Training tip: Try Exploring Micro Transitions

Ever wonder why you are able to make certain moves work and others simply don’t work for you?  It might have something to do with your understanding of the micro transitions/movements of different moves.  A micro transition is a move within a move (sometimes, a move within a move, within a move…) Understanding and proficiency with any given move’s micro transitions correlates directly to the efficacy and efficiency of its macro transitions.

In layman’s terms: take the run of the mill standard scissor sweep from closed guard.  The move consists of taking a specific grip set (depending on how you do it), sliding a knee across the opponent’s body (again how you place your knee depends on your preferences) and then executing the sweep once the other person’s weight is cast over you, generally accomplished by pulling them in and over.  Here’s where it gets interesting:

  1. What grips do you place and when?  Knowing at what moment to take what grip can be the distinction between the move working or failing
  2. Once you have the grip, what exactly do you do?  Break it down into its minutia
  3. The execution of the sweep depends as much on the other person’s reaction to you as it does to your own movement.  What indicators should you rely on to know that it’s time to sweep?

This is just one example.  The key is to break the move down into as many steps as possible and drill those individual steps.  That way, when it’s time to do the whole move every aspect of it is perfect.  This may seem counterproductive, and it CAN be depending on how you personally learn (I’ve seen people who better understand big movements.)  However, learning the individual components of a move can improve your understanding of that move.

This can also be how creative transitions come about.  If you know that as soon as someone takes a certain grip it is in your best interest to counter that grip with a specific grip, you may find that that grip is available to you elsewhere, thus you may find paths to other moves you didn’t see to begin with.

Everyone learns differently, and if this is not a method that helps you, don’t spend too much time on it.  I’ve personally found that it has improved many of my moves in a big way.  The key is to really analyze every step of a move and figure out what indications your opponent gives you that it’s time to go on to the next step.  Also these transitions can allow you to mix moves up in unexpected way (for example if two moves share a transition you can actually use that transition as a segue from one move to another.)

Do you have any experiences playing around with micro transitions to improve your overall game?  Do you benefit from this like I do?  Or have you found that learning moves on a broader scale is better for you?


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