BJJ Concepts: Fundamentals = The Least You Can Do

You'll see a lot of people going on about "concept" vs "technique" and nowadays you can get fantastic sets of DVDs that will show you both. In HD!

The way I see the two:

Concepts are the first thing you need to concern yourself with in any position. They are the make it or break it detail. They say you can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs. Bingo! That's your concept.

Techniques are means to an end. They are sets of steps that lead to a destination or outcome. Usually that end is a new concept or at least an extension or a variation on a previous one. A basic egg cracking one is when you use both hands and a flashy advanced one is when you do it single handedly. Any one else getting hungry?

Here is my list of concepts for the most common situations in a roll.

Mount Bottom:
Keep your elbows glued to your ribs (unless strikes are allowed)

Half guard Bottom:
Prevent the cross-face

Side Control Bottom:

Turtle Bottom:

Turtle Top:
Let them carry your weight

Inside Closed Guard:
Keep them flat on their back and in front of you

Inside Open Guard:
Keep your elbow(s) connected to your thigh(s) to block their hooks

Half Guard Top:
Get them flat on their back

Side Control Top:
Make them carry your weight

Mount Top:
Remove obstacles and climb your knee(s)

Closed Guard:
Get your body off-centre

Open Guard:
Entangle their leg(s)

This, of course, is not all you need to do, but you'll struggle to do anything productive if you violate these. There is a variety of ways to achieve these concepts. Those are techniques. You can spend a lot of money and time learning techniques but chances are they won't work* unless you observe the concepts first.

Furthermore, if you run into a situation where your techniques aren't working or they are taking a whole lot of energy/strength/speed to do so, check your underlying concepts.

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*You can violate a concept intentionally, setting a trap. This, of course, is not advised early on but you will see the advanced players do it now and again.


graham cooke said...

Excellent post (redirected here by your good-self from your ask the right questions post).

I think I'm doing pretty much all of these, although I rarely if ever train turtle position, which is a poor showing on my part.

Excellent food for thought and I think I'm going to enjoy finding out my own answers to your questions on the other post.

The Part Time Grappler said...

Thank you very much Graham for the kind words again! When you start finding answers, don't forget to share them :)

Also, if you have specific position questions, send me an email and I will happily make a video and a post for you buddy. It'd be a learning experience for me to :)