is none at all. Like a baby or childs mind you want to be free from exaggerations of praise or blame and simply take a direct , realistic, experimental and persevering approach to your endeavours.
If you are ever feeling pressure to do well you can be sure that an arbitrary self concept is imposing itself upon you. When this happens you can surrender to it, you can try to resist it or you can use it.
If you try to resist or ignore it you will find it will still have a subtle effect and influence on your performance. Instead you are best to use it and experience its psychic force and then cut through it by changing your act.
You want to learn to do what you thought you could not. To have control over your self concept so you can benefit and try new possibilities in your life.
Positive statements and affirmations can be used to have a positive effect on your mental state and create a beneficial mindset.
Continue to persist in this and all your illusory limitations will dissolve and you will transcend them .Remember that the law of accommodation is stronger than your illusory self concept
The warrior athlete and Fear of failure.
Failure will always be part of the learning process. In order to learn you must see where you fail and take it into account. But most people learn to fear failure and avoid it at all costs.
Some people will even develop defense mechanisms against having to experience failure. A common form of this is to “not really try”. To deliberately be unmotivated so that your ego can protect itself if you don’t succeed by thinking “Had i really tried i would have done well”. By not believing you are giving your best effort the fear of failure is relieved but you will never reach your potential.
Fear of failure is a vicious cycle and like the self fulfilling prophecy it will often result in the occurrence of what you most feared. Fear produces tensions which obstructs blood flow, reflexes, breathing, muscles and eyesight which will all stifle your effective movement and increase your chances of failure.
To break the fear of failure cycle and rise above it you need to make peace with failure. Know that failure is not your enemy , that you can actually appreciate it for the lessons it can teach you and once you appreciate it you will find it stops distracting you.
The natural warrior athlete laughs at failure. Balancing success with failure is nature’s way. The greats have all failed many times.
An exercise to learn this is to fail on purpose and have fun doing it . Make mistakes and do not stress over it but rather just enjoy the process.
If babies had the same self criticism as adults they would never learn to walk. But rather babies are free of self criticism and treat failure the same as success and just continue to persevere. Self criticism is a habit pattern that you learn while growing up
There are only 3 causes of error in the world: negative or unconscious habit patterns, lack of information or experience or the fact that no one is perfect all the time.
There are only two kinds of criticism: constructive and destructive.
We use destructive self criticism on ourselves as a form of punishment with the inaccurate belief that if you punish yourself you will improve.
Rather than punish yourself if you make an error you must take responsibility for it and not criticise yourself.
Give yourself the same constructive advice that you would give your best friend.
One pointed attention
You have tremendous power if you are in the present moment and place all your attention to the matter at hand. But unfortunately this can be a relatively rare occurrence.
This experience can be when you feel “in the zone” and are able to flow effortlessly. You cannot reach this state if your thoughts are diffused and you are mentally distracted or daydreaming.
Focus on being in the present moment and keeping your total attention on the task at hand.
Hypermotivation is when you can manifest extended physical and mental capacity and comes from one pointed attention and being in the moment.
Placing your attention in the present frees you from all self concept, criticism, fear and inhibitions. Conversely any subtle distraction can have a negative effect on the body.
Athletic training is the best way to develop this one pointed attention as it does demand your full attention be placed in the present moment.
You may discover that your attention follows your eyes. What “Keep your eye on the ball” really means is “Keep your mind on the ball”.
Being in the present moment and free from internal distractions and problems will help you to master any game you choose including the game of life.
You want to make your mental training conscious and systematic otherwise your mental qualities will only be developed at random.
When you have no mind or no thought you can naturally harmonise with the body and with a clear mind you have your body at its peak efficiency and awareness.
Using your brain for internal thinking can still be useful for gaining a conceptual understanding of your sport and in analyzing the fundamentals of movement. But during the moments of action you should not be thinking but keep your mind in the present moment.
Fueling the fires.
Even if your body is ill , with muscles drained and lacking vital energy you can still have another source of energy that is burning strong. This is emotional energy.
Emotional energy we call motivation. Emotion is what moves us and when your emotions are open and free of obstructions then motivational energy will be natural and remain strong even when the body is drained.
An abundance of emotional energy can help an athlete push through seemingly insurmountable obstacles but a lack of emotional energy can see a physically gifted athlete routinely underperform.
Motivation is emotional talent and is the key to training as without it you would never even turn up to train. Motivation smothers fear and overcomes obstacles.
Becoming a natural whole body athlete will demand and require tremendous motivational energy.
Most people relate to motivation passively as if were something we have no control over and that may by chance be with us one day and gone the next.
But all the motivational energy you will ever need is within you and emotional talent is your capacity to stimulate and draw upon your natural fountain of energy.
Through mastering your emotions you have the capability to produce your own motivational energy.
Anger,fear and sorrow are not true emotions , they are actually obstructions to the natural flow of motivational energy.
