As many of you know, I am presenting my ideas at a black belt class this Sunday for an updated approach to Can-ryu ground defense for use in street situations (not sport-oriented). My suggested approach is to encompass the 4 tenets of Can-ryu.
Over the past few months, I’ve devoted considerable time and energy to challenging traditional ways ground defense has been handled, in addition to challenging my own ideas and concepts. One of the main differences between the old approach and the new approach I’ve been working on involves a shift in the paradigm.
The old approach, like many other more traditional styles of Jiu-jitsu (as opposed to BJJ) involved learning a set of defense against a specific attack on the ground with a compliant uke. There are two main problems with this approach.
1. Different body types. A defender’s body type, as well as the body type of the attacker being dealt with, heavily influences the effectiveness of different types of defenses. What works easily for one body type or against one body type may be completely useless for a different set of body types.
2. The quick-changing nature of ground attacks. Your proximity to your attacker is very close in a ground defense situation. Also, in many cases, more of your body is confined. This means that the attacker can feel your resistance and respond to it quicker than he or she might other types of attacks.
The new paradigm I am working with involves teaching a set of concepts and skills that can be combined and used in a wide variety of ground attack scenarios. The students then learn how best to apply them using their own unique body types. Because the new paradigm is more focused on learning to apply a set of concepts and skills more broadly, it also leaves more room for adaptation to variable attacks based on the way the attacker reacts to the initial defense.
As far as teaching goes, you can start from specific positions and compliant ukes so that students can learn the foundations, but ultimately, you want them to quickly move beyond these types of static attacks so they can have a more adaptable approach that is specific to the student’s own body type. This approach is covered in much greater detail in my book When the Fight Goes to the Ground: Jiu-jitsu Strategies & Tactics for Self-Defense.