BJJ / Grappling Balance: Holding the Position vs Flowing in BJJ

How do you balance working to maintain the position in BJJ vs. going with the flow of the grapple, or to echo legendary Rickson Gracie’s most famous words: “Flow with the Go!”

I was asked this question by a friend after a BJJ session a couple of weeks ago. To be fair, his question was more along the lines of: as a Part Time Grappler, what should I prioritize out of the above two? My reply at the time was based on my own opinion: you have to work both. Once again, it's all about balance.

As a grappler, you need to be able to both control and maintain position and to flow from BJJ geography to another. When on top of the mount, for example, you need to learn how to properly and efficiently maintain the mount (here are some tips on maintaining the mount) but also to know when to let go and transition to the back as they escape to half guard  (as demonstrated by Xande Ribeiro below) or even North South control with a choke (second video).

I was very glad when I relayed the question to John Will during the Q&A section after his BJJ seminar and he echoed my sentiment. I do believe, however, that the two, control and flow, need to be addressed separately and that there's a logical order to introduce them: Control first, then flow. The reason for this are many but put simply: when your body knows how to most efficiently control and maintain different positions, it will do what needs to be done to transition to these particular frames and postures.

A simple example: high and low mount are more stable than in-between mount. High Mount into the armpits is far from the motors (hips) and has lots of attacks and Low Mount is very stable (hooks and anchors) and heavy.

What this means is that when you transition from side control to mount you would do well in seeking to transition directly into low mount (shooting your hooks and spreading you base wide and low) or high mount (putting your knee high into their armpit straight from the knee-on-belly). Do this in every transition and you're nickname will soon become "From the frying pan into the fire"

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