“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
This well-known quote by Bruce Lee is as true for the grappling arts as it is for the striking arts. While learning cool throws and exotic submissions is great, drilling down to master every nuance and application of one particular technique is powerful.
Each of the latest books by grappling coach extraordinaire Steve Scott — The Juji Gatame Encyclopedia and The Triangle Hold Encyclopedia — is dedicated to just one technique.
Recently, I spoke with Steve Scott, who has an eighth degree in judo and a seventh degree in shingitai jujitsu, about his books, his videos and his dedication to being an outstanding instructor and coach for so many years.
Focusing on One Thing
Flipping through most martial arts books, one is usually struck by the sheer number of techniques being taught. Steve Scott questioned why there needs to be more than one item on the menu.
“There are a lot of good books and a lot of good videos out there — good information — but they will give you just a bit of a glance at a subject,” he said. “Just a bit of a look.”
He chose to focus on specific subjects. Since there is only one topic in each of his books, the subject matter is very organized, and the subtleties of the versions of the techniques are carefully explained to show the distinctions.
Steve Scott explained his method for showing set-ups and variations: “It’s not just the shotgun approach — here’s this, here’s that. We tried to give it some system of basis so you could study it more effectively.”
The text, while full of detailed information and tips, also provides plenty of gems of practical advice on the psychology of combat that Steve Scott acquired during his years of training, such as this one from The Juji Gatame Encyclopedia:
“People sometimes say that they will ‘rise to the occasion’ under a stressful situation. That’s not true. You rise to your level of training. The better you prepare in your training, the better you will do under stress.”
Grappling on YouTube
While books are great, especially for reference, with our screen-centric culture, videos are something that students often seek out to see how things are done. This is precisely why Steve Scott has not just one but two YouTube channels: JBBA Judo Education Channel and Welcomematstevescott. They are filled with hundreds of free videos covering just about every aspect of grappling from standing to the ground.
“The videos have been the main focus lately,” he said. “And that’s what they’re going to be probably for this next year.”
With content varying in length from seconds to several minutes, the material suits the needs of dedicated students as well as those who are just grappling-curious.
If you want to catch Steve Scott in person, head to the JudoCon, which will take place in Olathe, Kansas, on August 6-7, 2022. The JudoCon will feature speakers and coaches including Patrick Burris (ninth degree, two-time Olympian and Olympic team coach) and AnnMaria De Mars, Ph.D. (seventh degree, world judo champion).
After years of teaching and coaching, why does Steve Scott still do it? “I love seeing my guys stand on the podium,” he said. “Getting that gold medal, that’s great. Silver, bronze, whatever it is. But to get there, I love that just as much, the process of getting them there.”
Steve Scott’s overarching commitment to teaching is exceptional whether in person, on the page or on the screen. His mission is to help students understand.
“If we can be a positive approach, a positive addition to the world of martial arts, then I guess I’ve done my job.”