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You Can’t Make Your Opponent Fold

A lot of people ask how to make opponents fold so they cannot suck out.

Here is a long story. It will be meaningless to some. To others, it may resonate and really help.

In my 20s and early 30s I practiced an old, particularly brutal martial art. For those who have never practiced a martial art, there is a lot more to it then learning how to hit things. Most of the old ones are complete lifestyles in and of themselves. They teach you how to handle every moment of your life, not just some physical confrontation.

I was at a seminar given by a teacher whom I had trained with several times in the past. He was a good martial artist, but he was an outstanding teacher. Whenever I trained with him I was certain to learn something important.

We were practicing omote-gyaku, a type of wrist lock that twists the hand to the outside, away from the body. A common use of this would be to take an opponent to the ground.

Several of us had practiced the art for years, and had done omote-gyaku drills for many, many hours. Our partner would strike, we would slide to the side getting control of the hand as the strike misses, perform omote-gyaku and take our partner to the ground.

But a lot of people were new to the art. Their partners would strike and they would get control of the hand and try to perform omote-gyaku. But instead of taking the partner to the ground, they would wind up staring face-to-face with their partner while twisting his wrist.

The teacher sees that a lot of people are having trouble and he calls for attention. He calls for a partner and tells the class to pay close attention. The partner strikes, the teacher flawlessly performs omote-gyaku and takes the partner down. He asks, “What happened?”

The class: “Er . . . you did omote-gyaku to him and you made him fall down.”

Teacher: “No. Watch again.”

And the same thing occurs. The partner strikes. The teacher performs flawless omote-gyaku and down goes the partner.

Teacher: “What happened?”

The class: “Um . . . you did omote-gyaku to him and made him fall down.”

Teacher: “No. Watch one more time.”

And the same thing occurs.

Teacher: “Anyone?”

The class just fidgets.

Teacher: “I did omote-gyaku to him and he CHOSE to fall down. Because the other CHOICE I gave him was to stand there and let me break his wrist.”

The teacher then took a few minutes to describe that the new people were moving the wrist to the outside, but they were not applying sufficient pressure on the wrist. They were just hoping the partner would fall. So they were giving their partner the choice of falling down or standing up and having their wrist lightly twisted. Most just chose to stand there.

The light goes on in the new people’s eyes and back they go to practice and, sure enough, they start taking their partners to the ground.

But I and a handful of the other students had been doing this for years. We knew this already, although we could not put it in such words.

But the lesson was not quite over. The teacher turned to the 6 advanced students and said something which changed my entire approach to life ever since.

Teacher: “No one can MAKE anyone do ANYTHING. All we can ever do is make it easier or harder for people to make certain choices.”

And then the light went on in our eyes. How many times in my life have I heard people complain, “How can I make so and so do such and such?” You cannot. All you can do is make it easier for them to make the choice you want them to make and harder for them to make the choice you do not want them to make. But, in the end, the choice will still be theirs to make.

You cannot make someone fold. You can make it harder for them to stay in the hand by forcing them to commit far more chips than it is worth. But, in the end, some will make the choice to stay. By forcing them to commit more chips than it is worth, you will be money-ahead in the long run.

Do your best to properly influence their choices.

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