I always went by the rule of thumb that I wouldn't start training in the off-season until I could raise my arms above my head with no shoulder pain and walk straight with no listing to the port side. Looks like you're there.
I know we've discussed training in Jiu-Jitsu for the fun of it in the off-season, but I got some ideas that I think would work better for you. I don't foresee you fighting in any cage matches down the line. Jiu Jitsu is primarily a grappling art, the techniques and principles of unarmed combat developed when the samurai lost his sword on the battlefield. I don't think you could sneak a samurai sword onto the field with all that security on the sidelines anyhow. What I'm proposing would apply to your field skills. It might help those sack totals.
Learning to punch properly to thwart the occasional offensive lineman's two-fisted grab on your jersey is one good skill to have. Another is to trap or pin their arms against their bodies before they get a hold of you so they can't do that. Then finally there are pain compliance techniques that you can use to encourage them to let go. Long story short, I learned it the hard way from a guy in Dallas by the name of White.
The first order of business is developing a punch. When you engage a hog on a rush, you want to be able to rock his world with a well-timed punch to his upper body. Normally this is done using two hands. But the problem is that a three-bills-plus hog can brace and squat because you are engaging him with equal force from your two hands. His core is not threatened.
What I'm proposing is you learn the thrusting punch of the great sumotori's of Japan -- you know, those four hundred pounders that wear diapers. They attack and drive their opponents back with alternating single-arm punches using the palm of their hand. This prevents an opponent from being able to brace due to the center of the body constantly shifting from the blows.
After you develop your punch -- and not to go Bruce Lee on you -- but trapping is next. Trapping is simply immobilizing your opponents' limbs. When an unfriendly punches, you can trap downward, wedge or slap upward, or apply various combinations. Those would be referred to as entries into an attack. Then you could follow up with a swim, club, or uppercut as a follow-up move as you saw fit.
|Wolfley suggests pain compliance techniques to make Smith's opponents pay every time they lay a hand on him. (Photo: Getty Images)|
The main thing to keep in mind is that it's all about attacking and moving forward. And the skills must be such that they flow seamlessly together. There's no time to try some flowery type techniques that take you out of your rush mode in a called defense. Steven Segal would make a lousy pass-rusher because his style is dependent on using an opponents' force against him. You want to be the aggressor.
The other thing that you want to do -- and trapping helps you in this way -- is to make an opponent pay every time they lay a hand on you. Nothing encourages compliancy faster than a hefty dose of pain. When you learn to hit hard, fast, and frequently, the hog having the unfortunate responsibility of pass pro against you will have a tendency to get a little discouraged over the course of a game. As my old instructor used to say, "Consistent pain tends to discourage even the idiot." I really don't know why he was looking at me when he said it.
So the last bit of training we would play with are some pain-inducing joint attacks when you're already locked up with a guy that will make him cry uncle and let you go.
Does any of this sound interesting? Good. One of my mottos is "The more you sweat in the gym, the less you bleed in the ring."
Time to sweat, my friend.