Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Not Tapping Out when Grappling

Through many peoples training, some can eventually develop a level of pride. This pride is most evident when they spar and are being overwhelmed. Particularly when grappling, some decide, that they will not tap out when caught in a submission hold as it is seen as defeat and something which they must not do.

If someone decides to not submit during training do you decide to teach them a lesson by not submitting, by choking them unconscious or breaking there joint, or do you show mercy and let go.

First and foremost, everyone should tap if caught in a submission and there is no way of escape. By letting pride get in the way and choosing to go through pain rather then giving up, you are silly.

However, if you are the person applying the submission hold and you know that your opponent will not tap out (which you automatically know when you apply a submission correctly and are experienced enough) should you also show the same pride and think “well if he does not tap and gets injured its his fault so im not going to let go” or should you show mercy, let go of the technique and carry on training.

If it was a fight in the street or in competition, then there may be more at stake if you let go of the submission, but in daily training, hurting your sparring partners, even though they are silly enough to let themselves get hurt probably is not the best thing to do.

A hurt sparring partner is one less person who you yourself can train with. Just because they refuse to tap out does not mean that you can not get some good training in with them. If there hurt, you will miss out on this.

Secondly, some may argue that the whole point and basic foundation of martial arts is not to hurt people through fighting unless there is no other alternative. If you are applying a submission hold and your opponent is not tapping out and helpless and you decide to apply more pressure with the submission hold, you are deliberately hurting someone when they are helpless, and are going against this martial arts code.

There are mixed feelings on this subject and I suppose the final answer is it all depends on the situation. But as mentioned many times, this issue would not be an issue at all if some people just swallowed there pride and TAPPED OUT! You gain no kind of respect by not tapping out and can hurt yourself, never mind losing out on good training time.


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Adam @ Low Tech Combat said...

Ive seen this quite a bit over the years. I really feel embarrassed for people who stubbornly and stupidly refuse to tap in training. It is pointless.

If people don't tap in training, I just let the submission go and transition into another position and keep going. You have to let the ego go when letting go of a submission as well. You know inside you had it.

It is TRAINING! You shouldn't be training to win but training to learn.

Save all that other stuff for the competitions. The only other time outside of competitions where not tapping is acceptable is if you are taking part in a special type of training session where the gym members have a sort of internal 'fight day' type of activity.

Lose the ego and tap, then start again. Simple really. Good post.

Zyaga said...

Very well said, both of you, Marks and Adam.

Training is solely about learning, not winning. If you get your arm broken just because you didn't want to tap out, and thus you can't return to practice for a while, you're going to feel quite silly(and hopefully, embarrassed).

Anonymous said...

Obviously not tapping when caught in a lock is stupid, however when I started training in ju-jutsu I was told not to tap untill I actually felt pain, otherwise you'd never be sure if the technique would work in reality. Once upon a time I was training with some numbskull who couldn't get the lock right so he made the classical beginner's mistake of trying to force the submission through sheer power. I was still somewhat of a rookie back then and remembering the advice sensei gave us I didn't tap because there simply wasn't a lock, then he started applying force. When he shifted slightly (not intentional I'm sure) suddenly the lock came on and because he was using so much force he nearly broke my arm. To this day I can't fully stretch my arm (only untill some 170°), all thanks due that oaf. Of course later I learned applying force when locking is a big no no since it encourages bad form and it's actually quite dangerous as I find out the hard way. Another problem is the fact that some people just don't have a sense of responsibility: if you can't control your own movement and basically don't give a damn about the guy you're training with then stay off the mat. In sparring a guy nearly dislocated my shoulder with an omoplata, I didn't even had time to tap since he was so fast. To me this is madness and afterwards I warned him that if he'd ever pull a stunt like that he was going to pay, one way or another. JJ or any form of grappling featuring locks is inherently dangerous but the risks can be kept to a minimum with strict adherence to the rules, respect for your partner and plain common sense. Nowadays I either refuse to train with people who don't play by the rules or I hurt them to make sure they know what it's like when you're not careful, I'll never do real damage but if they're not willing to listen they sure as hell are going to feel it.


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