In the academy in which I spent my first four-ish years (white to purple), we had this rule: During free rolling after instructional, if you successfully executed the “move of the day” (whatever was taught during instructional), your partner would have to do ten pushups after the round. (Didn’t count if the MOTDer was the instructor.) In my current academy, there is no such rule.
I come before you today to discuss the relative merits of such a practice.
Pro: It’s kinda fun. There’s good camaraderie to be had. Good-natured ribbing from the rest of the class when someone’s doing pushups between rounds. Congratulations to the MOTDer.
Pro: It makes you work for it. Your partner doesn’t want to do pushups. (Not because ten pushups is soooo hard; it’s the pride thing.) So if you get the MOTD, you know you really got it.
Con: If there’s a significant skill (or size/strength) disparity, achieving MOTD may be trivial for one partner and impossible for the other. In this situation, the lesser player has no incentive to go for MOTD because it’ll certainly be stuffed; and the greater player would just be bullying the lesser by going for it and getting it time after time.
Let’s take a step back for a sec. I feel it’s indisputable that we want to encourage MOTD attempts during the free rolls after said move is taught. More reps, in a more dynamic and aggressive environment, will help to solidify and hone the technique.
So under what circumstances does the pushup rule encourage or discourage MOTD attempts? I posit: encourage when skills are evenly matched; discourage when they are not.
To be a good training partner, the greater grappler in a heavily mismatched roll should allow the lesser to attempt – and even finish – techniques. Particularly the MOTD, for the reinforcement reasons noted above. Some folks have too big an ego for this (I encourage you to surround yourself with at least some high-level/low-ego grapplers) – but add pushups to the mix, and even the humblest high-level folks are going to be much less likely to concede MOTD. This makes the lesser player unlikely to try, and therefore unlikely to reap the benefits of that extra practice.
What to do? Chart out which matchups are close enough to make the pushup rule a positive, and enforce it only for those match-ups? Gah! Too much overhead.
So I think I’m going to try it out this way: allow – and even encourage – my students to agree before rolling, between the two of them, whether the pushup rule will be in force. (Sort of like partners agreeing whether leglocks are kosher.)
Your thoughts and opinions are encouraged.