Friday, April 14, 2017

Five levels of intensity

Martial arts can be closer to the "martial" or the "art". Some are almost completely art. Substyles can be radically different too. When someone says they're a black belt in Karate, for instance, they could be a full contact champion, or never have connected a punch in their lives.

I believe that there are five different levels of intensity when practicing a martial art.

  1. Choreographed sequences, or demonstrations. Participants have a sequence of moves to demonstrate. Typically very impressive feats of speed, power, flexibility.
  2. Drilling. Judokas seem to drill the most. A technique is applied full force on a compliant partner. Different from #1, as the same move will be used later, in live training.
  3. Point system fighting. Tae-Kwon-do typically wear full protective gear and interrupt the round when points are awarded.
  4. Full contact fighting. Fighters stop when there's a submission hold, or time runs out.
  5. Competition in full contact fighting. The same as #4, but with the added adrenaline, the unknown of the other player's strengths, and the knowledge that everyone is watching you. Because of the adrenaline, the submissions are resisted for much longer, and might cause injuries, especially at higher levels.

How does this apply to BJJ ? There is obviously an increasing degree of physical and mental exertion as we go down the list. Also, the longer we train at or around level #5, the more we are guaranteed to be able to perform in a surprise situation on the street. Since in BJJ we spend half of our time practicing new moves, I would think drilling with full power is a better time investment than simply "going through the motions".