The “Tempo” Trick…
Here’s a “tempo” trick that high level boxers use that you can apply to your submission grappling. The trick is to alternate between TWO SPEEDS.
1 – The first speed is SLOW & RELAXED
2 – The second speed is FAST & EXPLOSIVE
Now, the reason a boxer uses this trick is because the “slow/relaxed” tempo can subconsciously lull his opponent into the same slow/relaxed tempo that he is moving at. His opponent doesn’t feel a need to be moving faster because he doesn’t perceive a “fast” threat that he needs to react to, so he moves at that same tempo to conserve energy.
So, when the boxer feels his opponent unwittingly moving at the same relaxed tempo, he executes a FAST & EXPLOSIVE attack, which will often land because his opponent is “muscle-set” to move slower and is simply lagging behind.
In submission grappling, you can often do the same thing. If you move at a controlled, slow speed, your opponent will expect you to continue at that speed, and will be subconsciously prepared to react at the same slow speed you are moving at.
When you suddenly change to a FAST / EXPLOSIVE movement, you’ll often be able to accomplish a movement, position change or transition that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise BEFORE your opponent can react, simply because he’s subconsciously prepped himself to move at the slower tempo you had just established.
When you start paying attention to it, you’ll start to recognize that your opponents generally have a tempo that they are comfortable moving at. If you establish a different tempo, they will often mimic it. That’s when you’ve got the opportunity to change it up and catch them momentarily lagging behind.
***NOTE: Actually, the highest level boxers can do this in reverse, too. They will establish a very FAST tempo, making their opponent feel the need to move at a faster than normal speed. Then, they suddenly attack at a SLOWER tempo, and their opponents reaction is too fast and out of sync, often allowing that slower attack to land.
Try it out. See if you can cause your opponent to move at a slower tempo that you establish, then quickly change it up when you spot an opportunity. You’re very likely to catch him lagging behind.