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Remembering the Leverage - PlayFight Coalition

Remembering the Leverage

It was at some point during the sensations of having my privates bruised, my shin kicked, throat squeezed, my ear boxed with an elbow and my arm nearly ripped out of its socket that it “struck” me that I certainly needed to use my leverage more properly. Myself, who stands at a modest 5’11” and weighs in at less than 160lbs, was up to my eyeballs with a 6’4″, 260lb+, well muscled street wrestler (in his spare time) – who while having the mild demeanor of a librarian, tended to break all his toys with a single unintentional nod of his head. The gentleman with whom I was “gently” sparring with claimed to have no professional training from any particular discipline, though he admitted to having been wrestling since childhood and having a father whose favorite quote was “Don’t start a fight, end it!”, who had shown him some pretty mean (jujitsu sounding) ways to finish someone off. This being said, the gentleman was playing fairly nice, despite having come home to find me in his bedroom (just kidding), and was mildly nervous about what moves I might pull on him due to my martial arts background. Needless to say that I was far out-matched in size and weight, plus throughout the shenanigans I was in slippery socks on hardwood, and rubber boots on ice (socks while escaping the bedroom and rubber boots were the first thing I could find while dashing madly back to my truck outside, lol)…which did not help my case. I had various opportunities in which to politely remove children from the gentleman’s future, as well as smoothly jab various tender areas and land a few good knocks on his head, and in a moderately more serious situation I think I stood a chance of injuring him enough to get ahead…BUT, in facing off I simply did not utilize his weight and size to my advantage nearly enough. Thus I got mildly trounced!

It is amazing how easy it is to get into an odd position with your opponent…


…and sooo easy to get into a wrestle (especially with a wrestler!), when that is the LAST thing you want to do (unless as a last resort). As with this kind sir, I was reminded that keeping your body free of a potentially deadly opponent, and being prepared for more than one attacker is very important. On more than two occasions during this latest sparring match, I found myself doubled over and pinned near the floor, with the gentleman’s nearly entire weight bearing down on me, to have more than a hundred extra pounds on me, it was EXTREMELY difficult to move at that point. Where I was able to get my legs under me, I did have the strength to lift and throw him off, but I don’t think it is likelihood in real combat. Suffice it to say, that staying on your feet, and keeping your opponent at a distance which allows you to move freely and then to take their balance away, is key. Your options being 10 times more limited the moment you are tied together in a wrestle.

I can safely say that defensive grappling is one of my weakest points, but I have been sensing improvement in the last year especially. Facing up to an opponent of this size however, has firmly reminded me that I still need a constant reminder to not get caught solely in an arm wrestle! Using the principles of first moving in the opposite direction that your intending to take your attacker (in order to then use the advantage of their opposing movement to carry them where you want them to go) and to fluidly follow in and out of their attacks, allows the opportunities to unbalance your opponent and turn the odds in your favour.

So before you meet this guy in a dark alley…


…consider developing a strong sense of leverage so that regardless of your opponents shape or size, you are able to utilize his strengths, to your advantage!

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2 Responses

  1. Natalia says:

    I went to Systema class in Montreal and most of it was ground work that day and I got paired with a guy who was larger than me – not an unlikely option as you can imagine. The only thing I’ve learned is to never EVER EVER wrestle with a larger guy. Good thing the class was free!

  2. Ðørsun says:

    Testing the limits is a great way to really absorb the lesson, even if one’s efforts to win are bound to failure. Assuming one survives unscathed, lol! And each encounter serves to underline the importance of the basics… like distancing, timing, leverage, non-attachment, flow, accuracy, power, etc…

    We can all learn from your personal impromptu experiments. Great reporting, as well as fun to read, as usual! :-)

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