Archive for March, 2011

Using BJJ technique

March 27, 2011

People often get so focused on positions, moves, and postures they forget (or were never taught) the core issue is not the move itself, but the idea and thinking behind the move.

If you center attention on the idea, you can make virtually anything adapt and work for you.

Going deeper, to what end does one use these ideas?

I used to think BJJ was a series of tools you dominated an opponent with.  In other words, using it to become a better caveman. ;o)

These days I think of BJJ techniques as tools which help us make use of our innate sensibility and tactile awareness.

From this perspective you’re not dominating energy, rather your blending with it for moments in time.

Techniques then are examples of scenarios where you effectively hitch a ride, or in Rickson’s immortal words:  “Flow(ing) with go.”


Basic Jiu-Jitsu

March 24, 2011

The idea of focusing on ‘the basics’ of BJJ is almost cliché.  What often goes unsaid is mastering details of the basics.

You know you’re getting somewhere when you’ve dug into a position so much that you hit upon a detail that your instructor hasn’t shown you and/or likely couldn’t show you during the course of a class.

This is what I like to do when I roll with people.  I usually correct one aspect of their posture or escape.

In a lot of respects ‘the basics’ are way  more technical than exotic guard and guard passing techniques because you have to protect yourself while at the same time using perfect body mechanics.  Throw in the perfect timing of an effortless escape and you have a lot of sophistication.

If an elbow escape was simple in practice every black belt would escape Roger Gracie’s mount with ease.

Remember, mechanics and principles are simple in theory but take thousands of hours to learn how to apply.

Technical Jiu-Jitsu

March 18, 2011

Jiu-jitsu to me is a way of approaching things.

I was thinking today that for me to consider a BJJ technique excellent, it should work equally well when one is exhausted verus fresh.

Can you play your game (or even a game for that matter) when your tired?

Remember that BJJ is about how you approach things.  Moves, positions, techniques, and postures are echoes of this approach.

Sometimes I struggle to get this across because often people are taught BJJ as a collection of moves, and I imagine it’s difficult to make a leap from concrete to abstract.

My teacher’s game is always changing, but the principles (harnessing momentum and unbreakable posture) are always the same.

This took me a long time to wrap my head around.

This is where I think Rickson is coming from when he says you can’t learn BJJ from books or tapes.  In some ways for him I think it’s about being in the moment where thought and movement are one.

When not to move

March 9, 2011

I heard Rener Gracie say something so key yesterday:

‘Knowing when not to move is more important than knowing when to move.”


Because if your moving unnecessarily, all your accomplishing is wearing yourself out.

It goes back to the John Wooden quote of activity without achievement.

Exhaustion is perhaps the worst submission to be caught in, especially when you don’t get anything done in the process.

Rule number #1:  Don’t submit yourself.

Strive to understand the context of a move.  There is a timing element to every position, especially escapes.


March 5, 2011

‘Never mistake activity for achievement.’ ~John Wooden

Whenever I’ve taken in students for private tutelage over a period of time, bar none the biggest thing I teach them is to slow down.

Letting excitement fuel your work can put you asleep to the details, subtleties, and nuances revealed when sticking to a plan over time.

Strive for balance.  Finish your homework before depositing slugs in your sisters’s shoe.