Most of us start our learning jiu-jitsu by focusing on developing our sports specific jiu-jitsu muscles and conditioning and learning the basic techniques. Especially during the blue belt period of learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu, many students accumulate and drill vast numbers of sweeps, submissions and escapes. We could compare this phase to learning a language and building your vocabulary.
Some students develop a strong game based around their favorite positions and they thoroughly understand all of the aspects of their specialities. As we progress higher in our learning of jiu-jitsu we understand that getting really good is not a matter of accumulating more and more moves.
Or even learning “secret” moves to catch our opponents by surprise.
We begin to look at the principles of jiu-jitsu (see the article “Got Jiu?”) and applying to HOW we apply those techniques that we already know. read also on Gracie Barra : Got Jiu?
What do we mean by applying “principles”?
If we understand the WHY behind applying a technique, we may transfer that principle to ALL of our techniques, magnifying their effectiveness. Let’s look at an example: Escaping the headlock on the ground.
There are certain principles we apply to that specific technique
1) Use frames to prevent your opponent from applying their weight and pressure on top of you
2) Use a bridge to create some room to move your hips
3) Use a hip escape or shrimp to create space and a proper angle to allow us to trap the opponent with our legs
4) Place your limbs in a safe position to prevent submission attempts from even starting
5) Use the principle of action / reaction to setup the proper timing for your technique
Now these ideas are applicable to ALL escapes on the ground! Instead of learning 50 different escapes – our existing escapes are dramatically improved once we understand these fundamental principles of escape.
These 5 principles apply to escaping from ALL bad positions in jiu-jitsu!
The same goes for submissions, sweeps and takedowns. Ask your professor how you can apply principles to your existing techniques to bring them to a whole new level of effectiveness!
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam