Friday, January 28, 2011

How to Be an Enforcer

At every school there is that Go-To person that always handles the noobs. Ideally it's someone not too big, who is always calm, but is tough enough to take some beats, and skilled enough to demonstrate to the super athletic, spazzy, "I R DOIN MMA!!" type noobs that whatever they are doing is ineffective and they need to chill the fuck out and pay attention to learning jiu-jitsu.
If the enforcer is a 250lb brown belt then the noob doesn't learn anything because, "The only reason I couldn't beat him is because he's bigger than I am!" is sitting in the back of their mind, so they just go twice as hard on the next guy their size. If the enforcer is the instructor then it can cause bad blood between the noobs and the guy who is supposed to be teaching them. The perfect enforcer is a senior blue or mid level purple belt between 135 and 155lbs. A little bigger is fine, but you definitely want your enforcer to be a demonstration of technique over strength.

If you find yourself being paired up with every 220lb spaz that comes into the gym, and you're a lightweight blue belt, you're probably on the list of Enforcers for your school. Since no one ever really sits down and tells you what you're supposed to do, let's explore that concept for a minute.
As an Enforcer your job is ONLY to demonstrate that pure strength and athleticism will not let the spazzy noob win. You don't have to completely dominate them, you don't have to sub them, you just have to make sure they know that what they are doing is ineffective. So here are a few ways to do that.

1. Invincible Guard: This is best used against people that try to elbow grind their way out of guard or apply submissions from inside the guard. To execute this technique lock your feet together and turn your knees OUT so that the backs of your knees are pressed against your opponent. This makes your guard much harder to break and lets you bump your opponent around a lot. Next put your hands behind your head and look around the room, hold a conversation with someone or give some advice to a white belt in a nearby roll. While doing this constant pull your opponent forward to break their balance. If they start to stop working make sure you encourage them to "Keep working!".

2. Mocking Maneuver: This one can be used in conjunction with any of the other techniques, but I prefer combining it with Invincible Guard. When your opponent is trying something that won't work, and refuses to abandon it, engage this Maneuver. "You know that won't ever work, right?", "If you keep doing that you're going to hurt yourself...", "I'm just wondering where you're going with this... keep on.", "I'm not sure that does what you think it does.". This is a way to subtly remind your opponent that they do not yet know WTF they are doing and should stick to working on things they've actually been shown in class, not things they half remember from UFC 57 or the latest Submissions 101 video.

3. Whirling Dervish: If your opponent is too big, or too strong, or you have a knee injury, or for any reason can't employ Invincible Guard this is an excellent backup option. Sit on your butt, get any kind of collar or sleeve grip to help spin you, and extend your legs so that you have a foot on the hip or between the legs or anywhere that you can use to help keep you lined up with your opponent. Now let them run themselves stupid trying to pass your guard on the outside of the circle while you use your grip and your hooks to make them carry you around the inside of the circle. No matter at what point they get frustrated and try to dive on you, you'll have them inside your guard still.

4. Levitation: This is a personal favorite. A lot of spazzy noobs will want to stand up to run around your guard or do other silly things, so get your feet on their hips and keep a deathgrip on the collar. Keep your legs socketted into the hip crease and nice and stiff and when your opponent stands up they will give you their hips, this leads to overhead sweeps and other comedy monkey flip style sweeps. As long as you keep your feet on their hips you can keep this option open.

5. Silver Bullet: This one takes some work to develop, so be prepared. The idea here is to get ONE technique, usually a sweep, up to black belt level. Practice it for 20 minutes before every class, drill it randomly at home, watch videos about it to learn variations, etc... Now use this sweep on your opponent 50 times in a row. I've hit a dozen scissor sweeps in a row on a spazzy noob and then they finally had the lightbulb go on that HULK SMASH!! was not going to win them any prizes. If you want to be a good enforcer you need at least one Silver Bullet, and frankly this is something you should be doing anyways.

6. Bait and Switch: This one is for particularly aggressive noobs and is the only technique on here that really involves subbing them. First engage invincible guard, second give them your arm to try to americana, third armbar them or take their back and choke them. You can offer them any other subs you think they will recognize if you have a solid counter to them as well, but the one I see most commonly is people trying to work the americana from inside the guard.

Notice that the one thing that all of these (Except for #5) have in common is that they will NEVER work on someone that has been training for a month. These are all tricks designed to get people to calm the hell down during their first 3 weeks and PAY ATTENTION.

Now for STORYTIME! As anyone that reads my blog here knows I weigh about 145lbs. I've been as heavy as 153 and as light as 130 during my time in jiujitsu. At the time of this story I was at 138 and had not started weightlifting seriously. A couple of 250~lb guys came to try the class out, both were backyard wrestlers and were decked out in tapout gear and clearly ready to go spazzy ape shit on people as was demonstrated when they went bonkers on their smaller white belt partners during the technique specific work. After that they got paired up with me and one of our 220lb blue belts. My guy clearly assumed he'd be able to manhandle me, and pounced on me with a quickness driving as much of his weight onto me as possible. I spent the next 5 minutes just not letting him do anything. Worked my way through most of the above list and by the end of it he was sweating buckets and gasping for air and I wasn't even breathing hard because I made him do all the work. His comment, "I had no idea it would be this much work."

And that's all it takes. All I had to do to show him that spaztard strength could not beat someone half his size was to make it a lot of work. I didn't sweep him a hundred times, I didn't take his back, I just kept him up and away from me and made him keep working the entire time to try to accomplish something. Being an Enforcer isn't always about riding KoB for 20 minutes until some ass hole pukes on himself, it's not about landing 20 subs in 60 seconds on a guy just to show him he's still a total noob, it's about emphasizing to noobs that they are in class to LEARN SOMETHING NEW not to show off how strong they are. All you have to do is make their strength ineffective.

1 comment:

  1. Cool - nice post. I wouldn't want that role, as I hate confrontation and avoid spazzy training partners whenever possible, but it's useful to have some ideas should I ever end up in that situation. I think I may have even used the whirling dervish recently, which was fun.