Give and Take: The Double Edged Sword

One of the fundamental priniciples of Wingchun, Aikido, Judo and the various Yin styles: is that we cannot use force-against-force, if we are smaller and weaker than our opponent.

So what’s the alternative?

Using our opponent’s balance, momentum and inertia, technique can overcome size and strength.


If we’re to learn how to use balance and inertia -to sweep someone to their weak side- we can begin by focusing on ‘feeling’ our opponent rather than always trying to impose our will.

This requires patience.

This requires checking our ego.

Both these things require maturity.

And how many of us got into martial arts for exactly the wrong reasons?

Andrew Raynor Dover NH

Rener Gracie told us in a seminar, “The difference between someone getting their black belt in 7 years and someone getting their black belt in 17 years: was being happy to tap.”

In all the time he’d been teaching, all the time he’d been part of the Gracie Family, this was a common thread he’d witnessed.

The people that tapped, kinda smiled and said “Ha! Cool…” They progressed the fastest.

The people that got angry and drove home in a bad mood, that swore vengeance on the people that wronged them… they still go there, it just took a lot longer.

If there’s one thing we can say about Brazilian jiujitsu, is it’s really complicated.

There’s a trillion little components and there’s really no definite way to judge what’s right for you; right for your body type; your opponent’s bodytype against yours: besides TRAINING and learning by doing.

This requires patience.

This requires persistence.

It requires conditioning, rehab, emotional intelligence.

It requires character.

Checking your ego, it happens when you do jiujitsu.

It’s inevitable.

You have to admit it every time you tap.

It’s the only thing I’m certain that I don’t truly regret.

Andrew Raynor Dover NH

The day that you smile when you tap, is the day you start learning.

And I don’t mean ‘learning to be a better person’ I mean REALLY learning to feel what jiujitsu is really about.

Bruce Lee told us to be like water and most people didn’t know what he was on about.

He was speaking from a place of YEARS and years of technical training.

Which is why it was almost useless information.

But what he meant was that we need to live in the moment and to feel what’s in front of us.

The technique, is still a thing. You need to have movements, for sure.

But the need to WIN to carry your self worth on the high times and to manage your self-esteem when it’s not your time. That’s not what helps you improve.

You might have a couple of tricks that work when you’re in the right position but whatchya gonna DO when your A-game is not there.

When a white-belt pulls some reverse-mount kneebar crap that doesn’t even make sense.

You’re gonna have to improvise.

You’re gonna have to FEEL.

You’re gonna have to be like water.

Train for that.

Train for those moments.

Train for the little wins that nobody sees.

Andrew Raynor

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