|Water flows not because anything allows it to. That's just what water does.|
By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
No matter what kind of BJJ you train, whether it's self defense, MMA, competition, or hobby, there are unifying concepts to all BJJ. Even without them being spoken, after a while you get the sense of them.
One of these concepts is of personal responsibility. Meaning as far as Jiu Jitsu is concerned, a small man cannot control all the actions of the bigger stronger man, they can however control their own actions in nearly every situation. You don't expect your opponent to let you do anything, that's their job. Your job is to do it. It's a fight after all. Our training partners however should be respectful of our bodies and be careful not to harm us. Even still, our own personal safety is also in our own hands. Martial art is the art of defending yourself. There is this sense in Jiu Jitsu, especially during the formative white belt years, that you should know when to tap, and also be aware not to put yourself in positions that may endanger yourself. Don't have complete trust in your opponent, if you don't understand your safety is also in your control, you'll never develop the skills needed to keep yourself from harming yourself. It's not innate, like anything else in martial arts, it must be learned and practiced. Sometimes we get hurt by our training partners, but there's still a high incidence of injuries where we hurt ourselves, whether we like to admit it or not. You can develop that spider sense of realizing you're getting close to a wall, to other people, that you're foot is caught in their gi, and so on. From purple belt and above, when you roll with a white belt or a beginner, half the time you're focusing on them not hurting themselves and telling them to calm down.
Another concept is of flowing. Always be flowing. It means to always try to better your position, it means transitions, it means chaining together submissions. Your job is to flow and block your opponents attempt at flowing. That's Jiu Jitsu and is one of the ways it is different from arts with katas. It has to always remain true to the fight. I don't mean self defense or MMA fight, I mean the struggle to attain your goals.