Patterns in Movement - Solo Training

Sunday, January 27, 2008

For those of you who don't know, my martial arts journey did not start in Submission Grappling, MMA, or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In fact, I spent many of my younger years involved in Kempo and Kung Fu (Gong Fu). Something both of those arts appeared to rely upon (too frequently if you asked me) was the concept of pre-arranged movement patterns, or what is better known as forms and kata.

Kata (型 or 形, literally: "form"?) is a Japanese word describing detailed choreographed patterns of movements practiced either solo or in pairs. Kata are used in many traditional Japanese arts such as theater forms like kabuki and schools of tea ceremony (chadō), but are most commonly known for the presence in the martial arts.
Kata - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

These pre-arranged patterns of movements were supposed to mimic those of an actual fight or encounter. It was often indicated by past instructors that frequently performing these movements would ingrain them into your muscle memory, in essence they would "spring forth" when called upon in a pinch. I must not have been performing them enough or properly, as this never happened for me.

Where am I going here?

Well as a white collar professional with precious little time available to train I started thinking about those forms and katas of my past and whether or not that type of training might provide some value now.

Quite simply, the body learns movements best by doing them. Want to get better at the mounted arm bar? Practice mounted arm bars. Want to improve your triangle? Practice more triangles.

Now, what do we do when we don't have a partner to practice with? How do we get a better mounted arm bar with no one to mount and arm bar? How do we get a more efficient triangle with no one to triangle?

With this in mind I started reviewing two very interesting BJJ/Submission Grappling based "shadow grappling" or solo drills DVDs.

Grappler's Toolbox Reborn DVD Cover
Both DVDs promise improved base skills using solo or two person movement patterns, here's how we are going to test that promise.

First, I'm going to review each DVD and give you the reader a chance to get some insight as to their contents and more importantly, how useful I think they might be.

Next I'm going to include two solo drills from each DVD into my weekly training plans. I'll report back here in a few weeks/month once I've had time to see if they had any effect.

On top of all of that, I'm busy cooking up our first ever give away on WhiteCollar BJJ. Stay tuned!

Until then, Move Smart!


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Fighters Only Mag Editor said...

Re solo movements, I've always used stability balls for training by myself, warming up or generaly moving around...

hazmat said...

Nice video, having done these "ball spin" exercises for about 3 weeks now I can attest to their usefulness.

Nice work!