Bryan Neil, teaches Judo from a Jiu Jitsu perspective, or maybe it’s the other way around… I call it Jits-Judo because he has blended his years of Judo training with his Jiu Jitsu. As a result, he has one wicked Jiu Jitsu top game. When he teaches, he always brings a fresh perspective to Jiu Jitsu. Not only does he teach us to use the techniques from a different perspective, he also uses some different training drills. One of the training drills is what he calls Fox and Hound.
Fox and Hounds is a board game that is believed to have originated in 14th century Scandinavia. The object of the game is simple. The fox’s goal is to evade capture. The hound’s goal is to trap the fox. Our Judo instructor uses the principles of this game as a training drill.
This drill starts with one partner playing the hound (attacker) and the other playing the fox (defender). Everybody starts at 50% intensity for one minute. Then you switch roles and do another minute at 50%. The next set of rounds you increase the intensity to 60% for one minute each. Gradually you increase the intensity by 10% each set of rounds, until you get to 100%. Then you start decreasing the intensity by 10% for each set of rounds until you are back to 50% intensity. That adds up to a twenty-minute drill.
The exercise has multiple purposes. The first and most obvious is to give each person the opportunity to focus on the different roles of defending and attacking. The next and not so obvious, is to slow down the intensity. When the intensity is slow, your brain has time to register opportunities that it wouldn’t see at normal intensity. Also, at 50% intensity your partner is not resisting as much. As you increase the intensity you have to increase your reaction time. Then as you start decreasing from 100% back down to 50% you are given the opportunity to perfect those techniques. Another even less obvious purpose is to “trick” the body into developing stronger muscles and better conditioning.
This technique of increasing and decreasing is similar to the weightlifting technique known as stacking or working a pyramid. The weight lifter starts with a relativity low weight and does for example 10 repetitions He gradually increases the weight with each set. When the weight lifter reaches his max weight, he then begins to decrease the weight with each set. This technique is often used when a weight lifter reaches a plateau that he cannot overcome. By decreasing the weight he is able to continue “stressing” the muscles. By creating this “stress” on the muscles, the weight lifter encourages the muscles to rebuild stronger than before. Thereby, the weight lifter is able to “trick” the body and get past the plateau. In a similar way, Fox and Hound gives you the opportunity to over come your BJJ plateau.