This Is Not Jiu-jitsu!

There is a great old saying: “When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

Interpreted, this means when one possesses a limited set of skills, they attempt to apply it to EVERY situation.

And this especially applies to jiu-jitsu!

Lacking sufficient technical knowledge or a more advanced strategy, the less-experienced BJJ student will attempt to use power and force to escape or overcome a defense.

Renzo Gracie black belt Shawn Willams (see article on his Williams guard) has a better rule of thumb in BJJ: “The right tool for the right situation.”

You may ask: what do you mean by “This is not jiu-jitsu!”?

I was attending a seminar by a 150-pound black belt who was demonstrating a Kimura from side control on a much heavier opponent. The opponent had gotten a solid grip on his belt to defend. The much smaller black belt instructor feigned using his muscles to try to break the grip of the stronger opponent.

“ARRRgghhhh!!!” he exaggerated, straining to break the strong grip. It was futile. He looked up at the seminar attendees and shook his head at his own demonstration.

“This is not jiu-jitsu!” he said.

To elaborate further on what he was trying to communicate, he was illustrating that in jiu-jitsu we do NOT directly oppose force with a stronger, larger opponent that has set their defense! If you are grunting with exertion while trying to complete a technique, you are either doing the technique wrong or using the wrong technique for the situation!

The way of jiu-jitsu is to find another way: to go around, to create another angle, or switch to a different technique or position.

Continuing the demonstration, he pointed out that the opponent was strongly defending the Kimura but had forgotten about protecting his neck. The instructor quickly switched his grip to attack the unprotected neck and the opponent was soon tapping to a collar choke.

It was an excellent demonstration of the key principles of jiu-jitsu: do not oppose your stronger opponent’s force with force.

That isn’t jiu-jitsu!

Read also: Don’t Skip The Details!


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