When Committing is Less Painful Than Not Committing

I’m mainly talking about judo, but please feel free to apply this concept to whatever part of your life you may deem this applicable, where not committing to “help” someone can do more harm than good.

So, in judo there are a couple of throws (approximately 5 or 6) that end in “makikomi”- which was explained to me this way:

“I’m going to throw you, and then I’m going to land on top of you.”

Which really sounds scarier than it really is, truth be told, and is one of the prime examples where trying to be gentle with a partner can end up hurting more than actually helping.

See, when you perform these throws, let’s say soto makikomi for instance, you need to maintain contact and basically glue yourself-preferably ribs to ribs- to your partner all the way down to the landing. Which sounds like it sucks, but not really. It’s when the person throwing breaks the connection and creates space between the two players is where the pain happens. Not only does your partner have to deal with the impact of hitting the floor, they get a double whammy of the floor and your weight smashing into them a fraction of a second later rather than taking it all in one blow. I’m sure there is a beautiful explanation for this, courtesy of science and physics, but I’m not really going to get into that right now.

The fact of the matter is sometimes we try to “save” people from harm on the mat by attempting to be gentle, because these are our teammates: we like them and want them to continue training without pain or injury. But keep in mind there are times where these well meaning actions end up doing more damage than just “going all in” and fully committing to your intended action. You partner is (usually) better prepared to defend the full execution of a technique, not a hesitant half-hearted attempt that may end up putting both of you at greater risk for injury than if you had just committed to your original action in the first place.

So keep in mind that while you want your partner to succeed and you want them to continue training, sometimes it really is better, and safer to commit to a technique, rather than forcing them to adjust to some awkward, hesitant attempt.

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