|Gracie, Inosanto, Machado. Wow!|
Master Rickson Gracie shared some fantastic insights on the positional strategy of Jiu Jitsu during his seminar in Amsterdam. Most jiu jitsu practitioners are familiar with the famous "Flow with the Go"*
As promised in my earlier post, I will share many of these thoughts from the Gracie Master. One that really stuck with me was his focus on positional control. Here are two Rickson Gracie quotes and his interpretation of them:
Positional strategy guidline number 1:
"When you are on the ground, only one of you two can be comfortable at any one time. Either you are comfortable or the opponent is. Your job is to transfer the comfortable from him to you in every position"
We often talk about being safe in BJJ, grappling and MMA. Saulo Ribeiro talks about it in his amazing Jiu Jitsu University book(1). In fact, he devotes his first chapter (the white belt) to sharing the principles of finding grappling positions where you are safe on the bottom before you can contemplate escaping. But Safe and Comfortable are two different things. I can be safe on top of my opponent (or even under them) in a fight or match but not necessarily comfortable. I can hug the living daylight out of you in side control (top or bottom) and prevent your attacks / escapes but I couldn't call it comfortable!
Safety means you're inhibiting your opponent's attacks / escapes while comfortable takes it to the next level where you are in fact facilitating your own attacks / escapes. Subtle difference that leads to a huge outcome. I guess that's why you go and attend a Rickson Gracie Seminar!
Positional strategy guideline number 2:
"If you do not do all the details that make the position comfortable, you might still have the (mounted) position but it will be a poor position. If you focus on these details then you will make it a "rich" position"
I love languages. I love how a concept or an idea can be expressed and encapsulated in a word. However, I also know that the same concept can be expressed slightly differently by a different individual to and jiu jitsu / grappling / Mixed Martial Arts are not exempt.
Throughout my whole martial arts career, the opposite of "poor" technique has always been "good" technique, but that, in my opinion, is a loose concept**. Good for what? How is this good measured? Good for whom?
"You will make it a "rich" position" made perfect sense because in jiu jitsu and grappling, a position's worth is often measurable:
1. I can conserve energy better
2. I can launch attacks with more ease
3. I can defend with more ease
4. I can transition to a wider spectrum of positions more easily
5. I can transition to a wider spectrum of attacks more easily
6. All my transitions from here are suddenly tighter and more precise
Here's my advice: for every position (mount, side, half guard, guard, back, standing...etc.) and transition (sweep, escape, back take, reversal...etc.) in grappling, aim to make it more comfortable and richer. Don't look for more positions and transitions. Instead, devote time, money and effort to learning more details about each.
"how do I know if I'm learning / implementing the right details?"
Easy: the details make your jiu jitsu feel more comfortable and richer.
*it is widely accepted that this was a simple slip of the tongue from the young Rickson Gracie which happened to get captured on film in "Choke".
**of course you could say the same about "rich" but I felt he opened my eyes when he said that
ZHOO ZHITSU IS FOR EVERYONE!
Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi
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