Again when we were babies motivation was completely natural to us and constant. Everything was interesting and our body and mind were in their natural relationship with our mind free of thought and our body free of tension. This was the state of pure energy when we produced our own motivation that gave us the energy to move, explore and learn.
But as we grow older and become aware of rules, meanings, psychic turbulence, social turmoil and human frustration. As our minds build up these traumatic memories our bodies begin to store tension. This tension is a blockage of the natural flow of energy.
Only with a mind free of judgement and expectation can allow the free flow of emotional energies.
Emotional blocks are normal but they are not natural.Fear, sorrow and anger are reactive patterns of subconscious learned behaviour.
To become a natural warrior athlete you must gain insight into the minds influence on emotional tension so that you can be free of involuntary reactions which block the natural flow of emotional motivational energy.
Breaking the circuit of tension
If you have to worry you must apply nonresistance and mindfulness so that your thoughts will not impose tension on your body. Let your river of thoughts float by and do not let them get stuck. Be mindful and practice mindfulness.
Whatever arises in the present moment just let it be interesting and do not judge it as either good or bad. This will awaken your true emotional energy which will allow your life to begin to flow.
If you don’t use a muscle is atrophies and becomes weak. The same is true for reactive emotional habit patterns, if you stop using them you will eventually make them obsolete.
Mastery of athletics will require transcendence of all you unconscious reactions that may interfere with the smoothest and most harmonious functioning of the body and mind.
It is very important and useful to practice mindfulness and non dramatize situations that would otherwise have you tied up in knots.
Non Dramatisation is the immediate recognition of your psychophysical reality, accepting any physical or emotional tension you may feel and then consciously letting it go.
Negative thoughts do not have to mean negative feelings or tension.You need to become proficient in letting go of thoughts so that you can transcend the usual reflex of unconscious tension in the face of difficulty.
You do not have to bring a thought or its corresponding tension to life, you do not have to give it power. You may notice a fearful thought but you dont have to act afraid. You are able to short circuit what would be the regular habit pattern.
Until you have mastered all emotional obstructions you will still encounter situations that stimulate negative emotions but what you do in response to them is always under your control.
It is not easy but you do not need to surrender to the reactive pattern. It is not helpful to pretend you don’t feel it but rather learn to translate your responses into positive energy and action. ‘This will develop true emotional energy in the form of relaxed motivation.
Breath and feeling
Breath is the key to your emotional state because it both reflects and controls your level of tension. The natural warrior athlete breathes naturally from deep in the body and produces his own inspiration with balanced and relaxed inhalations and exhalations.
To gain mastery of your emotional state it is essential that you gain conscious control over your breathing. This is a central teaching of many ancient spiritual traditions.
Breath unifies the mind and body.They are intimately related through the feeling of breath.
Eventually you will feel your breath move your body and it will naturally become a part of your athletic movement. Control of the breath will give you command over your otherwise random emotional reactions.
Building the foundation
There is no greater miracle of nature than your own body and with mental clarity and emotional energy you give your body the power to take action.
The mind and emotion can be difficult to observe and change but the body is more easily adaptable to change. So developing and changing your body can also help develop mental clarity and emotional energy.
Conscious physical training is using the visible to mold the invisible.
Consider your body’s relationship with gravity when it is straight and naturally aligned. If the body is out of line it will need extra energy to keep it stable.
Misalignment of the body can be from incorrect movement patterns but also from emotional trauma which has caused stored tension.
You want to first work on your body posture so that you are naturally aligned and not using any excess energy to support your body against gravity.
Resistance to change
The body can still be resistant to change as it settles into certain movement patterns that can only be changed with conscious effort.
A body that begins in balance tends to stay in balance and a body out of balance tends to stay out of balance unless acted upon by an outside force. The outside force you can generate are your motivations.
Your body was born in balance, but psychological and physical forces over the years would have generated imbalances in mind , emotion and body.
Any change requires an initiatory period of discomfort until the body adjusts to the new demand. There is no way of getting around it .
It may take three to four weeks to change a habit but 6 months to stabilize it and keep it. Be patient and persistent as it will take time for old patterns to be made obsolete.
When mind and motivation work in harmony what is created is real will.
Feeding the body
Your body is fed through food primarily but also sunlight, air, peaceful environments and interactions with friends and family.
It is best to stay away from process and preserved foods and stick to fresh produce.
Eat food full of nutritional value and free of man made additives.
Eating patterns should reflect your body’s needs and not your minds cravings.
Fill your body with vitality and this will in turn give you power to develop your physical talent.
The natural warrior athlete is free from all tension and learns to recognise any tension and release it in the moment. Many people carry subtle tension for so long they forget what real relaxation is.
Genuine relaxation is not temporary but a continual enjoyment of muscular release and high energy at the same time.
The more you become familiar with deep relaxation the more you will notice tension in your body that you have carried unconsciously and you will be able to relax that tension.
Consummate athletes and artists in every field have ease of movement through efficient use of muscles with no wasted effort and energy.
