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14. React rather than recall January 11, 2008

Posted by Adam Adshead in BJJ, Chaos theory, Chess, Conceptual BJJ.
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phrenologyA lot of people think that Grandmaster chess players play/see 7-8 moves ahead at all times, when this really isn’t the case.

This common misconception of having a photographic memory that is as equally analytical as it is profound is probably quite accurate for some, but for most (including rookies like me) reacting to the situation in hand is the preferred choice.

It’s the same for BJJ, trying to recall all the moves and strategies you’ve ever learnt or have seen at will is increasingly harder to do the further you look ahead because of the chaos involved.

Whereas in Chess you get more time to think, during a roll in BJJ most of the time if you think then you’re usually too slow and have missed the boat of opportunity, that’s why I promote reaction over recalling. Not to say you can’t analyse your position or think about what you’re doing, but should favour certain moves to cut out the hesitation that trying to recall the golden ‘right move’ creates. (more…)

12. Chess is in its essence a game, in its form an art and in its execution a science. December 11, 2007

Posted by Adam Adshead in Art, BJJ, Chess, Conceptual BJJ.
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Chess art

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Chess is in its essence a game, in its form an art and in its execution a science.

If you realise that BJJ is also in comparison a similar organism, ergo different things in different forms, you can logically see the benefits that such a paradigm shift will bring.

This reordering and reframing of how you treat BJJ can help you maximise your potential and push you in new ways. It might seem quite ostentatious to think such a thing, but I’ve seen it too many times where certain mindsets have stunted people’s development and I’m sure you have too. People may be technically proficient but over time are surpassed by those who don’t have certain hang-ups or stumbling blocks that literally cease development beyond a certain point. (more…)

10. Question not what you know, but your reason for questioning. November 19, 2007

Posted by Adam Adshead in BJJ, Chess, Conceptual BJJ, Existentialism, Inspiration, Martial Arts, Thoughts.
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I was watching the Simpsons in Spanish the other day (yes, I do that kind of thing sometimes) and it got me thinking that even though my Spanish is weak that I could still understand what was going on because of the context of the situation.

Even without any knowledge of the Simpsons or of Spanish, because of the brain’s ability to adapt, second guess, assume and fill in the gaps you could watch a whole episode and be able to tell someone what had gone on.

To a degree the foundations of animation and the structure of children’s TV aid that ability massively. For instance, you can watch any kids TV show and there will be an edit/cut every second or so to keep the kids attention focused.

In terms of training I think that people worry way too much about trying to answer every physical question (i.e. a successful sweep) with an opposing answer. (i.e. retaining position/guard)

Obviously you want to do well but if you get swept, passed or submitted a lot of people think that it’s because you haven’t got the right answers, when actually it might just be that the other person had an unanswerable question with their positioning, foresight, ability and/or experience. (more…)

9.Chess is to BJJ what writing is to thought. October 31, 2007

Posted by Adam Adshead in BJJ, Chess, Conceptual BJJ, Inspiration, Thoughts.
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Chess in the Philippines

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a very complicated chaotic thing. The amount of possibilities from any one position and subsequent positions is staggering. Add to this counters, escapes, experience and chaotic synergy and this level of complication multiplies almost infinitely.

So trying to prescribe a conceptual understanding of such an unpredictable organism seems like a near impossible task.

Making this increasingly difficult; people speak different languages, have different learning styles, use varying terminology for the same thing (side control, cross side, side mount) and most importantly understand things on differing levels.

As a result I believe that using the game of chess to convey my concepts and theories is an appropriate platform to transcend the differences mentioned above.

Chess just isn’t another love of mine which I’m trying to crowbar into articles; it really is a great tool for understanding conceptual BJJ. I believe that Chess is to conceptual BJJ what writing is to thought. (more…)

8. In the spider web of facts, many a truth is strangled. October 20, 2007

Posted by Adam Adshead in BJJ, Chaos theory, Chess, Conceptual BJJ, Inspiration, Martial Arts, Thoughts.
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Spider web

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I was sat in the garden yesterday and I saw the most inspiring piece of natural engineering, a spider web.

It was fairly big but the astounding part was the mechanics of how it must have bridged this gap between my fence and the side of my house. I’m not the most technically minded person but I really struggle to envisage how a tiny spider could make such an effective trap over two distant points.

This got me thinking how it relates to BJJ and remarkably it does.

Everyone knows what a spider web looks like but what struck me about this web were all the little extra bits that the spider needed to construct to keep the web functional and effective – little off shoots and structures to keep everything together.

It’s these extra bits which really define whether the web survives or not and it’s the extra bits of your game which determine if you’ll survive something more deadly than wind and rain and that is change. (more…)

5. From Gary Coleman to Garry Kasparov October 9, 2007

Posted by Adam Adshead in BJJ, Chess, Conceptual BJJ, Kasparov, Martial Arts.
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Garry Kasparov

Although Gary Coleman might be inspirational for some, if we’re talking BJJ – a great inspiration for me is Garry Kasparov.

Kasparov epitomises everything that a good grappler should be. His intellectual prowess, the way he played chess and his prolonged dominance over his peers – was and still is truly inspirational.

It’s not just him as a person but the game of chess on a whole which draws so much inspiration. BJJ concepts like Patience points, Tidal movement, 90% positions, Red herrings and calculated sacrifice (See the concepts page.) are all straight out of the chess arena and translate neatly into a conceptual BJJ game.

So it only seems fitting that we as BJJ aficionados take influence and reference from arguably the greatest player of all time, playing the most intellectual game ever invented. (more…)