Sep 23

By axe or by guillotine

Something morbid to think about on this fine Saturday evening:

At the height of the French Revolution, there was a familiar scene.

One after another, those who were condemned to execution stumbled down from carts and were marshaled into line, as each in turn was led up the steps of a scaffold, where blood soaked the boards and dripped down through the cracks.

They had to watch as each person in front of them was strapped to the guillotine and know that they would soon share the same fate.

There was no escape.

No hope.

Only death awaited, and it came from above.

The guillotine had no remorse. Once released, it struck true, and a head would roll, regardless of guilt or innocence.

Now look, I’m not bringing this up because it’s fun to talk about, but because there are times on the mat, where you have to imagine yourself as an executioner. And if you tap into that mindset, your opponents will feel that same sense of hopelessness of those condemned to die.

Here’s what I mean:

Whether by axe or by guillotine, the strike must always come from above.

And the same exact thing applies to certain chokes like the loop choke, guillotine, and hand gun choke. Your head must always be above theirs before you strike.

It’s not negotiable.

The condition is set in stone.

And there is power in that knowledge.

If you internalize it, you’ll start to recognize immediately when someone moves into your strike zone. And once there, all you have to do is swing the axe or release the guillotine.

And you know what?

That recognition of execution conditions can be more broadly applied. All you have to do is take the time to break down what specifically has to happen in order for you to succeed with a particular technique.

And you’ll notice that sometimes, you don’t even have to force things.

People will walk smackdab into your strike zone on their very own. In those moments, don’t resist the urge. Strike. Swing the axe. Release the guillotine. And leave their head rolling along the ground.

Anyway, use that suggestion as you wish.

I’ll be exploring applications of this philosophy in greater detail up in the micro adjustments course.

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