Muscular strength increases in proportion to the effort of training.But to use strength properly it must be in balance and with relaxation. Strength is the overall ability to control movement.
Effective strength is the ability to relax the proper muscle groups while consciously tensing others. This is something that babies do naturally.
Strength cannot be free to work unless balanced with relaxation. Too much muscle can mean too much tension so you can reach a point of diminishing returns with developing just muscle mass.
Balance the demand on your muscles between sheer power and the ability to be loose and relaxed.
Develop the capacity for relaxed power so your movements are effortless.
A baby needs no stretching exercises because it carries no tension.But as you grew you activated habitual tensing of muscles in response to physical and psychological factors which have made your body less naturally suttle.
You need to notice your stored tension and use appropriate measures to dissolve it.
The naturally supple body is the reflection of a relaxed mind.
stretching should be relaxed and intelligent not enthusiastic. You do not want to inflict more pain on your body by stretching. Consider that when you are relaxed you become more supple without doing any stretching.
Simply relax into slightly more extended positions than you are used to and make sure that stretching always feels good.
Suppleness means a state of full articulation of all movable joints including wrists, shoulders neck, the entire spine pelvis , hips , thighs, hamstrings and ankles.
Suppleness should be given priority over strength since the more supple you are the less energy you need to expend in order to move the body.
Suppleness is the embodiment of non resistance. Suppleness, strength and relaxation are intimately related.
Suppleness developed through awareness of tension, conscious relaxation and proper stretching will improve your game and decrease injuries.
You will feel more awake and alive in daily life.
Sensitivity just means an enhancement of senses and can refer to sight, hearing, taste etc. But for the athlete the most important are the kinesthetic senses that enable effective movement. This includes balance, coordination, vertical reflex,timing and rhythm.
All these areas are interrelated so if you concentrate on one they will all develop.
Sensitivity enables you to learn more rapidly as your body picks up cues faster. You can feel errors easier and correct them consistently.
You can cut through old compensations as you won’t be deeply locked in patterns of reaction.
Tension interferes with your sense of balance, timing, coordination and reflex.
The natural warrior athlete is capable of unleashing awesome power yet is so soft , smooth and sensitive that they pick up on subtle cues.
No athlete ever becomes an expert without investing time and energy therefore stamina is a vital aspect of physical talent.
It takes stamina to perform any action over an extended period of time and can be both mental and physical .
Stamina is a natural response to training and is best developed by training in your chosen sport. It is also a function of relaxation , strength and suppleness.
The natural warrior athlete who is free from tension requires less effort to build stamina.
You do not have to hurt yourself in order to feel good and should be kept in mind when developing stamina. Learn to develop it gradually
Athletic injuries and how to avoid them
A single injury can be devastating to an athlete and undo a lot of good work.
Injury is always the result of fundamental weakness in a mental, emotional or physical area of talent.
Accidents aren’t really accidents. You were not paying attention, were upset or were not prepared.
Therefore mental clarity, attention, emotional stability and physical preparation are the best insurance policies against injuries.
The natural warrior athlete acts on clear intuitions and therefore injuries are rare in the natural process of training
The three centres of whole body talent
Natural training cannot be approached by attention to the physical body alone your must take notice of subtle realms that make up the foundation of our lives.
Absolute stability can only be achieved through combined focus of mind, emotions and physical practice.
The state of being centered with a quiet mind, open emotions and a relaxed / energized body will literally give you a better connection to the earth and your environment.
All forces you exert come from the earth, you are only the transmitter.
The natural warrior athlete knows that physical ability alone without development of mental clarity and emotional energy is a hollow accomplishment.
On The Road
Moving with spirit
Once you trust in the natural laws you will experience an internal guide that will show you the way to your aspirations. You just have to be patient and wise.
The natural way is ordinary, easeful and gradual with no need for heroic struggle but rather to just flow with the natural laws.
At the very least you are potential energy and you will need to apply the principles through perseverance, grit and hard work.
Techniques Of Training
Smart, fast and fun
All training techniques are just shadows of the natural laws. With natural alignment gained through conscious practice you can become the master of all techniques.
Techniques of training are fundamentals of learning every form of movement.
Life will be filled with cycles and periods of transition. Life is a series of changes that can be smooth or chaotic, minute to minute , day to day and year to year.
You life will be enhanced as you recognises these periods of transition otherwise they will be scattered and unconscious.
Transitions can be in between major life events or transitioning from work to home while driving. You need to learn to enjoy these transitional periods and keep a flow running between them.
Create conscious transition rituals for the hours, days, months and years of your life.
Warming up in athletics is a transition ritual that is crucial. A proper warm up prepares you for the demands of your sport and is important for the body, mind and emotions.
The mental warm up consists setting goals for your training session and placing your attention on your training area and cultivating gratitude and respect for your practice.
Emotional warm up might begin with some deep calming breaths and remembering the initial excitement you felt for the sport and generate the emotion that gets you excited to train and imagine yourself succeeding at your goals.
