How To Tell If That Video Is A Bullsh*t Technique

Every second week or so, a BJJ student will come to to the gym all excited holding their phone.
“Did you see this?!?!” they will gush and show me an Instagram or Facebook video of a jiu-jitsu technique.
No, it isn’t a new detail on how to perform the knee-cut pass or an interesting variation on the bow and arrow choke.
It will invariably be a super complicated submission or sweep that involves one (or all) of the following:
– Multiple forward or backward rolls
– Passing the opponent’s or your own lapel multiple times
– Moving large distances in the transition and changing grips
“What do you think of this move?!” they ask enthusiastically.
Depending on the level of absurdity involved in the move, I may say, “Meh, I think the move is low-percentage.” In particularly outrageous cases, I’ll say bluntly, “I think that it’s BJJ bullsh*t!”
Most often the student shrugs their shoulders in resignation “Ya I guess so.”
But sometimes they will ask why I think the Double Reverse Worm Guard Berimbolo to Rolling Inverted One-Arm Ninja Choke is not going to be the technique that is going to take their submission game to the next level. The move is sick, dude!
Why won’t it work? I’ll start by having them the video again. Notice the “uke” or person receiving the technique. Are they lying completely prostrate and limp on the mat while the person demonstrating the technique is passing the lapel with zero resistance? Are the uke’s hands open and waving lazily in the air, not grabbing anything while the demonstrator makes their complicated transition completely unimpeded? Do they seem frozen, mesmerized by the display of jiu-jitsu excellence?
Is the uke blindly extending their arms like an early Christmas gift or allowing the choke to be sunk offering zero resistance with their arms lying uselessly at their sides? Is uke laying there in an Ambien-like stupor, passively observing as you make complete changes in grip and transitions and make big movements to the next step in the complicated technique?
Does that happen with your training partners when YOU roll? My training partners are not nearly as accommodating. Even less experienced students will ball up defensively and clutch their limbs tightly against their body and fully resist whatever you are trying to do.
Lastly, I ask if they have ever seen this move applied successfully in high-level competition against a skilled and fully resisting opponent. I’ll wager the answer is “No.” The successful submissions that work at the black belt level are no secret: rear naked chokes, heel hooks, triangles, guillotines, and other “fundamental” submissions are far more common.
Yes, I realize that part of the fun of jiu-jitsu is the creative element. Is it ok for BJJ students to try these crazy, fancy moves with their training partners? Sure, have fun on the mats with your friends. But don’t mistake a fun, flashy Instagram technique video for the higher percentage stuff that your instructor is showing in class.


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