Friday, February 17, 2012

The Steps to Staying Alive in BJJ

I am going to be reprinting some old classic entries from my previous blog called The Angry Grappler. It will chronicle the evolution in my understanding of martial arts.
22 February 2009 @ 08:21 pm

The nickname I normally go by in the academy is Shidoshi. If you guys ever saw "Bloodsport" you will know where the name came from.

So as a joke I call this one guy Shin00bi. Basically he's young in the game compared to me and always full of questions. So one day I was trying to help him with his jiu jitsu. He isn't the strongest guy around and is injury prone, hey sort of like me. Anyhow he said he felt he had great defense but he couldn't do anything with it. He is hard to submit but people still end up dominating him with control, position, and attacks.

Looking at his game, I said he doesn't have great defense as much as an ability to survive. Saolo says being able to survive is the most important thing to learn when you are a white belt. Shin00bi is a blue. So he got that lesson down.

I told him as a physically weaker player, you will typically always taking longer to get your game going because some guys will explode out of the gate.

So you need to do 3 things and in this order otherwise it won't work.


Survive means, do not let him submit you!!!! That is the most important thing, otherwise forget about the other 2 steps. This will keep you in the game, and whenever you are alive and you stay in the game you always have a chance. The longer you stay alive, the better your chances get. Time x Opportunities = Success

Defend doesn't mean not get submitted. That's how he was using it but I take defend to mean this. It's your ability to get back to a good or neutral position. To a position zero where you can reset. That may mean from survive the choke from mount and get to half guard. Or it could even simply mean from mount for example you just get to a position where you have your frame built. Your mount defense position. Then you are defending. Otherwise you are just surviving.

Reverse is after you get to your position zero, your go to position, whatever it may be. It's time to get back to guard, sweep him, flip him over, or submit him. It means to attack. I say reverse as in, it's now your chance to reverse your fortunes and make him survive.

Now you have to go in this order. Sometimes just cuz of Murphy's Law, you can skip a step and your opponent is really unlucky and you go straight from surviving to reversing. Or without even surviving, like he has a deep choke, you bump and roll him over then manage to get your head loose. But typically nine times out of ten against a good guy, you skip a step and that's what he wants and you get submitted.

All the BJJ attacks come off of you going with your instincts, trying to spaz, or just do something crazy to survive.

Also knowing this order and pattern takes all the guess work out, the nerves, the confusion. It's like your in a job, then do your job, in the order it's meant to get done. Don't get greedy and don't take short cuts and the proof will be in the results.

All concepts are like just variables in a math formula. We must take it and it's our job to multiply the effects.

Take a simple notion and multiply it, and now you are the spider building his spider web. Now you are the grappler building his game that is hard to escape!
About the Author:

Sam Y. is a Master Personal Trainer, Certified Nutritionist, Coach, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Corrective Enhancement Specialist, Yoga and Pilates instructor, and holds multiple certifications. He is also an avid Martial Artist, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA. He is also the author of the popular fitness blog All Out Effort as well as the popular martial arts blog Inner BJJ. You can find him in the Los Angeles area personal training his clients, or at home annoying his wife, or on Facebook at his personal fitness page.

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