Tug of War

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2 minute read

Recently, I watched a video of a match between two up-and-coming, high-level grapplers.​

I had known the result before watching the video, but not exactly how the match went. To be more specific, how one player scored points against the other player.​

So when YouTube suggested this video, I took a look at it out of curiosity.​

The match started with both players pulling the guard.​

Both of them are proficient in the leg lock game. So they were making sure to hide their feet while sitting on their butt.​

Both of them stayed in that position for the most part. And neither of them seemed to risk attacking from the top. It was as if they were playing tug of war while sitting on their butt.​

That’s pretty much the entirety of the match, except that one player received a couple of warnings for “passivity,” if I’m not mistaken. The other player eventually got scores due to these warnings given to his opponent.​

It reminded me of when there was no penalty for staying in the double guard position in the IBJJF rules. In cases where both players wanted to play the guard, they would be sitting on their butt more or less the whole time. You could say it’s a strategy. I don’t necessarily disagree with playing a strategic game (though I wouldn’t like to play that way).​

I can understand where the players in the match mentioned above are coming from, too.​

Having said that, watching matches like this reminds me of how important it is to keep pushing the pace by taking risks to make something happen (Marcelo Garcia and Garry Tonon would be some of the best examples)—in this case, getting up and trying to pass the opponent’s guard.​

People talk a lot about defenses, especially these days, but we shouldn’t forget that your defenses are there to support your offenses. I know it’s easier said than done, and I also need to work on this.