Thursday, May 10, 2007

What My Broken Finger Has Taught Me

At the end of every training session, after our fine motor skills have been worn down by fatigue, we do something that we call a "burnout," where we round-robin sparring, groundfighting, or grappling until we are so gassed that we can't go anymore. On April 14, we decided to do some submission grappling, starting from a dominant position as our burnout, and in one particular round, I started out in top position in side control on Sam, then, as the round progressed, I got his back, and decided to darken his day with a little rear naked choke action. What's a little RNC between friends, eh? Anyway, Sam managed to get to an exposed finger (my left index), and bent it in a way that it shouldn't bend. I just took the brace off a couple of days ago, but I think it's never going to be the same.

Here's what I learned:

  1. I need to work on my rear naked choke! I should never have put my digits in an exposed position to get grabbed, then bent back like a wishbone! I need to watch I need to work on my RNC! Bad technique put me at risk of the fingerlock to begin with! Watch Stepahn Kesting's superb Roadmap for the Rear Naked Choke. Don't make the same mistake I did! And stay in school...

  2. Small joint manipulation won't end a fight. Don't count on it, anyway. I was so determined to squeeze Sam's neck, that the fingerlock didn't phase me, nor did I tap. Keep this in mind for your self-defense training and tactics, in the same way you think of eye gouges and biting. Part of your tactics, but not something to base your whole self-defense philosophy.

  3. I have had to modify my training by wearing boxing gloves for a while, even as my training partners and students wear MMA gloves or nothing. We tend to drill grappling as part of self-defense, and include striking, kick, and eye jabs. In other words, groundfighting is a part of our training, but not all of it. Having the boxing gloves on has forced me to concentrate on postion relative to my opponent (standing) to avoid being taken down, and on reversals when I do go to the ground, but most of all, I've improved my striking when fighting someone who can grapple. Usually, have more of a focus on getting the dominant grip so I can beat someone at his own game when on the ground. Now, I am more conscious of getting back to my feet, as well as using stomps, knees, knee drops, and grounded kicking when I go down. I am also using my reversal improvements to get mounted and pound! Isn't it amazing what losing one ability can do to another?

  4. I should have tapped. It was stupid to be so stubborn. As a former kickboxer and boxer, I am used to fighting on after getting nailed hard. Grappling is different. Though it didn't hurt that much, I should have utilized the tap and then walked through how I got into the predicament. Pride!

I hope you've learned from my experience, 'cause I know I did. Have a great day!

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