Mental and emotional warm up can take place simultaneously at the speed to thought. You could complete this warm up in five deep breaths.
The physical warm up will have to take longer to get your body fully awake and relaxed.
Learning a skill requires creating a neurological pathway and motor response to the movement pattern of the skill and then stabilizing the pathway for consistency.
This applies to any movement pattern if it is simple or complex.
Your first attempt at a new skill is the most important because you have no previous pathway formed and are likely to somewhat follow the new pathway you create.
Every Time you take the same neural pathway you will stabilize and reinforce the motor response whether it is correct or not.
Every Time you practice a movement incorrectly you increase your ability to do it wrong. Therefore you want to repeat the correct movement pattern as much as possible and avoid repeating incorrect patterns at all costs.
A fundamental rule is : Never repeat the same error twice. Errors are of course a part of learning but in order to not make them a habit you must consciously make different errors each time and move them towards the correct pattern.
Do not habituate yourself to one incorrect movement pattern. This is very important as you do not want to get accustomed to incorrect movement as it will greatly slow your learning process.
Consciously make each attempt different so you explore the many possibilities for error on your way to the correct, straight path without forming bad habits.
Awareness and practice
The times you practice only really count when you are paying attention to them.
Remember only perfect practice makes perfect.
You have to pay attention so you attempt the correct pattern and avoid the incorrect one.
Be fully aware in your mind and body during every attempt at practice. If you make an error never just repeat it again without thinking, take a moment to be aware of what went wrong and then consciously do something different.
The stages of practice
To learn a skill you don’t need to repeat it countless times but rather to repeat it just enough times with intense concentration and real interest. If this fails then stop practicing as you do not want incorrect patterns to develop.
Practice is like gambling in that you need to know when to quit. This way of learning is aligned with the natural order. If you try to speed it up it is too easy to pick up compensations for bad technique.
When you practice stop for a moment between each to attempts, breath deep and relax and feel fully aware. Feel your connection to the earth and its power.
Therefore learning should not just become a process of endless repetition but rather a strategy of training should be employed that contains insight and concentration.
If you learn to perform an incorrect pattern over a long period of time then when you attempt to correct it the correct way will feel strange. When you are wrong , what is right feels wrong. Making it much harder to fix an old habit than to form a new one correctly.
When correcting an old habit you may need to overcompensate as your steps towards correction will feel weird you are unlikely to go as far as required. Recognise the law of balance, and find the middle where you can effectively learn.
If you are making an error you can deliberately over compensate and make the same error but on the opposite side or direction. This will allow you to find the middle faster.
If you wish to learn successfully and rapidly you must be more interested in learning a movement than you are afraid of crashing.
Ideomotor action and mental practice
Clear mental imagery , even without actual movement can develop correct muscular responses.
The ideomotor response proves that when you visualise a movement you will have a corresponding muscular impulse.
Mental practice is a very useful supplement to physical practice and can give you the natural edge to learn techniques seemingly effortlessly.
You can dream about moves and perform them in your head all day so that even if you try something for the first time it will feel as if you have done it before.
Mental practice is safe, you can do it anywhere, there is no fear of failure, it costs nothing and it means that you are automatically concentrating. You have to develop your capacity for visualization and imagery but once you do you will reap the rewards.
Mental practice can be used if you are ill or injured or at odd moments when you have not much else to do . It is far better than worrying about your problems.
It can be a great tool to troubleshoot techniques that you may be having problems with, take a break and mentally visualise the correct movement without any errors.
Mental practice is more efficient than physical practice but it is also more difficult.
Slow Motion Practice
Slow motion practice gives you time to be aware of every part of a movement..You can sense the complex parts such as weight shift, coordination of the body and small muscle movements.
Most unconscious errors will occur in the middle of a movement sequence, therefore slowing the movement down can make unconscious movements painfully obvious.
In moving slowly you can become aware of tension and are able to let it go and then once you begin to move without tension you will be able to move faster than ever.
Slow motion practice is like studying slow motion replays except you are feeling it not just looking at it.
Slowing down practice expands your awareness and eliminates blind spots you encounter in rapid movement. Slow motion practice can be a form of moving meditation.
Also focus on a perfect beginning and ending of your technique with perfect follow through When you start and end in the proper position the middle will begin to flow.
Any skill is made of component parts. A good way to learn or teach a skill is to break it down into its parts from beginning , middle and end and then you can put the whole thing together.
Analysis can be applied to specific drills and make learning an entire movement much easier.
The programming principle
Programmed learning books are available to allow you to learn many subjects through programmed texts.
They follow the natural principles that we learn in small steps, we take an active part filling in the blanks, we get immediate reinforcement and feedback and we feel successful because of the small simple progressions.
Good programmed learning texts are designed around common sense principles. and make learning easy and fun.
Programmed progressions allow a constant feeling of success in which the process of learning becomes the goal.
You can also make up your own programmed progressions.
