Gracie Combatives Reflex Development Class
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What's Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Like? - This article is part of a series.
What is Reflex Development Class?
Reflex Development is a class within the Gracie Combatives curriculum where you hone your reflexes through drills and simulated fight scenarios. After some time learning the fundamental techniques within the Combatives curriculum, you should be invited to participate in the Reflex Development classes. To qualify it’s recommended you complete each of the twenty-three Combatives lessons twice. This my differ among Gracie Certified Training Centers. For example, the CTC where train, you’re invited to participate once you earn your second strip on your white belt. In that forty hours of training you should have attended every class at least once and most of them twice.
Reflex development drills remain the primary focus of this class. Through repetition of the Combatives techniques, you’ll hone your ability to perform the techniques when they matter most, in a street fight. A significant part of the class is fight simulation against an untrained opponent. Part of the Combatives test envolves a five minute simulated fight to demonstrate your reflexes and application of the Combatives techniques under stress. By participating weekly in these simulations, you’re able to begin to build up the confidence you’ll need on the streets. It’s one thing comprehend how the techniques are performed, but the application under stress is where the value of the Reflex Development class delivers. This is the fun part of class because it’s the nearest thing to live rolling at the Combatives level.
My Thoughts on Reflex Development Classes
I can’t overstate how much fun Reflex Development class is compared to the fundamental Combatives class. I constantly learn some little detail to better improve my techniques every time. To me the Reflex Development classes offer many advantages over fundamental classes for a number of reasons.
Everyone possesses a fundamental knowledge of the techniques. This allows us to quickly cover more in a shorter amount of time. Thus allowing more repetitions of each technique.
The flow of a fight begins making sense. Navigating through the stages of takedown, control, and submission becomes easier. It doesn’t take long to recognize what your options are based on the indicators the bad guy provides for you. This allows you to understand where the fight could go and stay mentally one step ahead of the bad guy.
The training partners are better. Often in Combatives class, you’ll pair up with people who don’t know the proper resistance when drilling techniques. They’ll either flop around like a rag doll or try too hard to provide you the wrong type of resistance. For example when some tries to punch you in the ribs while inside of your closed guard. You can capture their punch by bringing you leg forward to pin their arm against your knee while grabbing their tricep. Therefore preventing them from striking you. This is stage 1.5 of the punch block series. From here you may continue going through the rest of the punch block series or the bad guy will try and pull their arm free. When this happens, you can shoot your leg underneath their arm and move into the triangle setup position. While drilling the person who’s play the role of the bad guy should try and pull their arm free just like someone in a real fight. Every so often, someone thinks they need to continue to pin their arm against your knee making it a real pain to pull your leg free to move into the triangle setup. In real life it would be convenient to just hang out in this position because you’re not in any danger of getting hit in the ribs, but during training you need to practice against what 99% of bad guys would do in this situation. It took me a long time to figure out how to develop this technique, and I know working with people like this hindered my progression.
The fight simulation really forces you to develop your reflexes and understand the fundamental Combatives techniques. The first time you undergo this exercise it’s a humbling experience. You experience the frustration of knowing that you know how to perform the techniques in a controlled environment, but under stress you completely freeze. I’d rather figure this out on a random Tuesday night instead of when I’m out in public and something goes down. After a while you start understanding the behaviours a typical bad guy will exhibit and the indicators that follow. When this happens, your confidence grows and it’s a good feeling knowing you’ll be able to protect yourself out on the streets.
Overall my experience with all the Reflex Development classes has been positive. It’s a tremendous way to simulate what a real altercation would look like and prepares you to defend yourself.