Do you use your strengths to improve upon your weaknesses?

As I improve my jiu-jitsu, I try to find ways to strengthen my game.  One methodology I’ve been playing with lately is learning to use my strengths to improve my weaknesses, thus turning my weaknesses into strengths.

I’ve heard a lot of fantastic arguments for why people should focus mostly on their weaknesses when training, but it is also important to build upon your strengths and occasionally learn to use those strengths to bolster your weaknesses.

One of my favorite training methods is to put myself in bad positions and then figure my way out.  I do this with training partners from white to black belt.  I do this with skilled and unskilled, athletic and unathletic training partners.  This is crucial to my development as a jiu-jitsu practitioner.

It is, however, equally important for me to work on the skill sets that I have already sharpened and continue to build on those skills in order to develop new tactics, methods, and techniques.

One example of how I have been working on this training concept is the development of my guard passing methodology as a way to bolster my existing and effective guard play.  I aggressively try to pass my training partner’s guard, but if he is able to sweep me, I immediately go into guard-player mode and try to submit him quickly.  I use his transition to enter an area where I tend to be more effective.

In doing this, I have been able to improve upon my existing transitions.  I focus on the area in which I am less effective and as soon as I fail there, I go back to where I am effective.  It is however imperative that I give the areas where I am weaker my best effort.  In the above example, if I simply allow my training partner to sweep me, her chance of establishing a dominant position is much higher than if I were actively trying to pass and got swept in the process.  Actively work on your weak areas, but learn to fall back on your stronger areas when needed.

Of course this method should not be employed at all times.  It is important to sometimes focus entirely upon your strengths or entirely upon your weaknesses.  But this is one notion that I’m finding to be very important to explore when rolling.

Do you spend time learning to mesh your strengths with your weaknesses to create a more complete and well-rounded game?  If not, why not?


  1. Rubbish, as usual.

    Quick question, though. Is it true that you’ve been run out of every gym in Cleveland for being an asshole and injuring your partners? Also, I’ve heard that you are widely regarded as one of the biggest sandbaggers in the area, competing for over 3 years as a whitebelt until they forced you to stop, and now for several years at blue. Is this just to help you collect medals (arguably without meaning, since you sandbag) and sponsorships (more valuable, no doubt), or does your ego need that sort of boost, as well?

    Just curious, thanks.


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