Learning To Miss

Ian; hit or miss, at home in the bottom position.

The martial art/sport of judo has always held a lot of interest for me.  I trained a bit of judo when I was living in Japan, and I have tried to implement its philosophies, both exoteric and esoteric, ever since. Upon starting judo practice, the importance of falling (being thrown) was constantly stressed.  Without the ability to fall, easily and safely, without having to think about it, one would never truly be able to commit to an attack.

The exact same thing is true about weightlifting.  If you cannot safely miss a lift, you will never be able to really commit to the lift.   You will never really be comfortable in the bottom position.  If you have any fear of the bar landing on your head, being pinned under the bar, or any thought other than nailing the lift, you will miss.  You probably won’t even get much past the 2nd pull.

Learning how to miss a lift and to safely dump the bar, both forward and backward, is an important part of learning the full snatch and clean, and being comfortable under the bar.  At first glance, weightlifting would seem to be a very dangerous activity, and of course it can be, but fear of the dangers will only lead to those dangers being more probable.  Certainly, this is easier said than done, but so was learning how to fall–to roll, to flip, to get slammed to the mat with someone on top of me.  It takes practice and this kind of practice takes a little bit of the jumping off a cliff mentality.  You have to just do it.  You have to be able to take that first step off the cliff or high dive or whatever, knowing that it will get easier every time.

If you watch the big judo teams train, such as the Korean national team or the top Japanese collegiate clubs, the throws are spectacular and the falls are brutal. If you watch the big guys lift, such as videos of the Bulgarians training, the misses are spectacular.  Their total commitment to the lift is readily apparent.  Try to bring some of that commitment to your own training, fear of the bar will never bother you again.

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