Imitation: The ultimate technique
At the end of the day we return to the way children learn, by imitation and copying.
Copying is the most instinctive, simple and natural way to learn. You may have learned that it is bad to be a copycat but really it is fine to copy people as long as they have qualities worth copying.
Look for the good in everyone and that person can become a teacher. That way everyone you meet can become a teacher to you without knowing it.
To do this you have to push envy aside as you have to admire the qualities that someone else possesses. Envy will only isolate you.
Learn by observation, appreciation and imitation. To learn a skill, find someone who is skillful and watch them carefully. As you watch, feel yourself moving the same way then practice your ability to imitate.
Imitation is the master technique of learning as it bypasses intellectualization by creating learning in action. Find qualities you admire in others and imitate them until they become your own.
You do have to be sufficiently prepared to copy well, you could experience unconscious resistance to copying someone because of a belief that you have to be original, you can also copy the wrong people or the wrong qualities. If any of these are true you are not making the most of imitation.
Using awareness as a lever you can use all these principles and strategies to learn how to learn.
Success in the moment of truth
Three primary attitudes seem to exist towards competition, people admire the competitive ethic for making it on your own and taking credit for your own successes and failures. Some people who are inclined to peaceful coexistence avoid competition as dehumanizing and want to avoid an “us” vs “them” mentality. The third group cares little either way.
Positives of competition are that it is the ultimate test of reality, it demands full involvement and energy and can be a source of self reflection that you cannot find in other areas of society.
Strengths can emerge and be reinforced and weaknesses can be eliminated. It is one of the last ways we can face a moment of truth in society.
It can also be a form of movement meditation in which all your attention is forced to be focused on the present moment and in a flow state.
The negatives of competition is that there are always few winners and many losers and competition will reinforce this polarisation.This can breed negative opposition where you can be encouraged to hate your opponents. It can reinforce simplistic black and white thinking.
But competition does not always have to be a negative it can also be viewed as a cooperative mutual teaching session where your opponents are helping you to learn.
If your opponent is your teacher and you are there teacher then you are both doing each other a service by trying to win and once you view competition in this way you will always try to win but without hostility and negativity.
Winning and losing can also be a completely arbitrary experience and only able to judge who was better on the day.
The moment of truth in competition itself is a stimulus to excellence. But once it is over it has little meaning left. The natural warrior athlete will forget the games outcome the moment it is over but remembers its lessons.
A natural warrior athlete cannot afford to dwell on the past, the only lasting value of competition is the experience and the lessons learned from it that can be kept alive.
In the competitive arena there will always be people above or below you just make sure that you use competition to stimulate your own efforts and not become preoccupied with the other athletes. Keep to your natural pace and all that matters is if you have done your best.
Physical preparation for competition: overload and cutback
In the moment of truth you are forced to focus all of your capacities of mind, emotion and body on the present moment.
The natural warrior athlete The natural warrior athlete can play as if their life depends on it yet also laugh at the outcome. With humour and intensity you can harness your fullest energies.
Under the pressure of competition you can see your body exceed its everyday capabilities and you must be prepared for that.
The way to prepare for this is to overload the demand before competition during the leadup and then cutback just before it arrives.
This will not only help you prepare your body but your mind will gain confidence.
It is entirely normal to be anxious before a competition. Everyone will feel some level of anxiety you just need to learn to understand it and overcome it.
Remember that competition is a ceremony where you will be tested and have every right to be nervous. Your body will release adrenaline and your heart will beat faster.
You should not fight this, these symptoms will help you during competition so you have to learn how to use them. If you feel them coming before the time you need them you can control the flow of adrenaline by doing some basic movements.
All of these nervous responses are designed to make you forever faster and stronger.
If your mind is filled with negative emotion then you will experience these symptoms as fear but if you work on positive motivation you will experience the nerves as excitement and anticipation.
If you are relaxed you can learn to channel this extra energy. You will gain a perspective that the results you get depends upon preparation so you will gain more respect for your training.
An experienced athlete treats training and competition with the same respect and intensity. They train with the same mental focus and determination as if they were in competition and when they compete they are as relaxed as if they were training.
Psyching up and psyching out: the mental game
Physical skill is only part of what is tested in competition , mental skill also plays a big role. A physical expert can be weakened and distracted is they have not mastered the mental game.
Ancient samurai warriors recognised that a razor sharp mind and emotional calm must precede physical skill.
It is a psychological duel where you test your calm as much as your reflexes.
It is perfectly fine to psych out your opponent as it is part of the psychological nature of sport. You can teach them about the inner game.
Sport is psychological in nature so if you are going to play you may as well play in the psychological realm.
But never get so involved in psychological strategy that you lose your own center. The best strategy is to have unshakeable confidence and calm and be a tower of strength. this in itself can distract opponents.
The Evolution Of Sport
New games for new athletes
Sport can reinforce ways of acting and have a carry over into daily life. An influence that is so central to our life should therefore be approached with sever respect. The benefits of sport can outweigh the negatives but you should look at ways to enhance these benefits.
