Jiu Jitsu is more of an idea than a set of techniques. It's not about winning or losing. It's about taking the least amount of damage and using the materials you have on you or them to smother and submit them (at the very least stop them from whatever they want to do to you).
John Danaher once explained to me, that the collar is like a murder's rope around your opponent's neck. Think about that, he's around starting out with a noose on his neck. So why would you base your gi game around anything else? A hand on the collar and a grip on their sleeve is equivalent to having your opponent in a lasso, with the noose on his neck. The sleeve becomes the rope, your hand on the collar the hand on the noose.
So whether you are rolling gi or no gi, you have to use what's at hand. Holding their neck, their arms, overhooks, underhooks, etc. I think nothing teaches this concept better than the gi though. They say to master something you need 10,000 hours of practice. All the best no gi guys in the world have 10,000 hours in the gi. Even Eddie Bravo. I notice even with his guys, the best guys got their initial hours in the gi.
What better way to get better at grappling than you and your opponent starting out with ropes around your neck and seeing who can choke the other person out with it first. Not only do you have to be aggressive but be mindful of your own vulnerability as well.
You realize even with someone tugging you down and trying to throw you around, when on at least 3 points while moving you are strong. When not moving and stationary, no matter what grip they have it is easy to maintain your static base on 4 points. But don't forget about the rope around your neck, it can all change like that.
People roll fast because they don't know how to roll slow and tight. No other reason. You can use grips to slow people down and counter that game. Now think of your guard or the mount as the ultimate grip! You are gripping with your strongest muscles, your legs.
I was looking at some segments of BJJ the other day and started to draw some conclusions. I have been trying to fine tune the mount and back control and I realize it is the same as horse riding and bull wrangling!
The mount is like horse riding. What is the main thing that keeps you from being bucked off the horse is the tension you create with your legs around their body. Always squeezing. A lot of us from mount grapevine or get low and keep our knees wide, or even tripod up.
On a horse though, you are pinching, and either sitting, half sitting, posting, or posting and learning forward depending on what the beast is doing. The more he bucks, the more its unstable the more you lean and post. The calmer it is, the more you are seated, but still pinching. Now if you sit while they buck, you will fly off. You need to ride and match and time their bucks or jumps. Same with a person. If your tied to them and heavy on them when they bridge or buck, you will go where they go. So it 50/50. They control you and you control them. You don't want that, you want to be the master. Their movements should not affect you. Its all still about sensitivity.
Now back control is like bull wrangling. Like a bull, an opponent who gives you their back, the most important thing is that head control. It's more important than your leg position. And you have to stay tight and connected as opposed to when you are on mount, when you post. From the back you stay tight on them and as they fall or roll you stay tight on them and roll with them, letting them take you with them, breaking their will and suffocating their neck. Sagging and driving them down onto the mat. Just like back control to the choke.
It's much more effective to wrap your jiu jitsu game around themes as opposed to preferences. You may like this move or that move but does it all blend together well? Is it unifying? Are they even in the same category?
The unifying theme in my game now, are the basics. The fundamental moves of the original jiu jitsu system. Cross collar first, armbar second, triangle third, omaplata fourth. In that order. A hierarchy of moves.
We do all these hip drills, so how can we not use them in our game? Engaging the hips, the technical get up, hip switch, etc. Other common themes I notice, blocking. Blocking a limb to get a sweep as opposed to pulling on a limb to get a sweep. Also arching your back and making your chest proud to eliminate space as opposed to trying to stick to your opponent like glue. Also pinching your knees against their hips, from mount or guard and engaging your hips when they try to tip you over.
Also the idea that, if you have a shit collar choke, you have a shit game. You can go from choke to armbar but you can't go from armbar to choke. Hence the hierarchy of moves. All moves were not created equal. People needed to create new moves and set ups once they forgot the details that made a move work. Like pulling the arm across the center line for an armbar by swinging your legs. Or if you can't break the center line, putting your foot on their hip and engaging the hips before the armbar.
I just re-watched Choke, the Rickson Gracie documentary for the first time in years. Probably my first time since I've been a purple. This time around I saw things I had never noticed before. From how he bridges Helio over from being mounted, to how he takes the Japanese wrestler's back from a front headlock, to how he passes the blind dude's guard, and how he eventually mounts.
He doesn't do anything quickly, he doesn't explode into anything. He is just very balanced, patient, no wasted movement, and once he gets something he keeps it. When I first saw it I was like, man his jiu jitsu is ugly. But now I realize, good jiu jitsu, real jiu jitsu is supposed to be ugly. It's supposed to be ugly, slow, methodical, smashing, basic, and highly effective. No rolling omaplatas, no diving for leg locks. Nothing fancy. Like in boxing, a good jab throughout a whole fight may be ugly to watch but its effective.
I don't want to be explosive, I don't want to be strong, I just want to have a slow ugly jiu jitsu game.
The way I squeeze all the moves that are based around my armpit are exactly the same. The way I do all my extension moves whether it's a...
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