The ‘don’t tap me’ philosophy and why it hinders your progress.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to cross train with members of various other local jiu-jitsu schools.

It has been quite an interesting experience training with students of other styles and understanding their fighting mindset. It allows me to broaden my jiu-jitsu by trying out my techniques on someone who would not react in the same manner as a fellow student at my school. I’ve learned so much more about myself than about the various people whom I have sparred with.

The one thing that I have seen a lot is what I like to call the ‘don’t tap me’  philosophy. In basic terms this is where someone who is in danger of getting into a submittable situation uses their speed/strength advantage to power out of a bad situation instead of relying on technique. Its great for them as it means they don’t loose by being submitted. But they don’t learn anything in the process.

Lets go a little deeper.

Lets say you are stronger than your current opponents and every time someone sets up a twisting arm control you use your strength to power out of the control. You dont want to be in twisting arm control, because you know it probably means an arm bar, so you feel good. You have successfully defended the arm bar attack. The next time your opponent sets up twisting arm control you power out again. Life is good. Every time you use strength to power out of the twisting arm control you are saving yourself from being arm barred.

But what if one day your opponent is bigger, heavier or stronger than you. What if he is more skilled and can negate your power move simply by using his better technique. Now you cannot power out of the twisting arm control. Suddenly you are in an arm lock threat position you have never been in before. You cannot use your strength and you have no defence to the next step, the inevitable arm bar.

Now, had you decided somewhere in the past to allow someone to get twisting arm control, you would have experienced what it was like to be there. You could have determined what your defence options are. Maybe they went for the arm bar and you spent some time in that position and learned some way to defend the arm bar. Or maybe they got the arm bar but you saw an openinng you could have used and promised yourself to you would try that next time. Or maybe you just learned a better way to get an arm bar.

Everytime you get into a ‘bad’ position, a submission threat, under top mount, under side mount, you are learning how to defend, escape or use those techniques. Every time you learn how to defend or escape or use those techniques you add another tool to your toolbox.Everytime you add a tool, you have more tools to unleash on your future opponents, giving you the edge every time.

The ‘don’t tap me’ philosophy may mean you don’t loose on the mat, but how it affects what you learn (or don’t learn) about jiu-jitsu and about yourself is worth more than any submission you might give away.

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    1. I know what you mean, I used to do it all the time myself.

      I find the best is to take a sparring session with the focus on not doing it. Even if I get tapped, I want to rather use technique than power.

      Although I do still cheat and use power when rolling with my instructor to get out of submissions sometimes…..;-)

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