As we talked about in Part 1, rules play a big role in how your game develops and what it eventually grows in to. In Part 2 were going to look at the Pros and Cons for Point Grappling as it relates to the 3 primary types of student groups. Recreational, Self Defense, and Competitive.
For the recreational grappler, point grappling can easily create purpose. Especially when you’re first starting out. Many grapplers who haven’t yet developed a clear game plan can become lost during live rolls without a sense of direction. Point systems give you a very clear and well defined path to follow. Get the match to the ground, work to pass your opponents legs, work through a hierarchy of pins, submit. This clearly defined path to achieving a goal, gives everyone a purposeful direction to head in every time they grapple.
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On the opposite end, that same clearly defined path can be very restrictive for artistic people who enjoy being creative and moving through the world freely. Various penalties can be incurred for positions and maneuvers that have been deemed negative. Whether that’s due to their perceived danger in an actual fight scenario, or their actual danger in relation to possible injury. Either reason, the point system can be very restrictive at times.
The point system was originally designed to award points for what would be dominant positions in an actual fight. Because of that, it works very well for self defense. Operating under the principle that being able to obtain and maintain a dominant top position in any scenario that involves strikes, the point systems gives you the best chance at achieving that in a self defense situation. It does so because achieving that goal is what you’re doing day in and day out. So when you’re in an actual situation, there’ll be very little need for adjustment, you simply do what you’ve been doing every day in the gym.
When it comes to self defense, the point system does have one massive flaw that can dramatically affect you in a real situation. The takedown….. or rather, the lack thereof. The original intent of allowing grapplers to pull guard was that the focus of the sport was to be on the ground grappling itself. From the point of really furthering the art, that’s great. But from a self defense view it can cause a big problem, because if you can’t get your attacker to the ground you’ll never be able to implement any of your Jiu Jitsu to begin with.
Unfortunately there are tons of examples of this exact situation all over YouTube. An attacker repeatedly strikes a Grappler (usually claimed to be a Jiu Jitsu color belt) and every time the Grappler attempts a takedown, the attacker simply pushes them off before continuing to pound on them.
From a competitive point of view, point grappling has a lot of pros. To start with, the competition scene itself is huge. Much larger than any other style of grappling. Because of that you’ll have plenty of opportunity to compete all year long, all over the world. And being able to compete on such a frequent basis is something that’s going to be very beneficial in your development.
It’s also designed to eliminate (or at least minimize) draws. Having a clear winner is a primary driving force behind all competition. This is very important, especially in tournaments. Grappling systems that don’t have definitive winners can result in multiple rematches, or overtime that can go on and on and on, really ruining a tournament.
Outside of the very best in the world, there’s very little opportunity to make a financially successful career in the point system. This creates an issue because when the very best are making a financially secure living off of competition, it means that they won’t need to have a day job and will be able to actually train like a professional. Multiple sessions a day with the best coaches, Strength and Conditioning coaches, Nutritionists, Sport Rehab Therapists, etc…. Which all sounds great, but when only the very top competitors in the entire world can afford all of that, it can make it difficult for everyone else to keep up.
In Part 3 we’ll take a look the Submission Only game…TBC
If you like Gordon Ryan, check out his instructional from BJJ Fanatics, “Getting Swole As a Grappler”. It gives you his exact program, tips, diet advice and more on how to achieved jackedness and be a complete animal on the mats.