A few weeks ago I posted a story about one of my students getting a leg broken by skipping a seminar at my Dojo to go to a competition. Today another of my long-time students reminded me of a cool episode in his life.
This student had gotten up to about green or brown belt, and decided he wanted to join the Marines. So off he goes to boot camp, or whatever they call their initial training stint, part of which now includes the MCMAP ground fighting material. I don't recall the time frame, but at some point in this training, he got a week off to go home and he came and played with me for a few days.
I'm always curious about how our classes are serving folks, so i asked him how he was handing the MCMAP stuff with his background in judo, what was the same, what was different, that sort of thing. He said it was all familiar except for the MCMAP folks were more focussed on cool techniques and pretty much totally lacked foundation for those cool techniques - how to shrimp, how to bridge, 2-hands on a point, etc...
So, I figured he must be doing pretty good in the competitions. Not so. He seemed to think his performance had been pretty mediocre and he was disappointed that he hadn't done better with his background. So we got on the ground so he could show me what he'd been doing in MCMAP, and sure enough, he was a flurry of aerobically conditioned muscle trying for cool armbars. But there was no foundation of ground mobility there.
He had let his instructors brainwash him into forgetting how to shrimp and bridge and do all the foundations that actually make this stuff work. So we had a review session for 2 or 3 days that mostly consisted of drills involving shrimping, bridging, and positional transitions. I suspect he was sorta disappointed when he left that I hadn't shown him the cool ninja techniques that he needed to do better in MCMAP.
But then he went back and commenced to kicking absolute ass at MCMAP. He rapidly (instantly) rose to the top of his class, and his crowning achievement was whipping the MCMAP instructor's weekend cagefighting MMA ass!
Seems the instructor had the same bad habit that I'd schooled out of all my students of crossing his ankles in front of the opponent when in the rear guard, so when the instructor took my student's back, my student proceeded to ankle-bar both of the instructor's legs and force him to tap.
There is something to be said for paying close attention to foundations. Working on the cool submissions without drilling the foundations is like having a beautiful sports car with no engine. It won't go. It's not good judo and its not good combatives.