At a recent BJJ seminar with the excellent John Will, he said something that stuck with me:
"The person with the longest checklist usually wins"
I believe he meant the person who mentally checked off all the steps to a technique was less likely to make a mistake, leave fewer openings and move more purposefully. I know I've often been guilty of rushing through techniques (especially when grappling).
Of course, grappling (especially in a Gi) gives you more time to run through a mental checklist because it's slower but checklists are also useful in striking arts as well.
For example, when teaching a student to jab I usually start with a checklist of three to five items I ask the student to repeat in their head as they jab. Once they master these key elements I add more.
And as I walk around the class I'm constantly shouting out the checklists I want the students to internalise.
The eventual goal is to run the checklist so many times that it becomes automatic. As grappling great Roger Gracie said:
"Don't train a movement till you can do it right, train it till you cant do it wrong!"
So, here's my checklist for a "simple" boxing jab (and who I got each concept from)
- Start in a stable balanced stance
- Rear heel up (thanks Anton St James)
- Lead foot pointed at target
- Both hands up level with cheekbones
- Elbows lightly pressed down
- Lead hand extended slightly
- Lead hand moving slightly (thanks Bill Wallace)
- Lead shoulder on the 12 (thanks Bob Breen)
- Chin tucked to lead collar bone (thanks Master Chai)
- Non- Telegrahpic Motion (thanks Bruce Lee)
- Hand moves before foot (thanks Joe Lewis)
- Head off centerline (thanks Phil Norman)
- Explosively snap your jab, don't push it
- Strike with your two big knuckles (thanks Bob Breen)
- Retract quickly on the same line (thanks Erik Paulson)
- Recover to a balanced stable stance
These are my most common checklist items for a Jab. I will empathise different items on the checklist depending on who I'm working with, but the eventual goal is to make the entire checklist happen automatically in a split second.
Try to create your own checklists for every technique you use. It will make you a better fighter and coach
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