Friday, December 07, 2007

High-resolution jiu-jitsu and low-resolution judo

Martial arts randori or shiai or sparring is to a large degree a pattern recognition problem. You have to find the right opportunity to apply the tactics and techniques that your strategies and principles suggest will help your situation. This is the Observe-Orient-Decide part of the OODA loop - finding the pattern in the chaos of combat.
Techniques are just named reference positions, labels that are placed on commonly-occurring motions just to have a shorthand way of talking about that type of motion or situation. Part of the pattern recognition problem involves the number of techniques in the system from which you have to choose, the number of categories you have to recognize.
This is similar to the problem of resolution in a computer monitor. The greater the resolution, the greater the scan time required to keep all those pixels refreshed and lit up. In the olden days (10 years ago or so) this problem was solved by moving the gun farther back from the inside of the screen so that shorter gun motions described a wider arc on the screen. The problem was this led to much larger (deeper, heavier) monitors. It took a while to develop the technology to make fast, hi-res, flat panels.
In the same way, you can increase the resolution of your martial art by labelling more and more of the motions that you find in randori/sparring/shiai. For example, the escape from the mount (tateshiho) in judo or BJJ. If you do some randori for a while you can probably come up with a dozen or more decent ways to get out of tateshiho. Keep doing randori and each of those dozen will recur at least once. So there you have it – recurring motion! Let’s name it and call it a technique and teach it as part of a high-resolution syllabus. Problem is, it takes time to learn a technique and it takes time to scan thru those techniques during a fight to choose the right one. Thus leading to a larger (deeper, heavier) jiujitsu.
What you need in your martial arts system is sufficiently high resolution with minimal scan time. Technical resolution has to be great enough to solve many of the likely problems you will encounter but it needs to be small enough to minimize scan time. Scan time has to be minimized and your system has to be relatively light so that it is not too hard to pick up (to teach and learn).

1 comment:

  1. I've just written something about learning and teaching strategy. I think that you should not be so technical about this. But who knows maybe your brain is like a CT-scanner :)


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