Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is perhaps one of the most complex martial arts one could ever learn. There are hundreds, thousands of techniques waiting to be discovered, and with these techniques come variations that could completely transform them. In fact, even the highest ranked BJJ Black Belts admit that there are techniques that they have yet to master.
Concepts vs. Techniques
The argument of learning concepts versus techniques is a widely debated subject amongst many practitioners. Some BJJ Black Belts feel that learning several concepts provides a solid framework for the rest of your BJJ journey. Others believe that learning technique by technique is the way to go, as they have learned from their professors and their professors before them.
Discovering your own path
Whether you choose to learn by memorizing techniques, through concepts or both, it is a choice that you will eventually make as you progress in BJJ.
Curious about which concepts you must absolutely know for BJJ? Here’s Evolve Daily’s 6 Basic BJJ Concepts Every Martial Artist Should Know:
Probably one of the biggest pet peeves of every BJJ instructor is the lack of attention many students give to improving their posture for BJJ. Little do students realize that having poor posture will give your opponent the upper hand to sweep you or catch you in a submission.
Tip: Round your shoulders forward and look straight ahead. Keep your spine neutral. By putting your body in this position, it will be easier for you to pass the guard and avoid submissions.
Angles are found everywhere in BJJ. From throws to sweeps to guard passing, the proper measurements must always be used to gauge the amount of distance between you and your opponent. Better angles allow better positioning, giving you the opportunity to attack or escape easier.
Tip: Your opponent will always try to prevent you from creating these angles. Stay alert and be aware of your opponent’s actions at all times!
The concept of leverage is one of the key concepts of BJJ. Helio Gracie taught his students that leverage was the easiest way a smaller person could defend himself against a bigger, stronger opponent using one’s hips, legs or just his body weight. When a smaller person uses the stronger extremities of his body against his opponent’s weaker body parts, he will be able to enforce his techniques on him.
Tip: Your legs are always the strongest when they are in the squat position. On the other hand, your arms are stronger when they are closer to your body. Keep this in mind the next time you spar!
At Evolve Daily, we’ve stressed the importance of grips many times. It’s simple: the person who has the better grip wins the fight. Work on securing the grips before your opponent or break his the minute he grabs you. Most importantly, know why you’re gripping your opponent and combine it with your hooks. Remember, anytime your opponent has grips, it will be easier for him to pass your guard or worse, submit you.
Tip: Work on developing an iron grip. Here are a few exercises that will ensure that the grip game will always be in your favor.
Any BJJ Black Belt will tell you that pressure is one fundamental that could make or break your spar. Putting pressure when passing the guard assures that you are putting all your weight on your opponent, making it difficult for him to recover his guard. On the other hand, applying pressure on the weaker parts of your opponent’s body when you’ve stabilized your position ensures that it will be harder for him to escape.
Tip: Focus on breath control and maintain your center of gravity on the centerline of your opponent’s body.
When a BJJ practitioner has great base, he becomes unsweepable and difficult to takedown. This is because he has great control of his center of gravity and his hips. A great way to do this is to keep your center of gravity low, which could get difficult when you’re in an actual spar.
Tip: To improve your base, work on developing your core strength with a swiss ball or using a balance board.
Remember, the fastest way to improvement in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is through constant practice. Take the time to drill before and after class and don’t hesitate to ask your instructors for advice. Although it may seem tedious, trust us, it will all be worth it in the end!