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  1. #1
    OFFICIAL Mayor of Cwcville supporting member
    Boyd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Electricity, Speed

    Obvious Epiphanies

    One of the greatest understandings of my admittedly short, sheltered life is the knowledge that the gulf between knowing something superficially, trivially, and understanding it as a fact is much wider than we initially assume. Sure, it's easy to regurgitate dogma we know to be true, but to understand the precise reasons why, to apply them in daily living and make them something more significant than a trite truism is a whole other beast.

    For example, in BJJ we chant "position before submission" as our mantra. We tell it to every white belt, scream it at the top of our hoarse lungs to every catch wrestler. But when was the first time you realized that, Jesus, having a strong position really DOES help your submissions?

    Black belts love to harp on the idea that fundamentals are the essence of good jiu-jitsu. Few will openly admit to a reliance on fancy, elaborate moves, unless they're trying to sell you something. But when did you realize that, indeed, inverted spider guard really IS kind of retarded when you can just armbar a guy?

    Lately I've been going back and reviewing things like this, that I've taken for granted over the years, truisms I've turned into inapplicable cliches. I'd like to share a couple of mine that have really helped out my game, and would love to hear some of yours.

    --Break posture in the guard.

    This wasn't explicitly taught at my school for a while. For my first couple years I had a sort of vague notion that it was important--almost all our attacks from the guard contained some degree of breaking an opponent's balance, introducing entropy, but I never integrated it as part of my game until a while back. Amusingly enough, Eddie Bravo's books have been extremely helpful in this regard, stressing the necessity of attacking posture before anything else.

    --Break grips before passing the guard.

    As a white belt, one of the things I found most intimidating was the open guard. It just seemed overwhelming, a constantly-shifting sea of grips, hooks, pushing, pulling, hip switching, arm dragging. "I'll never learn enough guard passes to deal with all this ****!" I thought. Over time I came to realize I wouldn't have to, that all I needed to do was defeat the individual limbs using simple techniques. Break the grip he holds over your sleeve. Kick your ankle out if he's grabbing it. Throw your hips forward. It seems obvious, which like I said, is the theme of this thread, but I've often surprised myself with how often I catch myself dicking around in someone's guard when all I need to launch my offense is break a single grip.

    --Keep your opponent off-balanced from within the open guard.

    On the flipside, it's not necessary to memorize a million different stimulus/response patterns to have an aggressive open guard, either. Even if you don't know a lot of sweeps, you can still force your opponent on the defensive by constantly attacking various balance points. Kick the leg away, use push/pull combinations with your butterfly hook, yank down on the collar, pull the sleeve across the chest, move the hips. Have a basic understanding of your options, but don't feel consigned to compulsively memorize every sweep for every scenario.

    --Use the bump and roll in conjunction with shrimping to assist your escapes.

    This is a big one. I've been scoring a lot of turnovers lately by explosively shrimping away from side mount and immediately bridging when my opponent tries walking around to north/south. Even though the 101 upa is a bit harder to get from mount, it still contains a lot of potential for re-guarding; even the slightest elevation of your opponent's ankle can be enough of an opening to put you back in half guard.

    That's all for now, but I'd like to hear some similarily neglected fundamental precepts you guys have rediscovered.
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  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    As I was approaching my purple belt, I started having this experience I couldn't articulate. It seemed so unique.

    I had started putting moves together in new ways and changing how I thought about momentum. I felt like I'd struck on something really special. Moves were "just happening" on their own and I'd see how two previously separate moves fit together.

    I tried describing it to a brown belt. He went "Oh, you're just using combinations."

    Like everyone has always said to do a billion times.

    Still, it didn't really mean anything until my body made it natural and automatic.
    Last edited by Aesopian; 11/14/2007 8:30pm at .

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Oh, and shaking the baby. Shaking grips to off balance them, shaking to get under their chin for chokes, shaking to break their defense to armlocks and kimuras, shaking my hips to get rid of hooks, shaking my shoulders to adjust.

