The Art of Hug O’ War

Skyler and I were once discussing what Jiu-Jitsu would be without submissions, and she said it would be “Hug O’ War”. I often think about that when Amy has Joe and I do full-resistance grappling drills sans submissions, which we did for most of Ethridge class today. Thinking of it as Hug O’ War helps me from getting too frustrated when it feels like I’m not getting anywhere.

We mostly worked side control, and I think it’s hard enough to escape or hold when subs are involved, but without them it’s even harder! My escapes are definitely improving, but I still need a lot of work on top. The theme of the day was “keeping your hips down”, because I have a bad habit of sticking my butt in the air when I’m on top, thus leaving my partner gaping holes from which to escape. The secondary theme was the one I’ve been working on lately: maintaining top control by transitioning between positions. I was starting to get the hang of it, then Amy added in submissions towards the end, and I became so focused on getting the sub that I started forgetting to keep my hips down again!

At the end of class, Sensei Tracey was waiting for Joe for Daitoryu, and Amy told him we would be done soon because we were doing our Final Death Match. Joe said “Yeah, I’ll be with you as soon as someone dies.”, then Amy clarified that the match could be won by death, submission, or first blood. Not long after that Joe caught me in a triangle, and I contemplated biting his leg so I could win by drawing first blood, but that didn’t seem to be in the Hug O’ War spirit, so I just tapped instead.

Hug O' War -Shel Silverstein
“The supreme art of hug o’ war is to subdue the enemy without biting.”
-Sun Silverstein
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