You should ask if your sport contributes to your own physical and psychological well being ? And if it helps you develop a better capacity for daily life ?
Many sports make primary use of one side of the body and can debilitate the symmetry of the body which is vital to have natural alignment with the earth gravity.
The rule of symmetry if applied to one sided sports would have a lot of health benefits and would be aligned with natural laws.
Some research shows that learning a skill on one side increases learning facility on the other and can eliminate old bad habits.
You can evolve your thinking of sports if you begin to view your movements as energy awareness. That you are sculpting energy at you move. As you learn to to shape the direction of energy flow you begin to play on natures team with the air, water and earth as teammates.
In order to benefit daily life the world of sport must be a way of life. Certain key elements should be incorporated into total athletic training as they will be of great overall benefit.
Mental training encourages the attitude of blending and harmonising rather than collision. Enhances ability to see the flow of energy. Develops sensitivity and demands full attention. Contains pressures that must be transcended and creates growth.
Emotional training encourages cooperative interaction rather than self preoccupation. Is a laboratory to understand yourself and others.
Physical training balances development of the body, demands suppleness, develops cardiovascular fitness and stamina. Aids muscular symmetry and postural alignment. Enhances the bodies connection to the earth.
The natural warrior athlete is no longer anxious , struggling or eager for victory at all costs.
At Journeys End
All the teachers of mankind have acknowledged the same thing. That to truly grow we must reintegrate the wisdom of life experience with the open eyed innocence of childhood.
To Achieve unity with the universe you must first achieve unity within yourself by harmonizing body, mind and emotions.
Esoteric practices such as Sufism, Qabala, Taoism and Zen are major spiritual traditions that represent whole body teachings.
To become a natural warrior athlete you have to become a natural human being. You must build a life of positive energy and discipline without extremes. Love in principle and action.
your training can literally change the quality of daily life as you abandon old habits and self preoccupation to become free.
Rebirth of the warrior athlete
It is still possible for an athlete to have expert skills in their sport but be undisciplined and unstable in mental and emotional affairs of daily life.
But the master is the product of psychophysical training. A whole body natural warrior athlete how has a well rounded capacity for life in any environment.
An expert may shine light in the arena but a masters light shines everywhere.
A master of one art can master any art because they have mastered themselves. The masters physical skill is a byproduct of internal development.
The movement master in daily life
The movement master does everything naturally and has no desire to standout. They would always seem relaxed, calm alert and open to circumstance.
Every movement they make receives their undivided attention with a presence and certainty which radiates security.
The master creates a ceremony out of every moment.
The master has the warrior spirit, bathed in humour.
The lessons of sport
We tend to play at sports the same way we play at life. Our training offers many lessons about life.
You must relax and blend with the little problems of daily life ,slow down take it easy and make sure to enjoy life.
HIdden within every experience is a lesson. in learning to move you are also moving to learn.
Create your own inner warrior athlete
It is difficult for anyone to see their own imbalances clearly as we normally use ourselves as a measure of what is appropriate and therefore see our own actions as justifiable.
The natural warrior athlete needs a more comprehensive perspective to be able to grow. You must learn to observe yourself realistically in your functioning. You have to first notice and understand that where you do not have the perfect balance of qualities so that you may transform those areas.
A way to give yourself a comparable model that you create from your own natural intuition is to imagine the perfect athlete. This ideal then becomes your inner teacher and guide. A source of constant inspiration.
You need to sculpt with you mind what the ideal natural warrior athlete looks like, how they stand and move, how relaxed they are and what their mental traits and emotional calm is like. Give them a personality and create an ideal balance using any models you know.
Once you have created your inner warrior athlete you then have a teacher for life that you can take with you anywhere. As you develop your qualities in comparison to your ideal natural warrior athlete you will gradually move yourself closer to this ideal.
The art of living, with good form.
Your life is something you create moment by moment. You are ultimately responsible for what you are, who you are and what you are doing. You can create something fine and useful with your life or you can throw it away.
You can make your life as you choose but to many people get fearful and surrender too soon to a second rate way of life.
Good physical form is the most efficient way of blending with the natural laws. It involves proper alignment with gravity,No unnecessary tension, unified musculature, Awareness, Coordinated response and timing.
Good mental form is the releasing of thoughts as they arise and directing your attention to your movements.Good emotional form is breathing consciously with feeling.
The natural warrior athlete strives to apply good form in both sport and within daily life. If you maintain whole body good form in daily life your discipline will transform you.
THE WARRIOR ATHLETE and MEDITATION
The nature of spiritual training
Spiritual training is whole body training. When your mind , body and emotions are in complete harmony the world will literally change for you becoming less complicated and more interesting.
Unified states frees your attention so that you can become aware of subtle mechanisms and intuitions you had rarely seen before. While immersed in the moment of truth an athlete will experience extraordinary effects.
