I Method

The I method is the fundamental training method of the Straight Blast Gym. We use the I method because it’s a training tool that is  a very effective way of integrating Aliveness (Working with an resistant partner using timing, energy, and motion) into training. Below you will find a description of the 3 phases of the I method with a description of what to expect in each.


The introduction stage of training is designed to help you to learn new techniques. In the introduction stage, you are learning all the particulars of the technique. Things like where to put your arms and legs, which way to move, where to grab etc. are gone over in detail.

In the introduction stage you communicate with your partner and work together to make sure you understand how to perform the technique. Your partner is compliant in this stage. There is no resistance. Your partner may employ pressure as it’s needed for you to execute the technique, but they will not resist your technique. An example of the kind of pressure you might employ would be things like your partner leaning forward while in your guard so that you can execute a sweep or your partner standing up while in your guard so that you can execute a ankle grab sweep with your knees. You give your partner the pressure they need to execute the technique. You don’t give them pressure that nullifies or prevents them from using their technique. Verbal communication is encouraged.

In this stage you switch on your own. Usually you will perform the technique a few times and then switch roles.


In this stage you work against resistance. This is your chance to test the technique out in live sparring. Your instructor will give you the rules of the “game.” Your job is to try to execute the technique you learned in the Introduction stage. A good training partner will give you Progressive Resistance. Progressive Resistance means that your partner will not necessarily resist 100%. They will give you enough resistance that you are working hard to execute your technique. If you never get to execute your technique your training partner will dial down their resistance. If you are getting the technique easily your training partner will dial up the resistance. The point of Isolation stage is not to win or beat your opponent. It isn’t a contest. The point is to allow you to get some flight time in with a particular technique. Verbal communication should be very limited in this stage. This is learning by doing stage. Talking will only distract your partner. Let them learn by trying it out.

In this stage your instructor will tell you when to switch roles.

Integration Stage

This is the stage where you put it all together. You use all your tools and are sparring to submission. Here is where you get a chance to try out the technique in a live sparring situation with your partner having all the tools they have at their disposal. In this stage you give full resistance taking into consideration the size and experience difference between you and your partner. This is not the stage to learn new techniques or review old ones. You should not use this time for that purpose. It is OK to ask your partner to show you what they did to submit you after the tap, but don’t stop the roll to discuss technique.

You will switch positions when someone gets a submission or when your instructor tells you.



  1. Pingback: Aliveness as a Coaching Tool | The Gentle Art

  2. I really dig your writing style. You do a great job of explaining the differences between technique, drilling and sparring and I like the naming convention too.

    When I train or coach, I was taught, and believe in, a similar approach. I wonder if it makes sense though, to break the method up into four steps, so there’s a clearer definition between hard drilling (where I will resist and go up to 70% live, but let you finish the move) and situation sparring (where the goes are full live, but partners are focusing on using the technique or techniques they just learned).

    • Thanks Gene,
      I haven’t found a need to nuance it further. I will give as detailed and explanation as needed when we drill though so students are applying the proper resistance with their partner.

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