Training Tips: Multi-dimensional Dialogues in BJJ / Grappling

People liken BJJ / Grappling to a lot of things and, with my current dabble in Buddhism in mind, I see it mostly as a form of dialogue. A physical conversation. But mark this subtle difference: I said dialogue, not argument.

The way I see it, my partner and I are not arguing different or opposing points. We couldn't be. The sweep and the guard pass are not two sides of the same coin. They both uphold the same fundamental priciples. The are one and the same. To paraphrase the Matrix: There is no coin!

Too far fetched? Lend me a minute. Imagine you are on top of your partner in scarf hold. You're holding on quite tight and they sense that so they bridge and roll you. Now you are under the reverse of exactly the same position. Now imagine that you are rolling in a zero gravity environment. That you are rolling in outer space. Do you see where I'm going with this? Under these circumstances top and bottom are useless or at least irrelevant references.

Now try the guard. Someone is in you closed guard. You are floating in this dark non-gravitational outer space we were talking about. If I postulated that in fact you are not holding someone in your guard but rather under your mount, could you prove me wrong? Of course not. It’s all the same.

So where am I going with this and how is it Relevant to the theme of this blog? Well what defines Part Time Grapplers? The time we dedicate to this beautiful sport of ours is a fraction of what the full timers do but we are greedy and what comparable results.

Here is a tip that will double your practice efficiency: Think of fundamentals outside the traditional gravity-based box. In other words, every time you drill a technique, concept or fundamental from the closed guard, also work it or at least think how it would work from the mount and vice versa. This is not completely strange to our thinking as we often emphasise high mount and high guard. Just relax your mind and you will see tonnes of other applications to this principle and watch your efficiency soar.

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Meerkatsu said...

Nice existential thinking! I never thought of the guard as basically a horizontal version of the mount, but of course, with all the submission options - it all becomes clear to me now!

Oh, well done for adding comments onto your blog and making google reader post the full article, I like commenting every now and again, like dialogue, but strictly two-dimensional!!

The Part Time Grappler said...

Cheers Meerkatsu! Very kind words, especially from someone who's been writing for quite a while.

Slideyfoot recommended the comments and full feed thing and I'm grateful to him. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't have them on coz I DIDN'T KNOW HOW :) Not very technical. Ended up asking a friend who is also on blogger for advice.

The guard/mount thing is a good example because most players have started a sub from mount (e.g. triangle), got rolled and then maybe finished it from guard, but the applications are much more than that. Martin, one of our awesome brown belts loves using americanas from side control bottom, if not to submit, it still shifts the top players weight off you :)

Meerkatsu said...

Jeez yes my instructor only recently showed me americanas and kimuras in unexpected places, eg from bottom and during the scamble on knees and when someone attempts a guard pass. totally screws the opponent's mind!
Loving it!

Anonymous said...

Interesting read Liam, I always like to hear the opnions of other like minded individuals! Actually Eddie Bravo talks a lot about making the mount like an aggresive inverted high guard! But I must admit although I understand the concept for some reason my movement skills and techniques vary considerably from each position! This is my first time visiting your blog but I'll definitely check in regularly! have a great day and I look froward to visiting again soon!
Kind Regards

The Part Time Grappler said...

Exactly. I started writing this feeling there is one mirror position for each one, but I'm now leaning towards the feeling that there are only two positions, in-posture and out-of-posture. In-posture seems to be the same whether you're in mount or under it and out-of-posture likewise. The adjustments are very small. and thanks for all the kind words!