Jiu Jitsu Back to Basics: Keep it Simple, Keep it Clean

Where has this year gone? I mean really truly, where has it gone? We are at the end folks; or I’d really rather say THE BEGINNING! Things are gearing up, tournaments galore! There is not a moment to waste, not a minute to dally. Get on those mats, regardless of whether your plan is to take Worlds at Long Beach by storm ( yes, I have my hand raised nudge! nudge! wink! wink!) or make a more solid commitment to yourself regarding your training, NOW is the time. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is yet to come. Focus on the present, the here and now.

That having been said I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the craziness of the year’s training gone by! Rubber guard, worm guard, tornado guard, De la Riva, Inverted triangle, Flying Triangle, monkey guard? (no, I made that up, just checking to see if you’re paying attention)… It’s fun to learn flashy, pretty, amazing and sic looking moves that make everyone go “AAAAHHHHH” & “BOOOOAAAAAAHHHHH!!!” Learning more difficult techniques can provide a sense of accomplishment, mental and physical challenges, and some fun; it also provides distraction and change from the repetition of practicing the same moves day in and day out. But, too many distractions, too much fun takes away from the needed consistency and focus required to really learn techniques properly.

Hey hey, I’m not preaching to the choir! I’m just thinking and writing and maybe suggesting (in a not so subliminal way) that the basics, the basics, people, are where you should be looking when thinking of improving your game. No one fears the guy who doesn’t have the basics down pat. Why? Because the basics are high probability. There is a reason your Professor has a curriculum and that curriculum is taught in a particular manner. There’s a reason there is a beginner and advanced class, and there is a reason your Professor has you train the same technique over and over. Muscle memory works together with your brain. Neurons fire, synapses connect & voila, you’re performing without “thinking about it.” For example, would you be concerned about rolling or competing against this person: “I can do a flying triangle,” “oh yeah?” “yep!” “So hey dude, can you explain how we did that arm bar two weeks ago?” “What?! No, but I can hit a flying triangle!” Now I may be exaggerating here, but you get my point. Focusing on low percentage moves while ignoring the basics not only hurts your game, it may also cost you respect from your peers; and may send the message that you don’t have respect for them or their time. If you aren’t able to defend your back or pass the guard, should you really be working on the Berimbolo or Ninja roll? Should you really be asking your Professor about going inverted if you can’t maintain mount? Now everything has a time and place. There’s nothing wrong with curiosity and wanting to learn more or seeing someone utilize a move or technique that interests you and you’d like to know something about it… your skill level,ability, Professor and training dictate what’s appropriate and when. Enthusiasm is awesome! Hunger is great! Calling out higher belts because you think you have a move you learned off you-tube & it’s way above your current understanding… Not cool and you will get beat, repeatedly, for such foolishness. The basics are your building blocks and are high percentage techniques. Have patience, your turn is coming to learn the more advanced moves. And if you watch, you’ll see that the higher levels don’t ditch the basics. Arm bars, triangles, and cross chokes (although variations of) are present at tournaments and on those DVDs going around. Trust in your Professor and teammates. Follow the curriculum and have faith that if you train smart you’ll be a successful jiu-jitsu practitioner.


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