Unstoppable force, immovable object

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of grappling in any form and one of my favorite things to practice is throws. There is just something immensely satisfying about hitting another human being with the Earth. Generating serious force then slamming them into an immovable object is a thing of beauty. Even being on the receiving end of such a throw, as painful as it might be, is a glorious experience. To paraphrase Carlson Gracie Sr in a conversation I was fortunate enough to have with him after one of my matches, “If you beat me using Jiujitsu, it’s okay because Jiujitsu still won and that’s all that matters.”

So even if I’m on the receiving end of the throw, I’m still happy because it proves once again that the art works. In this blog I wanted to share with you some highlights from some of my favorite grappling arts. Judo, Sambo, Greco, and Freestyle. These arts provide us with an encyclopedia of throws. You don’t necessarily need to master them all, although it would be cool if you did, but I think it would do you a world of good to pick 2-3 throws and make those throws part of your game plan.


Judo is an incredibly dynamic throwing art. I could watch the strategy in play here for hours. It might take a lifetime of work to master this art however most folks can learn a handful of Judo throws within a few weeks. This would make your standup game substantially more dangerous.



Sambo is Russian. Do I need to say more? Killer throws, and a slightly different strategy based on the design of the jacket. The only downside to Sambo? It’s really hard to find competent instructors.

Greco-Roman is a great art for no-gi throws. The upper body control through the use of ties, hooks, and body locks is excellent. Learning to set up your no-gi, or non-cloth dependent throws using only upper body control makes the same throws so much easier once you add in the use of your legs to sweep, reap, and bump your opponents legs.



Lastly, Freestyle Wrestling. Every culture has some form of wrestling. If we examine the art of various cultures, particularly art that is depicting men preparing for battle we find a common theme, wrestling. When we see artwork depicting one guy trying to kill another guy using a sword or some other weapon, we usually see some form of grappling. Hand and arm control, which is so essential to grappling, becomes even more essential when weapons are introduced, particularly edged weapons.

So take some time to learn a few throws, the fundamentals of grappling, figure out how to apply grappling to your needs and maybe you’ll experience the joys of unstoppable force paradox.

This one time at band camp…

War stories, as they’re called, can serve a purpose in illustrating a point however, we can never lose sight of the fact that only the student’s performance matters. Unless they can carry the instructor around in a quick release carrying case, the instructor or coach’s ability to unleash havoc will mean little to the student when the student faces an emergency situation. In a world where only performance counts, the student’s performance is the only thing that will count when they’ve been selected by violent criminal actors.

We can tell our stories to illustrate the point, to make sure the student understands the why’s, the how’s and the where-with-alls yet, remember to remind the student that unless they have put in the time we have, trained as hard as we have, and paid the dues we have paid to own our experience? Their story might end very differently.

Instead of war stories maybe we should share stories of intense practice sessions, training sessions that left us exhausted. Training around injuries or illness. The days we wanted to quit but showed up and worked anyway. Stories of how we reached a point where we could succeed in the face of insurmountable odds. Think of the classic joke about Carnegie Hall; Mischa Elman was approached by two tourists. Seeing his violin case, they asked, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Without looking up and continuing on his way, Elman simply replied, “Practice.”

The stories of this one time are entertaining but a more important story for you to share is the hours of practice it took to prepare you for that one time. Those stories might just motivate the student to do the work necessary to get to where we are and maybe even surpass us.