The Jiu Jitsu Times Weekly Challenge: See without Seeing


As we train jiu jitsu, we learn to use our entire bodies as weapons.  At times I’ve caught an opponent’s hand in the crook of my knee or in my armpit using that to immobilize the hand so that I have a greater advantage.  We learn to feel opportunities as they arise.

This week’s Jiu Jitsu Times Weekly Challenge is intended to help you get better sensing these sorts of opportunities: for at least two rolls per training session, close your eyes.

The ability to feel where another person’s body parts are without seeing where they are will make any competitor or combatant far more dangerous.  It will mean that your ability to mount attacks will inherently be faster because you will be able to feel where your target is before needing to see it.

It will also make escaping tight positions a bit easier.  Knowing precisely where you need to put your foot or hand in order to escape a bad position will make executing those escapes easier.  Also, you will be able to feel submissions as they are being set up.  You may be surprised at how much you rely on sight when rolling, or you may find that you don’t rely upon sight at all, which is a good thing.

Jiu Jitsu is such a tactile art that if we gain the ability to feel before we see, we will be granted faster (and better) reactions.  More importantly, if you close your eyes, a seemingly uncomfortable position may become less uncomfortable.   This is to say if you are caught in someone’s side control, your discomfort may actually open you up to submissions.  However, if you are able to remain calm your chances of finding a way out increase.  The ability to close your eyes during a match may be the difference between a scary situation in which you spazz, and one in which you can remain calm.  It may sound silly, but trust me it can sometimes actually work.

There are some obvious moments where one should NOT practice this method.  Specifically if you are training in a packed room, keep your eyes open to prevent getting whacked in the face with an errant arm or leg.  Similarly if you are training with a spazzy training partner, keep your eyes open so that you don’t let them hurt you.  Otherwise, try this method out and see if you like it.  It’s not uncommon for sight to be a factor that martial arts instructors remove to heighten other senses and improve reactions/reflexes, this can be a decent method in BJJ as well.

As always, let us know what you think of this week’s challenge!  Have you used this method before?  If yes with what results?  If you try this out let us know how it works for you!  Enjoy!

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Emil Fischer is an active purple belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training at Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Training Center near Cleveland Ohio ( For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at and Emil is sponsored by Meerkatsu (, discount code EmilKatsu) Pony Club Grappling Gear (, The Original Amy Joy Donuts ( mention Emil Fischer when visiting), Valor Fightwear ( discount code COOKIES), Cleveland Cryo ( discount code EmilCryo,) Code Chiro, CannaBody ( discount code EmilCanna) Impact Mouthguards ( discount code EMILIMPACT), North South Jiu Jitsu Underwear, Hydrus ( discount code COOKIES) as well as a brand ambassador for Ludwig Van ( discount code FAMILY).

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