These experiance point to the meditative demand of sport. Athletes must meditate on every move and give totaal attention to everything in the environment and silence any internal noise.In the moment of truth the athlete is like and indian yogi.
The warrior athlete and satori
Satori is a japanese zen word that describes the natural harmony of mind , body and emotions. When the mind is completely in the present moment.
When you emotions a free of obstruction and manifest as pure motivational energy and when the body is fully relaxed and open to life..
When all three centers are in harmony you will feel a click that is satori, it is a state of being in the moment, of pure flow, and every artist drops in and out of it on many occasions.
Satori will feel great, it is the natural state of natural warrior athletes and a state of dynamic meditation. Being completely in the present moment and free of problems and complications by immersing ourselves in the flow state.
Satori is the hidden goal of all our aspirations Its a preview of spiritual life. You were born a natural warrior athlete and you can be again. Approach your journey with all your mind and feeling and spirit. Approach training and daily life in the same way.
Dedicate your training towards the development of the spiritual experience. This will be the culmination of your journey.
As you align yourself with the rhythms of nature you will bathe in satori. You are the master.
You have the university , the gymnasium and the temple all inside of you. You just need to reconnect all centers so they operate in harmony as one whole.
The last frontier is the inward journey and the total athlete can discover the laws of the universe within their own body.
Beyond Technique is an instructional video by Kit Dale and Nicolas Gregoriades that covers 20 BJJ concepts over a wide range of positions. It was one of the first instructionals to to focus entirely on BJJ Concepts & principles. Below I give a short summary of the concepts that are covered.
When moving between positions, (side mount, knee ride, north-south, mount ) you want to maintain pressure on your opponent at all times. At no point do you want to take the pressure off, you want constant pressure and control.
Like lifting your fishing rod up in the air before you begin to wind the reel to help land the fish. If you are in someone’s guard and they have grips on your sleeve stand up and posture with your legs and hips and then recover control of your sleeves by bringing them closer to your body. The opposite would be just trying to pull your arms in on their own.
Instead let your legs, hips and posture be the fishing rod lifting up and then pull your arms in
“A four-legged table is a stable base, a two-legged table falls of its own accord” Consider an opponent on their hands and feet with each limb representing a table leg. Then Divide the body into 4 quadrants. With one quadrant representing the left leg, right leg, left arm and right arm. To plan your sweeps you want to look at what quadrant of your opponent you have neutralised and that is the area and direction that they can be swept into.
A quadrant that is defended by a free hand or leg will be used to support the opponent if you try to sweep them into that quadrant. Instead, immobilise a quadrant and sweep into that quadrant.
Post, Pressure and leverage.
Three principles are used for sweeps. Either do all three or two really well for a sweep to work. Taking away the ability to post is the same as the quadrant concept. You then want to get a grip to take away the opponents posture. Once you have taken away their post and posture you need to create a leverage point on their body by getting a grip or using your foot and then sweep into the quadrant that you have taken away the post from.
The porcupine concept states that when someone is trying to control you, you should be “spiky” or “Prickly” like a porcupine by using harder parts of your anatomy against softer parts of your opponent’s anatomy. For example, using your wrist bone or the point of your elbow against soft parts of your opponent’s neck or sternum.
Nullifying the guard pull.
For competition Jiu-Jitsu against guard pullers. To pull guard the opponent’s hips must come closer than their shoulders. To nullify this look to grab their lapel on their shoulder and break them forward so that their shoulder will always be closer to you than their hips. If they pop back after you have broken their posture forward they will be susceptible to leg sweeps/trip takedowns.
Deals with how you push and pull with your arms. Do not push straight out, it is a more efficient movement to rotate your arm when you push out, similar to throwing a punch.
When pulling it is the same concept but in reverse, so when you pull in you will rotate your arm. For example, if your palm was facing down when you grabbed your opponent you will rotate your arm so that once you finish pulling in your palm will face up. Essentially pulling and pushing as if you were throwing punches and rolling your knuckles over.
When guard passing you must always control your balance, base, the centre of gravity or else you will be easy to sweep.
Changing your centre of gravity to the opposite of where your opponent is looking to sweep you will make it difficult for them. This will usually be controlled by moving your hips.
If they have taken a post away then you can use the quadrant concept in reverse by shifting your weight and centre of gravity to the opposite quadrant from your compromised quadrant.
Collapsing and inserting structures
Using your body to strengthen and reinforce an area that your opponent may be attacking, for instance placing a structure of your elbows between your legs so that your opponent cannot squeeze your legs together. Or creating a structure by grabbing the outside of your own knees and placing your elbows on the mat to prevent toriander passes. Any area that your opponents are looking to squeeze or crush see if you can insert a structure to prevent this.
If your opponent is using a structure to attack, for instance, spider guard where the structure would be the opponent’s legs. To escape the spider guard you cannot be rigid and tense as this will give strength to your opponent’s structure. Instead, you should relax and take all pressure away which will collapse the structure.
