Jiu-Jitsu: Intention Is One Of The Most Powerful Elements That We Must Embrace

One aspect of Jiu Jitsu and specifically combat/tournament applicable Jiu Jitsu is intention. By intention I mean that when I do any move, I fully intend on seeing that move through to its outcome. When I go for a sweep I intend on that sweep working, I am not planning its failure. If it does fail, I have my other options lined up, but in any move that is intended as a setup and nothing more lies inherent failure. Intention is one of the most powerful (and sometimes dangerous) elements that we must embrace.

I started thinking about intention when I first learned about what has been labeled the “Brazilian tap.” This is a derogatory phrase I’ve heard used to describe when someone taps out of sight of the referee in order for the other person to stop, and then denies having tapped so that the referee goes ahead and lets the match continue. This is a dirty move but I am sure that it has changed potential outcomes of matches. The “Brazilian Tap” is the reason that some competitors force their opponents to verbally tap or force the referee to actually end the match instead of the opponent. The only GOOD way to address the “Brazilian Tap” is to fully intend to break your opponent or render them unconscious, which is not very nice but is far more effective.

My policy during competition matches is that if the other person has been sportsmanlike I do not put my full weight behind my submissions, but rather I hold the submission until the referee acknowledges it. This is not easy as when I train I try to let go at the very first sign of discomfort from my training partners as to not injure them.

I’ve found that the best way to train “intent” is to slow submissions down during training and find your training partner’s “breaking point”. I don’t mean the point at which they are injured I mean actually figure out at what point the person accepts that they have been submitted and tap out. This way, during tournament you know at what point to begin expecting the tap. Also, sometimes push yourself to your own “breaking point” but make sure your training partners know so that they slow the submission down enough for you to tap before getting hurt.

Intent in its highest form can be seen in high level matches where world titles are on the line. For example,Jacare Souza vs. Roger Gracie in which Jacare refused to tap allowing Roger to break his arm thus allowing Jacare to win the match. Jacare’s intention was unyielding, and that intention was to win the match at all cost. Very often we see high level matches end in serious injury because both competitors have a certain vicious intention and will not let go until the referee stops them.

Learn to do your moves with intent. Do your best to refrain from injuring people you train with but remember that in competition, until your hand is raised your goal should be to make the referee raise your hand, and intention will help you get there. Be careful with it as it can be troublesome and dangerous, but remember intent is one of the most valuable tools we can pick up training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.


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. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at www.facebook.com/emilfischerbjj and www.twitter.com/Emil_Fischer





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