(By David Corrigan * –dcorrigan.wordpress.com)
Last Saturday Anderson “Spider” Silva won his 12th-straight fight in the UFC Octagon (a record). After being dominated for 23 minutes, Silva pulled off the submission that is arguably Jiu-Jitsu’s signature move: the triangle choke. The triangle choke can not only put the person to sleep but it is applied from the bottom, a position most every martial art would say is disadvantageous. You should not ever choose to take the bottom in a fight because of the damage that can be done from the top. HOWEVER, the fundamental principles of Jiu-Jitsu instilled by Helio Gracie were to use Jiu-Jitsu to survive the fight and most importantly NOT LOSE! Anderson was able to do this tonight…from the bottom.
MMA fans had the opportunity to witness this fundamental principle of Jiu-Jitsu: patience”
It is a rare occasion that one can see this applied in mixed martial arts competition (not losing, as opposed to trying to win). The reason for this is that the nature of the sport demands that the competitors train themselves to the best and push the pace from the very beginning to try to win. There is a limited amount of time to win the fight, therefore every second counts. However, in tonight’s fight, the five championship rounds provided fans the opportunity to witness this fundamental principle of Jiu-Jitsu: patience. Anderson was taking a beating, but surviving the fight. Though he was continuously put on his back, Anderson neutralized many of the strikes that were being thrown by Chael. Through many of the rounds, Anderson was positionedn to execute the triangle, he had wrist control on the right arm of Chael close to his legs and the left arm of Chael was extended inside the guard. In this position it was a matter of slipping his leg over Chael’s right arm and… game over.
So why didn’t Anderson pull this off quicker? Nobody can answer this but Anderson. It seemed to me as though he was not sure if the timing was quite right. Without the proper timing, Chael could defend the triangle, possibly advance his position, or at the very least have a read on what Anderson would be trying to do. Chael Sonnen did an outstanding job of putting Anderson Silva where he does not like to be, but we had seen this finish once before versus Travis Lutter. When, he finally thought he had Chael distracted enough and the timing was right, the Spider’s legs locked down the submission.
Anderson represented Jiu-Jitsu very well tonight, as did Fabricio Werdum a few weeks ago when he pulled off a triangle choke finish versus Fedor Emelianenko. Helio Gracie time and time again demonstrated that he could use his Jiu-Jitsu to neutralize bigger, stronger, dominating opponents and look for a finish later in the fight. Mixed martial arts and sport Jiu-Jitsu competitions many times take away this possibility and thus change the nature of the art in most cases. Same techniques, different philosophies. This is probably necessary for the growth of the two sports, but should always be noted by spectators.
Only a few young, very conditioned athletes can perform at the highest level MMA competitions. However, people from all ages and fitness levels can train the arts that these competitions come from with a holistic approach and carry away with them such benefits as confidence, fitness, stress relief, flexibility, endurance, and overall well-being – the Martial Arts Way of Life.
Congratulations Anderson! He received a lot of criticism after his disappointing performance versus Demian Maia, but tonight he showed a champion’s heart and the patience of a Jiu-Jitsu black belt. I am not sure if Anderson has anything left to prove in the UFC. He has demonstrated his superior striking skills and backed up his black belt. From this point forward, it will be hard to criticize this UFC legend again.
* David Corrigan is a black belt under Pedro Brandao Lacerda and teaches in Knoxville, TN.