This concept is for keeping your guard. Think of each of your legs as the barrels of a double-barreled shotgun. When you shoot one of the barrels this is when you extend one of your legs out. Now in this concept you never want to have shot both barrels at the same time, that is you never want to extend both of your legs at once. You always want to have one bullet in the chamber so that even if one of your legs is extended you want your other leg with your knee to your chest so that it can protect you from having your guard passed.
Open and closed chain
Consider your limbs as chains that start at your torso and end at the end of your limbs. Your chains are vulnerable to being attacked when they are opened. Open is when they are not attached to the floor, holding into something or hidden away.
When considering the chain of your arms you want to protect the hand and the wrist because this is the end of the chain. For instance, if you are feeling vulnerable to an armbar you need to hide or protect the end of the chain which is your hand and wrist. As long as you keep the chain closed, or hide the end of it away the opponent cannot finish the attack on the chain.
With leglocks, your foot is the end of the chain. So a common leglock escape would be to clear your hip and put all your weight on your foot so that it connects to the floor. This is closing the chain of your legs by connecting your foot to the floor.
If you are passing someone’s guard it is helpful to make yourself feel as heavy as possible to your opponent. This is done by removing the opponent’s leverage points or levers so that they are not leveraging any part of your body and instead are carrying all of your weight. An example of this would be when in butterfly guard pinning both the opponent’s legs together so that the butterfly guards lever is removed.
Consider your spine and when it is in a neutral position it is at its strongest. But if it is twisted, bent or kinked it instantly weakens your entire structure. Always be looking to put a kink in your opponent’s spine or torque it in some way to weaken their entire structure. Conversely, when defending you want to keep your spine in the neutral position the entire time to regain your strength. For instance, moving your opponent’s hips one way but keeping their upper body pinned or even moving their jaw/head in the opposite direction. By torquing the spine by attacking and twisting the jaw you will even weaken your opponent’s legs.
If you find yourself in a stalemate with your opponent consider their spine, is it in a neutral position? Or could you torque it by moving their hips or jaw? And conversely, consider your spines position and make sure it is neutral to generate the maximum amount of leverage.
For when certain moves only work on certain body types. For instance, if you are against a taller opponent playing spider guard will be really difficult as they can create a lot of slack in their arms by simply standing. For a tall opponent, you want to use a short-range guard not a long-range guard as you want to neutralise the advantage of height that your opponent may have. Conversely, If you are taller use a long-range guard.
The same principle applies when passing. If you are going against a taller opponent you will have to pass by keeping close to their body or by using a half guard pass so that they cannot use the full length of their limbs.
Consider you have an invisible border running down the side of your torso and between your shoulder and across your hips. Think of a rectangle between your shoulders and hips. You want to make sure your opponent never gets inside your borders if they are wanting to control you. Conversely, if you are looking to control your opponent then you want to get inside this border. When defending your border you never want to let your opponent get their body in your border so you would jam a limb or knee between your border and your opponent’s body to prevent this.
Even when on the mount this would be pulling the opponent’s elbows away from their body/border so that they become compromised.
Loading the spring
When passing the guard or sweeping you can accidentally telegraph your move, consider this as loading up your punches or pulling back before you punch.
For example when attempting a pass when you would push your opponent’s legs in and then pull them out to pass the legs. You do not want to push the legs in suddenly as this is the telegraph to your opponent. Instead, you would load the spring by driving your pressure in slowly until you feel your opponent start to push away and you would then pull their legs out. If any movement involves a push / pull motion then loading the spring is not exploding into the push-pull which would telegraph your intentions. But rather slowly forcing your opponent into the position where you would have pushed them (this would be when the spring is loaded) and then executing the pull.
Using a part of your anatomy that you throw through space to create a pendulum effect that moves the rest of your body.
For example, when laying flat and looking to sit up you would not just raise your shoulders up, instead, you would raise your legs to the sky and then throw them down towards the ground. This would create the pendulum effect that would lift your shoulders.
A concept that takes your opponent’s posture into account to dictate what takedown you would use against them. If they are standing very upright then you would attack their legs with trips or leg picks. If your opponent is leaning forward then you would instead consider throwing them. If your opponent is really far back and leaning forward then you would look to snap them down.
With these three setups in mind, you can rotate between them as the counters from one posture and takedown will usually lead them into one of the other postures.
Hip centric movement
Often in scrambles, you may reflexively move your arms to gain control over your opponent but it is instead much better to think of where you move your hips and use your hip position to gain control over your opponent. For instance, do not reach or grab your opponent but rather move your hips closer to them which will give you much more leverage.
Like Judo whoever gets the dominant grips will most likely win. Misdirection is to get the grips you want without telegraphing your intention. If you want to grab their feet you do not want to look at their feet and move directly to grab them as it will be obvious to your opponent. instead, want to see where your opponent is looking or paying attention to and use movement to misdirect them away from where you are looking to grip. This may be looking at their legs and grabbing the lapel instead and not easily telegraphing your intention to your opponent.