Don’t Skip The Details!

EXIT BJJ / Flickr Creative Commons

I have observed a common theme in new students to jiu-jitsu; they all too often skip the details on techniques when they are in a hurry to get the submission or pass.

Let’s look at using a common guard pass as an example.

Watch Marcus Soares of the Carlson Gracie Team in Vancouver demonstrate a Spider Guard pass.

Note how Professor Soares controls the grips and posture carefully at EACH STEP of the pass. He does not get all excited and throw the legs aside and try to race around. A fast opponent who can move their hips will regain their guard in an instant.

Instead, Professor Soares uses his grips, foot work and posture at each stage to prevent the opponent from moving.

After demonstrating a guard pass to a fundamentals class and watching the students sparring, I will see many students get over excited. They forget all of the details and in their haste, just attempt to throw the guard player’s legs aside and race around to pass.

Instructor Roy Harris fondly calls this the “Speedy Gonzales Pass” after the cartoon character famous for his speed.

It may work once or twice on a surprised opponent, but fails to work against experienced blue and purple belts who know how to retain the guard and defend with hooks.

There is a reason why there are so many details! If you expect your guard pass, arm lock, or sweep to work against good opponents, then you MUST CONTROL the opponent at each step of the technique. Those details are the difference between your opponent easily escaping your technique and you preventing their escape.

I see the same phenomena with arm locks from the mount (just snatching at the arm and falling to their backs).

Don’t skip the details! Remember that there is a solid reason behind each step your instructor teaches.

Read also: Escapes: The Symptom vs The Cause


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