BJJ: Attribute Free, Why Is This So Important? Part 2

In my recent article about why pure Jiu Jitsu is attribute free I touched on the notion that mastery of this sort of grappling is nearly impossible (if not impossible). It is however an ideal we must constantly strive for and the closer we get to accomplishing it the more perfect our Jiu Jitsu becomes. What makes attribute free grappling so difficult?

For starters: we want to WIN. When I roll and focus entirely on survival I am able to conserve most if not all of my energy while my training partner (or opponent in Sub Only) winds up a heavy breathing, heaving mess. I can roll like this indefinitely, simply laying and positioning myself in such a way that submitting me is far more difficult than if I were to be on the attack. If I abandon the notion of victory, and focus entirely on survival my chances are decent. The moment I decide that I want to win and try to overcome the other person is when I open up plenty of opportunities.

Wanting to win results in making efforts, and making efforts translates to expending energy which ultimately translates to poor technique. There are ways to do moves that require far less energy than others, and these moves are often superior, but Jiu Jitsu in its purest form is not a culmination of MOVES but rather a culmination of principles and concepts which make a person difficult (or in some cases impossible) to submit. As soon as we start trying to incorporate moves we begin to muddy the waters.

Bear in mind I am absolutely not discounting or discrediting the value of moves or the value of athletic grappling, but the idea of Jiu Jitsu is that any person in any condition with the correct set of techniques should be able to overcome an assailant. Put a time limit or a rule set on that, and suddenly that Jiu Jitsu becomes less pure as people need to accomplish specific things that are not necessarily beneficial to survival of a violent encounter. In other words if I’ve got to score in order to win a match, I’ll take risks and make efforts that I would absolutely never do if I had no time limits or points to worry about. Time limits and points are artificial constructs put in place to make Jiu Jitsu a sport-worthy art.

Ultimately, good Jiu Jitsu is neither dynamic nor entertaining, but it is super effective. I don’t really enjoy rolling using the methodology of good Jiu Jitsu as I don’t wind up in funky positions or situations that make the modern sport BJJ game so fun. On the other hand, we should always strive to utilize sound movements in order to continuously better that aspect of our grappling thus furthering the art of Jiu Jitsu in its purest form.



Emil Fischer is an active blue belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training with Strong Style Brasa and is sponsored by Pony Club Grappling Gear and Cruz Combat. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at and


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