BJJ Tips: Make The Best Out of Your Mat Time

To me, the beauty of BJJ / Grappling is it's reliance on action - reaction principles rather than strength, speed or any other attributes* and the drills Martin had us do were perfect for this purpose. We worked standing guard passes where we were, eventually, alternating between pushing the knees together and to one side and spreading them a part to pass over. We covered other options (barrel-&-pike variation of toreada) but these two will serve to illustrate my point.
If you push someone's knees together, they’re going to try to spread them again, giving you a better chance to pass over the leg and vice versa if you spread the knees apart and they resist, pinning them to one side becomes a little easier. If they just completely stiff up you walk around the guard in the above mentioned toreada pass.

But rather than using this lesson as an opportunity to work on seamless transitions between these techniques, a lot of beginners, and some not-so-beginners, waste valuable energy and time forcing the pass.

Listen, if you manage to pass someone’s guard with one technique (of which they are aware by the way!) then you are either too good for them, they let you or you are being a plonker! Usually it’s a combination.

The person on the bottom is only resisting enough to make the exercise functional so respect that and work on reacting to the energy they are feeding you. That’s what’s amazing about BJJ / Grappling. That’s a big part of the honesty that comes from the feedback.

If you stick at BJJ / Grappling for longer than a couple of months, you will inevitably run into people on whom single techniques won’t work. Sometimes 2-3 technique chains won’t work. But rather than learn a 4th and a 5th one, focusing on making the transitions between these smoother is where the pot of gold is.

He will know what you are trying to do and he will know that he is to blame because he is giving you what you need to make the technique work. Come on! That’s just awesome! But hey, if you’d rather pec dec your white belt partner’s knees together with your massive muscles and push them to the ground and force your pass then carry on carrying on! What do I know!

*Some may classify sensitivity/balance as attributes. I like them. I’m only referring here to attributes that you may lose easily with age such as strength, speed and flexibility.

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