Becoming the head instructor of a Martial Arts Academy is definitely a challenge. Trying to make your mark and brand is difficult at best. Luckily at Davis Martial Arts we started with an excellent core group. So at least I didn't have to start from scratch.
Coming up through our old system there were things we did and didn't do. I never questioned it or challenged the ideas or philosophies that were set in front of me. I was the student, they were the teachers. For examples, leg attacks were looked down on at the school. For various reasons I can understand the stance on no leg attacks. Wrist locks were deemed as "cheesy". These attacks were not student friendly, and could easily set one of your guys training back for awhile.
When I took over, that way of thinking and teaching was somewhat engrained in my own teaching. However, like all things Jiujitsu, things change. I had always enjoyed the wrist lock. I was good at them. But, I never really applied them in training. I can remember times when we were not allowed to touch the face or really apply shoulder pressure in side control. You were a brute and not being technical. That evolved along with a lot of things due in part to the facts that everyone was using more and more pressure type controls to pin guys. Plus everyone was getting better at escaping, so we had to change.
Jiujitsu is a never ending game of change. But, at the same time you don't want to forget or lose parts or pieces from the past that made it so great.
I feel that in Jiujitsu, there are no SECRET moves. No mysterious techniques that separate us from them. The only differences I have really seen are how the techniques are drilled and applied in everyday training. If you want your guys to be better at triangles, you train triangles. If you want them good at foot locks, you train foot locks. Its that simple. DRILL. DRILL. DRILL. Mystery revealed. Put in the work.
On the subject of legs, ankles and feet. I feel that the leg attack game gets a bad wrap. Especially when it comes to sport Jiujitsu. There are more rules governing the attack on legs than any other attacks. I can understand, a little, why the rules are the way they are. But how about rather than creating more rules against something, we as practitioners of the sport do a better job of teaching the ends and outs of leg attacks and defense. Instead of making or creating rules against, create a level of awareness and understanding that allows our students to defend or attack this game. Don't get me wrong, I hate tapping to an ankle lock as much as anyone, along with an arm, triangle kimura, but I feel if I leave my ankle dangling out there take it. Its part of the game. Knowing when to tap, is the key. These rules I feel are why more and more schools are going away from leg attacks.
Awareness with in the ranks of your students. The tap. Knowing when enough is enough. Teaching your students how to be good training partners is crucial in the growth of a school.
Trying to unteach whats been taught for so long is tough. Starting over in a mind set of, "its ok to attack the legs. Wrist locks are a valid submission." No when to say when....That's the key. Teach your students about the TAP. Don't push a submission to pad your ego. Of course, we always want to try and escape, but at what costs. Let go of the ego. TAP.
When it comes to my white belts. I like to teach them the basics of an ankle lock submission and escapes. Wrist locks are a staple of my own attacks, so we always throw those in. TAP.TAP.TAP. Its all part of your training.
For those guys that compete, I tell them, "KNOW THE RULES". Its that simple. If you compete, every tournament circuit has its own set of standards and rules. Know what can and cant be done. Know the point scheme. Know the legal and illegal subs, takedowns, etc...Its the competitors responsibility to be informed about what they may be getting themselves into. We also discuss this before hand but ultimately, its on the competitors themselves.
Start your students out with all the facts, knowledge and training, and your Jiujitsu will be all the better for it. Teaching our guys everything at Davis Martial Arts is very important me. I don't want to lose a part of the Art, because tournaments don't allow this, that, or the other. An all around student that knows how to escape an ankle lock, who knows what a heel hook is, has felt a wrist lock, can at least have the concept to know they are in danger and need to tap or can escape. Knowledge is the key. Not more rules.
Davis Martial Arts Academy
Practice Makes Permanent
Owner and head instructor of Davis Martial Arts Academy in Humble Texas