Thursday, January 17, 2008

How a Blindfold Can Help Solidify Your Jiu-jitsu Technique

A former student of mine drifted in and out of town recently, finding his way back on to my mats for a couple of weeks. Because he is a brown belt in another style of Jiu-jitsu, I took the opportunity to dust off some more advanced training methods to help keep my skills sharp. One of these involved the use of a blindfold.

The way we typically use a blindfold is by wearing it while being subjected to random grabbing attacks (i.e. bear hugs, wrist grabs, lapel grabs, hair grabs, etc.), ideally by students with a variety of body types. The person wearing the blindfold must try to defend himself purely by sense of touch.

This training method is a bit advanced for lower belt levels as it really requires very solidly grounded technique and improvisational abilities, which usually come from years of training. But for people who have that kind of background, the blindfold forces them to “feel” their way through techniques. Honing this “feel” has the effect of improving overall technique application – locks snap on quicker, throws slam down harder. This is because your sense of touch communicates with your brain much faster than your sense of sight. I re-confirmed this in my mind as I heard Chris (my training partner) slam into the ground with the echoing smack of a hard breakfall after a solid neck throw.

I bought my blind fold for $1.35 at my local dollar store. Pretty good value for something that provides so much opportunity for development.


Antipodean Charm said...

When I was a coloured belt, I used to be very anxious during any stress drills. I found that using a blindfold (after the initial shock when I first was introduced to one) was a very calming influence on my training.

I like the way that using a blindfold helps the other senses work - especially the sense of touch.

John - who often grappled with his eyes closed

Lori O'Connell said...

I always remembered you as someone who seemed more comfortable training with his eyes closed rather than in the more standard open position. :)

Anonymous said...

A great way of training for developing your balance, timing, sensetivity and reactions. We used to practise with blindfolds in my first judo club. It really helped us.