Thursday, October 13, 2005

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Candy First ...

On the mat, people are more often driven by emotion, rather than by logic. One of the problems with this, is that we leran very early, to avoid the positions we dislike and try our best to work only with those positions that make us feel comfortable or that have proven successful for us. Logically though, we should realize that we need to spend time in those positions we dislike, to build our game up at it’s weakest points. If we don’t do this, what happens is that we developed a very unbalanced or disproportioned game: Ie: we may have a purple/brown belt level game, provided we have the opponent in our guard – but if we are mounted, then we may have a white belt or blue belt level game. This is bad news, for the long term. We all need to a have a well-rounded or proportioned game.
To get around this problem, I have several teaching strategies; one of which I call ‘candy first’. To get a student to start working from a position they dislike – I need to first give them a good reason to want to spend time there. So I give them a move/technique that I feel really suits their style, personality or physical ability. In other words, before I have them learn their way to the ‘store’ I need to give them a but of the ‘candy’ that they can buy there. Once they have the ‘candy’, they then have a reason to learn (and get creative bout ) how to get there.
Beginners for example – first couple of nights training – try telling them that when underneath they should have their opponent in between their legs – or that when they are in someone’s guard, they really need to ‘pass’ or get out. They simply ‘don’t get it’. Teach them a choke from the guard – then they will be coming and asking you how to keep someone in the guard as well as how they should be getting out. Give them the ‘candy first’ – and they will start ‘mapping out’ their game on their own steam.
With the more advanced students, we often see them settle into their own ‘preferred’ positional game – but again, if they get the right bit of candy, they can be motivated to develop new positions and thereby broaden or deepen their game.
Candy First is a basic motivational tool that had worked well for me for years now. Try it with your students – or try it on yourself. You will definitely see results.

Safe training.

JBW

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