BJJ / Grappling tips: Jiu-jitsu works, always!

Positional sparring is a fantastic way to sharpen your execution of a technique. Way more important than Free Rolling and that's not just my opinion. It's the opinion of practically every single world champ or Gracie family member I have ever interviewed.

For those not familiar with the term positional sparring: The instructor introduces three triangle fundamental escapes (for instance) then you drilled them in isolation (against progressive resistance) and then you roll, but every roll started from inside your partner's triangle set-up position. This is an excellent way to learn fast and learn well!

One quick look around the mat and you could see people escaping but you could also see a lot of people actually getting the triangle. Higher belts on lower and also lower belts tapping higher one. To me, that confirms my theory that purity technical skill per se is an inaccurate measurement and that what separates people was simply a heightened sense of awareness. I'll tell you what I mean.

When a white belt taps a blue or even purple belt with a triangle in the above described isolation drill, it's not because the lower belt has higher technical skill, but because BJJ works! We wouldn't love it so much if it didn't, would we?

The reason the higher belt couldn't get out was of course not lack of know-how, but because he was that far* into the submission that it just worked. For the sake of the drill, he or she had to suspend their higher level of awareness, which they fine-tuned over the years, and just started from a clearly disadvantageous position.

One day, they will develop an even more refined such sense and manage to climb out of even a 9-tenths shut triangle. But that's only because jiu-jitsu works. Always!


*”BJJ is a game of inches”, I’ve heard someone quote John Danaher say. If the starting position is an inch tighter or an inch looser, the outcome may well have been different but only if the two players involved have the awareness and presence of mind to take advantage of it.



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