Sensitivity on the Ground

Hi Roy:

Do you have any drills that develops sensitivity on the ground? Sensitivity in the sense that one can create/read/release pressure?

Also, what are the key concepts to sensitivity for the ground?

Thank you Comrade Roy!

PS: FANTASTIC seminar this weekend! I sent you an email about it. :)


4 Ranges,

The single best thing that has helped my sensitivity over the years is rolling slowly with my eyes closed.  Learn to "see" purely by feeling with every part of your body.  As you get better at it, you can speed the game up, and you will be surprised at how well you can tell relative position and the precision with which you can still place your limbs, even though you can't see.

Against very new students, I sometimes feel I actually do BETTER (even at full speed) with my eyes closed, because their sudden, jerky, explosive movements do not distract my eyes...... I go totally on feel and focus only on those aspects related to position, until I have dominant control and can feel the submission settle into place.  This takes some time (at least a couple years of regular sensitivity training) to achieve, however.  Sensitivity is also very closely tied to AWARENESS.

Hope this helps while you wait for Mr. Harris' reply.

Anyone familiar with Feldenkrais work to develop awareness and

I've only heard of it, and from what I've heard, I'm not sure how it would help to develop this attribute.

well, feldenkrais is all about awareness and increasing it.

I think it increases awareness through neural reprogramming of basic movements. So it makes your movements more efficient through greater awareness.

I'm not sure how a greater awareness of my movement increases sensitivty (a greater awareness of your OPPONENT's movements).

In Feldenkraiswork you don´t only focus on your own body and its
movement, but also others. ATM is mainly focused on yourself, but FI
(functional integration) is another huge part of feldenkraiswork, where

one person puts his or hers awareness on someone else body and


that's cool to know. When I spoke to a feldenkrais practitioner, he only spoke of the first part. Probably hadn't moved up the ladder yet.

Hi kbits, cool to find a collegue. I have practiced feldenkrais for more then
15 years myself, and I´m actually doing the 4-year proffesional training
too right now, or atleast I think so.. I have done the first two segments
already, but I might have to take a break for a year due to financial and
other reasons ( I want to finish my University..). But I will for sure finish it

I know that Moshe wrote a book on feldenkrais and Ne-waza (groundwork

something..) But it´s really hard to find. Do you know where to get it?

Thanks for the link with lessons and good luck with your own training.


No it´s not Goldfarb, it´s a great teacher called Beatriz Walterspiel, she is
german but speaks both english and spanish fluently. She did her training
in Amherst, straight with Moshe when he was alive. She is excellent imo,
has aprofound knowledge about the method and is very sensitive. Her FI
´s are simply amazing.

Thanks alot for the tip on where to find the book! I have been looking alot
for it. Did you find it helpful for your groundwork? What did it cover?

Yup, the prayer hands lesson rings a bell. But did you do the prayer feet
yet? LOL (i´m not kidding, it exists)

Thanks for the links and your comments on the book. I think I´ll get it
anyway, especially since I don´t know alot about Judo, apart from my
favouritethrow: kata guruma, that I´ve used alot in BJJ competitions. ;-)

"You're not sure how great awareness...leads to greater awareness?"

No, you misread my statement.

I'm not sure how a greater awareness of, let's say, MY ankle, leads to a greater awareness of my OPPONENT's ankle, in terms of where it is, where is it going, etc.

"Another way to look at it - if you know how your ankle works, intimately, don't you think that would tell you a little something about how someone elses ankle would work, given that we're all the same design (bar minor variations)?"

That "little something" is knowing the MECHANICS of an ankle. Knowing the mechanics of both our ankles doesn't mean I can read his intentions.

For example: I'm in my opponent's butterfly guard.

I can know the ins and outs of the mechanics of his ankle, but that won't help me develop the sensitivity to pressure that will allow me to read where he intends to sweep me: to my right? to my left? is he going to flip me over?

My knowledge of how ankles in general helps me understand the mechanics of the joint, but that won't help me anticipate his next move.

