Every time you watch a combat sports match about to start, what does the referee say?

“Protect yourself at all times”

That’s one of the first rules of any combat sport.

They don’t say “make sure you don’t hurt the other guy”. They say that YOU should protect YOURSELF at all times.

What does that mean though? Have good defense? Don’t let them hurt you? Yeah, all of that, but it also means that when you realize that you’re in over your head, or you’re stuck in a bad position, you tap. In jiu-jitsu, anyway.

If you don’t have an intelligent defense to a submission or position…tap. Don’t wait until it’s painful or the lights are going out. It may be too late by then.

Our academies don’t have a culture that supports snatching submissions. What that means is –

1 – Control is emphasized, meaning the person applying the sub had to have good fundamentals. The result is, your subs are very difficult to stop once they’re on.

2 – If the person being attacked gets hurt, it is 100% on them. If you had time to recognize that you were stuck and didn’t tap, that’s on you. The person applying the sub doesn’t know when you’ve hit your limit. <—- Protect yourself at all times.

3 – If it was a legitimate sub attempt, you not giving them the feedback that had they gone much further that you would have been injured cheats them out of the experience of knowing what works and what doesn’t.

4 – It promotes humility. It’s not possible to be hard-headed and claim to be humble. Those two don’t go together. Accept that you got caught, and get on with the next one. If somebody complains that people are “cranking submissions”, I’ve got $5 that says the person making that claim has a history of not tapping when they should. At that point, they signed up for whatever happens. When you defend harder, it’s to be expected that your partner applies harder. Get that nonsense out of your head.

…or get hurt. Up to you.

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