- Posted by Cody Maltias
- On August 30, 2016
- 0 Comments
- a set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole, in particular.
- a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method
System is one of those terms in martial arts which is overused and often misunderstood. More and more with the rising notoriety of certain coaches utilizing actual systems in order to accomplish certain goals other individuals are starting to copy that nomenclature but without the sophistication behind it to have an actual system.
A system, as it relates to martial arts, should be a set of tactics, principles and techniques which cover a significant range of possibilities and work on varying opponents and for different size and skill practitioners. There are various systems at play in MMA at any given time, and these typically follow the various Meta-game paths of the sport. Each discipline of MMA is organized as a system as well. BJJ for example has gained much of the notoriety for being applicable for any size practitioner against a smaller or larger opponent. BJJ has an answer for standing techniques, takedowns, passing, escaping, controlling and finishing an opponent. These systems can lead to quicker passing on and acquiring of knowledge as well as the ability to constantly test and adapt different variations.
Bendy Casimir has developed a very unique grappling system (check out his youtube channel). He utilizes the kneebar as his main weapon. His single minded determination to perfect this technique is always impressive to see. He has a detailed breakdown of how to close with and engage his opponent with a kneebar from every situation imaginable. I have seen him teach this system to others who have had similar success. More importantly, those who utilize this system are constantly able to work together to better refine and improve each branch of the system.
Bendy’s theory is that there are three main submissions in grappling that can be achieved from almost every position. The three he recognizes are the kimura, guillotine, and kneebar. Each option has other submission that pair well. For example, the guillotine naturally transitions with the D’arce and the anaconda choke. These three options are so easily accessed they can form the framework of a system through which you can navigate the grappling game. Other instructors have created true systems as well. David Avellan has the kimura trap system which is fairly complete. John Danaher and his students utilize his leglock system as a central framework of her grappling. Eddie Bravo is famous for his unique systems. The moves themselves may have been developed by others, but no one has put them together as a complete system. I have yet to see anyone truly demonstrate a guillotine system, but that is what I am hoping to finalize and distribute out to my students over time.
Systems and the approach to systemic thinking seem much more prevalent in the grappling arts, but it is beginning to sneak into the striking world as well. Duane Ludwig has a unique system and approach to stand up which has certainly shown a lot of positive results so far. Bryan Harper, who previously was the Head Coach at Team Quest has a very robust system of wall takedowns and defense, but that is a domain where the surface has barely even been scratched in terms of overall understanding. Ground and Pound, or as Danaher would term it “Grapple Boxing” is similarly lacking in a full system of tactics, techniques and principles. The current effectiveness of systems across disciplines will undoubtedly give rise to more development in the future.
There is always a balance to be struck between art and science. There are minds that naturally work in that engineer framework of if A then B, and those who rely on a much more natural feel. However the engineer framework is necessary for quickly conveying as much information as possible and to breakdown what those with a more intuitive feel are doing to be successful. In that way, engineers can push the artists forwards, and artists can inspire those with the engineer mindset to further study and breakdown systems with more and more complexity.
If you are interested in this subject I highly recommend you go back and read as many of John Danaher’s posts as possible, check out Jeff Shaw’s post The Engineer and The Artist, and finally go back and catch this post on why naming conventions support learning.