Jiu-Jitsu Training tip: start in bad positions

Training tip: start in bad positions. Start in situations in which you are most uncomfortable and then deconstruct those situations.

When I first started training, my goal was to impose my will upon my training partners and ultimately to submit them. Maintaining and reaching for this goal will only get you so far because at the end of the day you don’t always get to choose where a match or a fight goes. What happens when the other person takes your back or mounts you? What happens when you are taken out of your comfort zone?

Many amazing instructors have found that situational or positional training is far more productive than simple two people desperately trying to get to their strongest position or situation. While it is important to engage in that struggle as well, learning to be comfortable and even dangerous in bad situations is what separates the wolves from the sheep.

Next time your roll, ask your training partner to assume a dominant position in which you are normally very uncomfortable. Stay in that situation for a while, explore your options. Try taking different grips. If they submit you, you learned what doesn’t work. If they improve their position, making your situation even worse, you learned something as well. Sometimes in that transition from a bad situation to a worse situation you can find a moment in which you can turn that bad situation into a good situation. Very often success and failure are found in the momentary transitions.

To truly and fundamentally improve your game, get to a point where a bad situation is much worse and much scarier for the other guy than it is for you. Make them have to work harder to keep the position than you have to work to escape it. Remember, sound fundamentals make for sound escapes. If you are able to load the other person onto your hips very often you can escape. If you can shrimp, you can escape.

Explore this concept. Do not hesitate to tap when your partner secures their submission, which they will eventually. Make sure the person you are training with understands that this is a thought experiment which requires some finesse from them, they should insistently hold the position, but be less concerned with the submission as that doesn’t allow you to fully delve into your possibilities.

Trying this exercise on a regular basis will improve your ability to address bad situations, but more importantly it will make you more comfortable in them. Part of what makes Jiu Jitsu so special is its unique form of stress inoculation, and like anything else in life, spending time in a bad situation can build character.

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Emil Fischer is an active black belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training at Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Training Center near Cleveland Ohio (www.strongstyle.com) and teaching at Ararat Martial Arts and FItness Center. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at www.facebook.com/emilfischerbjj www.twitter.com/Emil_Fischer and https://instagram.com/emilfischerbjj/. Emil is sponsored by Meerkatsu (www.Meerkatsu.com, discount code EmilKatsu), Eddy's On Coventry, North Coast Cryo (www.Northcoast-Cryo.com) NottaRookie, YM (www.cbdyoume.com discount code COOKIES), Defense Soap (www.defensesoap.com discount code COOKIES) Impact Mouthguards (www.impactmouthguards.com discount code EMILIMPACT), and North South Jiu Jitsu Underwear


  1. Truth. And ah 1 2 , 1 2 1 3. I be locking fools down under my side control, ***** don’t get up, you under my spell, this 20th planet game got you confused like Jenner. If you dig your elbows in mah thighs, I’m choking you sooner. I feel you tappin’ but I ain’t letting go, count 1 2 3, yo mommas knocking on mah door


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