Trusting the Technique

Of all of the sayings in jiu jitsu, one has always stuck out in my mind: “Trust the technique.”

Just about every coach I’ve ever worked with said it or something like it.  What do they mean by “Trust the technique,” though?  

How is that helpful to me?  

How exactly is one supposed to trust a technique?  


Early on, even if you believe in jiu jitsu and its techniques, you will find yourself doubting or hesitating while executing techniques.  You will second guess how you are doing a technique and wonder what you are doing wrong. 

The more you drill each technique, the better you will get at it, though, and the better you get at doing your techniques the more you’ll be able to trust them.  But there will always be a certain jumping off point where you have to have faith in what you’re doing, and then that faith will be validated by results.


My coach always says that if you have to think about a technique while you are doing it, you will probably do it wrong or do the right things too late.  The practical purpose of drilling is to ingrain techniques into your muscle memory so that you’ll have them at your disposal when they’re needed.  

The biggest setback occurs when you start over thinking.  You can drill a technique a thousand times, but if you don’t believe it’s going to work and you hesitate, the technique will inevitably fail you.


I remember the moment I started trusting techniques.  I had just learned a specific setup for the arm bar from guard and it kind of just made sense to me.  I went for it while rolling with a purple belt and I felt the move start to cinch up.

But instead of hesitating like I had done many times before, I just kept going, getting the tap.  There was a certain fluidity to the movement that other moves just didn’t have for me, where I flowed from moment to moment, smoothly securing the position and getting the submission.  The big thing was that I didn’t hesitate at all.


As time progressed, I was able to trust more and more moves.  

A move can still fail you even if you trust it.  If you go for it at the wrong moment, or your opponent is savvy and able to defend it, moves you do may put you in a worse situation.

I think that to become really proficient with the moves, you first must become just a bit reckless, going for moves without really thinking about them.

But as you begin to truly trust the moves, you need to dial it in and think a bit more before moving. Watching people go from not really doing well on the mat to doing well on the mat, there seems to always be a period of recklessness.


The more you trust your moves the more you’ll be able to have fun with jiu jitsu, and the better you’ll get at it.  It’s an exponential process.  

Trusting your moves is easier said than done, but it is one of the most rewarding parts of training.   


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