  4. #4
    NSLightsOut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    As far as the "Why the %&$# didn't I see that before epiphanies" go that haven't already been mentioned:

    1)The use of the foot when passing.

    Knee through had pretty much been the meat and potatoes of my passing for years. However, when one of my training partners started using a stack pass where he'd crouch with his weight sitting on his opponent's ass, and dragging the feet to the side, the ease with which he did it suggested there was something to it.

    When I tried it out for myself, it seemed as good as using the head as an anchor point. A good 2-on-1 foot pull applied with decent timing can ruin an opponents guard. Ever since then, it has become far and away my favourite mode of passing. Even from well outside the guard, where the foot goes, the body does follow

    2) Changing Pressures

    This is probably one of the most influential epiphanies of my game. We are, as BJJers, always told to keep improving our position. We are, however, never told to, Helio forbid, sacrifice, say, a precarious side control so we can back out around/over the opponent's guard (made ineffectual by effective leg/foot control), and go over to the other side for a much more secure side control and/or opportunistic straight armlock. Or back out of halfguard to disengage a lockdown (all lockdown players know the hilarity of watching someone try to crash straight through their half guard repeatedly, and wondering why it doesn't work).

    A somewhat fluid and situational positional hierarchy served to really alter my way of thinking, in that regard. Whilst I would never change the "thus spake Helio...this is mine positional hierarchy, all others are heresy!" manner of teaching of the positional hierarchy, as I gain more experience, it seems more like a guideline than an ironclad rule

  5. #5
    namaste's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Perth, WA
    BJJ, Judo
    Please feel free to laugh at my noobness, I'm only a white belt (or a no belt) so its OK for me to suck.

    1) Downward pressure when sprawling

    I have an average sprawl going in terms of keeping my legs away and my hips forward, but I always went for the double underhooks and never capitalised on it, and my opponent would just keep pushing through and eventually take me down. Then I realised I could keep the pressure on the shoulders and head/neck to push them to the ground. Duh.

    2) Push head away when going to armbar from mount

    People kept turning in and grabbing the trapped arm when I would let go of mount for the armbar. So I pushed away the head so they couldnt turn towards me and it really helped me lock in the armbar.

  6. #6
    Still digging on James Brown

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Lund, Sweden
    BJJ & Judo (1k)
    - Putting weight on the opponent

    I can't make myself heavier than I really am. I only have so much mass. What I can do is make sure that as much as possible of it is placed on the opponent. In side control, any weight I put on my elbows, knees hands and feet means less weight placed on my opponent. So I try to keep as as many of those limbs as possible slightly off the mat as that will mean more weight on the opponent.

    Obvious enough for you?

  7. #7
    Hedgehogey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    -In order to take them down or sweep them, get your hips underneath theirs
    I don't know why I didn't realize this one earlier. I've been doing this four years. There were big honking blaring signs pointing to it. And yet I wasted my time with obscure judo throws and memorizing sweeps for every single possible angle of pressure and limb configuration.

    There's only two really effective ways to take someone down:

    1: Get your hips underneath theirs
    2: Snap their upper body down and take advantage of that structure

    and two ways to sweep them:

    1: Get under his hips
    2: Use your hips to control his shoulders or head

    "The only important elements in any society
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  8. #8
    HonkyTonkMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Black Belt City, Mississippi
    TKD, BJJ
    --Position before submission.

    I had heard it a thousand times, but it never really sunk in until I rolled with a purple belt. Everytime I would grab a limb and hang on he would roll out of it. He stopped rolling and broke it down for me.
    Now I always get some sort of posiiton before I attempt submissions and my tap out versus being tapped out ratio has gone up.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    NW Arkansas
    boxing/muy thai

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    my latest epiphany is that few techniques work by themselves, always have a followup technique. just using combinations is general, whether it's the takedown, sweep, submission, etc etc. i wish i could write more but i've gotta take an exam.

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