- Posted by Cody Maltias
- On October 17, 2017
- 0 Comments
Recently my friend Roy Marsh wrote a great article on the guillotine talking more about the uses of the guillotine conceptually. Besides talking about my favorite technique the whole premise stuck in my brain and hung around my thoughts long after. The basic premise of the article was that the guillotine had utility across the entire spectrum of grappling whether in the gi or no-gi, in the cage, or in a self defense situation it was present and effective. If anything the guillotine got better in more kinetic and chaotic situations due to the simplicity. The article is worth a read and certainly stands on its own, but I wanted to take that concept 1 step further.
A few months later I picked back up Nasem Taleb’s Antifragile which is one of my favorite books ever. The concept of the book is that we have no word in our language for something that gains from disorder. When agitated the fragile breaks, the robust remains unchanged, but the anti-fragile improves due to the disorder. As I re-read this book the context of Roy’s article kept tugging at my brain until I was finally able to see the thread of how Antifragile applied to fighting and training.
There is a hierarchy that is clearly present in every encounter. Drilling and learning techniques are typically a sterile safe environment. Rolling starting from a set position < free rolling but starting on the ground < starting from the feet. Removing the gi adds more uncertainty and randomness. Training in your street clothes would add another layer. Training on an uneven surface, or not on mats adds more uncertainty. Training at your home gym is clearly different than training at a new facility which is also less uncertain than a tournament. The open class is different than your weight class. An MMA fight is the most uncertain structured contest you can engage in. Beyond that we have encounters on the streets in daily life culminating in a life and death encounter in some form or fashion.
As a student the is a simple goal to constantly seek to move up the ladder in being able to tolerate additional disorder. The best student is the one who can handle the most disorder. There is a mental, physical and technical component to moving through this ladder.
The mental aspect is a matter of preparation and exposure. Each time you are exposed to greater stressors and then the stress is removed before you break you will come back next time more mentally prepared to perform. If you are a competing in your first tournament, first MMA fight, or preparing for a situation in self defense then it is incumbent upon you to set up the most realistic situations possible to mentally prepare. In basic terms try to practice how you play.
The physical application appears simple on the surface. Being in better shape is at worst robust, at best antifragile. We have all seen fighters who are less skilled get better due to a wild, high paced fight that they are well prepared for physically. Taking the physical dimension a step further how do we ensure proper preparation for a wide variety of domains. How do we ensure mobility and power at the far ranges of motion, and joints, bones, and soft tissue that all hold up against higher and higher levels of strain. This should be the goal of any long term development plan rather than focusing on strength and cardio alone. The long term antifragility is what wins out.
Technical antifragility as it applies to fighting is a matter of technique selection and tactically sound principles. Moves that work under all rule sets, in any attire, against a variety of opponents should be chosen preferentially. Tactics that ignore specific rule sets but instead focus on energy efficiency relative to your opponent and ability to do more damage than your opponent are where focus should be placed. Why do wrestlers generally do better as they move in to MMA than Gi Jiu-Jitsu or Judo? Wrestlers are unreliant on gi material, and they are focused on takedowns and not letting their back hit the mat. Those tactical points of emphasis hold up better over the long run in a situation with less rules such as an MMA fight. By the same token individuals with Muay Thai backgrounds seem to merge into MMA easier than kickboxers and boxers due to their comfort with using and defending even more weapons.
So how do we evaluate ourselves, other practitioners, and the effectiveness of techniques? Any person or technique that finds greater success as rules and artificial limits are removed is inherently more Antifragile and should receive greater focus, time, and energy. Cultivate techniques that work across broad domains that have stood the test of time. Become the individual who trains for, gains from, and thrives in disorder.