Positions: How Do You Get There?

I recall when I first starting learning jiu-jitsu that I was in love with the submissions. Weren’t we all? I was really fixated on learning just how many different ways I could choke, lock, crank, and twist the opponent’s body to achieve the tap.

My instructor said to me, “Don’t be in a hurry! Learn to control your opponent and then you can submit any time!”

Later when I became an instructor myself, I passed along that wisdom and added the question: how do you get there?

Sure you know the rear naked choke once you have secured your seat belt grip, but how do you get to the opponent’s back is the more important question.

One guy discussing the jiu-jitsu of the great Marcelo Garcia explained astutely, “Marcelo has a relatively simple game. He uses only a handful of submissions, but he has 1000 routes to get there.” Great observation!

Now think about your own game. Let’s say that you love to attack the back. Now how do you arrive in that position?

How do you take the back from each of the major ground positions in BJJ? This specific subject is really important for intermediate to advanced jiu-jitsu players.

One of the ways that I studied “how to get there” for the rear mount was to study MMA fights. Any fight that ended in a rear naked choke — the #1 successful submission in the UFC — I would review the video back to the point where the rear mount position was achieved.

What was the succession of events that lead to the back take? Was it a mistake by one of the fighters? Was it a result of strikes? What position immediately proceeded the back take?

I observed certain patterns that lead to back takes and took those findings to the mat and recreated them.

In your own jiu-jitsu game, look at your best positions and analyze the routes that you use to commonly get there.


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