6.12.11

BJJ / Grappling Tips: Tight Game Comes to Those Who Use Their Head

and knees...and hips...and shoulders...you get my drift.

When we are shown a technique in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, grappling, sculpture, movie directing or any art, we are shown a demonstration of principles. The same principles of that art can, naturally, be demonstrated differently but just as validly. In the words of one of my favourite authors and lifestyle designers Mr Tim Ferris, what you do is far more important that how you do it.

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, we need to maintain position, block out our opponent's attempts to escape or counter, gradually gain more control all while we slowly work towards a submission. How we do all this is not fixed in stone and will vary and depend on relative size, positioning, orientation of bodies and personal preference and style amongst other factors. Part of the beauty of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is that the same objective can be achieved in different methods by different people.

For example, you can block guard recovery from side control by keeping your (right) knee tight to your opponent's (right) hip, or using your (right) forearm, or even your (right) hip. These all do the same job, but they lead to different outcomes. For instance, if you are using your right arm, you have more mobility as both knees are free but you can't really use that arm to attack (at least not unless you relieve it from its duty) and so on.

The more body parts we involve and get good at using in BJJ, the more tools we have in our grappling tool box. Using the head is, in my opinion, something people don't start off doing before they've been training BJJ for a couple of years and singling out parts of the head (like the forehead, the chin...etc.) comes on later still. In this video of American BJJ and grappling coach extraordinaire Mr Lloyd Irvine shows a beautiful demonstration of using the head and the elbow to stay tight in transitions, gain leverage and maintain high pressure from the side control with continuous submission attacks in his "Kimura Mouse Trap":



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Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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2 comments:

Li said...

Nice blog. Learning to use my head as a fifth limb has only been a recent thing. I was too busy rying to look at what I was doing. Not helpful when trying to stay tight!

The Part Time Grappler said...

Thank you very much Li for the kind words. Yeah using the head is definitely not something that comes naturally as we are often taught to protect it in everyday life.

As for seeing what you're doing I know exactly what you mean! I used to look at what I'm doing, look at my opponent, look at my hands, look back at them starting to defend, look at my hands, look at them escape and counter then finally look at my hand tapping :o)

tight is right! (that sounds wrong)