Monday, April 02, 2007

Positional vs. submission wrestling

I thought today I'd make a couple of comments on the holding vs. arm-breaking thread of a couple of weeks ago. We pretty much agreed in that thread that osaekomi (holding techniques) were mostly useless for self-defense purposes. You can't make someone abandon an attack by holding them still and you can't even guarentee that you can gold them still. For this reason, you have to understand what useful role osaekomi do play in a confrontation.
Osaekomi is not a hold-or-die proposition for tori. Osaekomi happens when uke gets in an awkward position and tori gets into a relatively safe position. at this point, tori applies a holding technique to make it inconvenient for uke to improve his position or improve his threat potential. I repeat, the purpose of osaekomi is to make it inconvenient (not impossible) for uke to keep attacking. Tori does not want to sacrifice much strategically in order to be able to hold uke. If tori is unable to hold uke, no big deal so long as tori remains relatively safe and uke has to exert or inconvenience himself to break the hold.
This brings up the idea of which is better for a fight - positional or submission wrestling techniques. You might be surprised by my opinion. I say positional wrestling is better for a real confrontation. I'd rather stay in a relatively safe position from which uke doesn't have good attack potential and stay neutral and mobile than try to commit to a certain submission. Winning by submission simply takes far more skill than staying safe via positional wrestling.


  1. i have known osaekomi to create submission on its own and it is a humbling experience --it is not as immeadate as other submissions but it does take a profound toll and get peoples attention--even more so than conventional chokes and armbars --i find even hard headed guys lose their stubborn and willful spirit when the air and life has been crushed from their body and every way they turn just makes matters worse-- it is a feeling not unlike being caught in a piece of machinery that begins innocuously enough to chew your body but that just gets more and more terrible as the seconds pass-- subbmisson in these cases is a result of bodily asphxiation, complete surrender, exhaustion, and usually a profund internal recognition of futility ...

  2. Absolutely right, nick. Absolutely right. There is nothing like being wedged into the mat unable to move or breathe and having the life crushed out of you until you submit or lose consciousness. It's a terrible thing.


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