“A lot of old school MMA fighters have said they
would rather die than tap out in the ring.”
Stan, the attached email articulates as well as can be stated, something I’ve felt strongly about all my life, having often witnessed abuse in training. Regards, Nev
Sometimes the worst thing you can do is take advice out of context.
For example, a lot of old school MMA fighters have said they would rather die than tap out in the ring. To them, tapping out to signify their surrender to strikes or a submission is a fate worse than death.
I’m not saying that this is a good attitude, but I understand where they are coming from. These are professional fighters competing at the highest level, who understand the risks of having this do-or-die mindset. Ultimately it’s their decision to make; whether they should tap out or take the consequences.
The trouble starts when brand new BJJ students adopt this kamikaze, all-or-nothing attitude while training in class.
Let’s say you want to fight in the UFC, and as part of achieving that goal you start training BJJ. Now suppose that you overhear some fighter talking about dying rather than tapping, and so you decide that that’s how you’re going to train. You’re gonna be a badass! Never tap out!! Fight to the last breath!!!
I’m not psychic, but I can promise you this. After just a few months, long before you get anywhere near the Octagon, your body will be completely destroyed. Surgeons will smile when they see you coming, because fixing your body will help them make their next Lexus payment. And if you’re very lucky, some day you’ll walk without a limp again.
At the other end of the spectrum you’ve got someone like Dean Lister saying, “the more you tap, the more you learn.” If you don’t know who Dean Lister is, he’s the 2003 winner of the absolute division at ADCC, the toughest and most prestigious submission grappling tournament in the world. He’s also been an assistant coach on The Ultimate Fighter TV show, and has fought in the UFC himself.
You can probably see that I agree with “the more you tap, the more you learn.” I agree for at least two reasons.
First, if you’re injured you can’t train. Therefore if something is hurting and you don’t know what’s going on, just tap out and live to fight another day. Eventually you will develop a better ability to gauge how dangerous a given situation is, but early in the game it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Every experienced grappler can tell you a story of how he got injured by being stubborn and not tapping out early enough. They say that intelligence is learning from your own mistakes, and wisdom is learning from someone else’s. When it comes to tapping out, don’t be intelligent – be wise!
Secondly, by being prepared to tap you will explore a greater variety of positions and submissions. These explorations will greatly increase the size of your mental grappling library, and you’ll be a much better grappler (and person) for it.
So when you’re just getting started, don’t be afraid to tap early and tap often.
——————— ADDITIONAL RESOURCE #1 ———————
Read about how one bunch of competitors got the whole concept terribly wrong…
——————— ADDITIONAL RESOURCE #2 ———————
Tapping out signifies two things. Do you know what they are?
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