"A third way to look at it is - when you're aware of yourself, you can notice much finer gradations of sensation happening to you, without so much extraneous "noise" (pain, emotions, ambition etc) filtering your perception."

This I understand. However, this increased awareness of biofeedback won't help me with my counter.

For example, many of us have been "tooled" by particular high-level grapplers whose attacks we could "see" (armbar, pass, choke, etc.), but there wasn't much we could do about it. This tends to happen to students who roll with high level grapplers REGARDLESS of these students' sensitivity and awareness.

Where are you Roy? :(

"I think you're confusing intellectually knowing and being able to sense ("knowing")."

From your own post:

"Another way to look at it - if you KNOW HOW YOUR ANKLE works, intimately, don't you think that would tell you a little something about how someone elses ankle would work, given that we're all the same design (bar minor variations)?"

No confusion on my part.

As for the butterfly guard, it is a guard designed for endless counters and sweeps. An intimate knowledge of my ankle (or my opponent's ankle) does not help me counter the butterfly guard in any way. IF I don't have knowledge of the techniques involved with the butterfly guard and the accompanying counters, I will still get swept, REGARDLESS of how sensitive I am to my own ankle or his.

If it were as easy as being sensitive to my ankle, then I needn't roll with a partner! I just need to stay home, flex my ankle, study it intimately, flex it some more, and I won't ever get swept from the butterfly guard again!

EUREKA!! I ought to write a book...

"High level grappler's just have more of it that low level ones."

Uh, yes, that's why I posted this thread to begin with: how do high level grapplers develop this attribute. I don't think high level grapplers like Jacare and Roger Gracie are Feldenkrais practitioners.

"Think for a minute of how far advance you can read a white belts movements."

I can read that far advance because white belts are that far behind. It's not a testament to my skill, per se, but more a LACK of skill/sensitivity on their part.

"What you're describing is pattern recognition, which is the ability to read motion by using your body. That's the very definition of awareness, isn't it?"

Not necessarily. Awareness, by my specific definitions, is also having the knowledge AND the ability to counter my opponent's movement.

"in order to be sensitive to your opponent, you have to be sensitive to yourself first."

I have to resoundingly disagree. You don't see grapplers rolling BY THEMSELVES first. They are thrown in with a partner from the get go.

You can't develop sensitivity/awareness in a vacuum, which, from your post above, seems to be what you are advocating.

TTT for the Boa!

This is kind of pointless to argue about, the best is to actually experience it. Some things can´t be expressed in words. anyhow I´ll try to clarify some things.

"I don't think high level grapplers like Jacare and Roger Gracie are Feldenkrais practitioners."

Me neither. But the goal for a BJJpractioner and a feldenkraispractioner are in one aspect anyhow very similar: how can you create most effect with least effort.

Skilled BJJpractioners also have a high level of awarenes and sensitivety, no doubt. But what is good can always be improved. And one goal of Feldenkrais is not to "fight against yourself" when you move your body, you want to reduce unnecessary muscleactivity and contradictions in movement. everyone benefits from that.

"You can't develop sensitivity/awareness in a vacuum, which, from your post above, seems to be what you are advocating."

I don´t think that´s what he advocates. Feldenkrais stresses that you always develop in a context/enviroment. Never in a vacuum. But I think his point is that the awareness that you improve doing feldenkraislessons, can be used in many different contexts, even when you grapple for example. IME that is the case, after doing Feldenkrais my sensitivety on the mat also improves. Of course you wont learn to grapple by only doing Feldenkrais, alot of specific knowldge is necessary. I also think kbits is aware ;-) of that.

Good post Fudo. :)


no, no, good stuff all around. :)

TTT for MIA Boa

MIA? I think he's hidden away on the beaches of Hawaii



we could, but we'd probably run into some yahoos in there. And considering that Roy is probably still surfing the waves of Makapu'u, I don't think he'll mind too much. :)


is he STILL in Hawaii?????