Master jiujitsu coach John Danaher relates a story about watching grappler and now jiujitsu black belt Dean Lister submitting people using leg locks. When Danaher asked him about this, he says that Lister responded with:
“Why ignore 50% of the human body?”
Wise words. But they almost beg another question:
“If almost all fights start standing up; why essentially ignore standing grappling?”
It’s surprising to see that many jiujitsuka practice so little in the way of “stand up.” Some, none at all. Sparring for them always starts on their knees – or on their ass. Sure, some schools have a takedown class, or wrestling or Judo once or twice a week, or perhaps only done in the self defense portion of the training, or in lead up to a competition.
This is not what jiujitsu was ever meant to be, and it seriously limits the overall practicality of the training, particularly for defensive use, which is supposed to be the foundation. Certainly there may be concern with the potential for injury, but stand up does not have to be trained in a manner which is necessarily injurious. Students can be taught how to throw properly and to accept and take falls. It shouldn’t all be just one big athletic scramble.
Jiujitsu today is perhaps in a unique position in the world of grappling arts, in that it can incorporate throws and takedowns from virtually any other grappling discipline: from it’s parent art of Judo – while still allowing a whole host of throws that are no longer legal in Judo competition – wrestling, Sumo, even classical jujitsu and Chinese arts. So why essentially ignore standing grappling?
Have a stand up game. It will improve your jiujitsu.