THE 6 KEY POINTS TO SUCCEEDING IN BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU
BY MAURICIO “TINGUINHA” MARIANO
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is today one of the martial arts with the biggest increase in interest by the general public and practitioners around the world.
People practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for different reasons. For self defense, to get in shape, to fight in BJJ tournaments or to fight professionally in MMA shows. But when it comes to learning this martial art the key points to excel will be the same ones maybe the intensity you train will differ from one practitioner to another for a number of different reasons but for those people who did excel on this martial art, they have the same principles to get to their goal whichever that goal might be. With that in mind I included as well on my online training TBJJ.TV a video going over those key points, step by step, in the Utimate Beginner section, (where I cover all the fundaments of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from day one, when you step on the mat to how to tap properly, commom mistakes and dangerous positions,BJJ grips, fundamentals techniques plus core techniques, and much more...) Because I believe it is key to your success in this martial art.
1- Mastering the fundaments:
Brazilian jiu jitsu is one of the most technical martial arts. The numbers of techniques you can learn on it are infinite. You can use very different ways to play different kind of games but it is very important to have a very good and strong foundation. This is truly important to be successful in your path. If you don’t have a good foundation your jiu jitsu is going to be damaged for the rest of your life. This is one of the most common reasons why students get stagnated on their games, they try to learn new techniques or new tricks but they fail consequently they start getting frustrated and confused on why they cannot get better. But most of the time the reason is at the beginning, in the basic techniques. There is a very simple way to think and understand this, just like anything you want to do well in life you need to start from the beginning, passing all the phases, you can try to find a short cut but the price will be your jiu jitsu being limited. The reason why the students don’t pay attention to that is because they are so eager to learn and get better that they forget to pay attention to this crucial part. This phase is the most important part in your BJJ learning process. So be patient and master your foundation, this is a key point to be successful in BJJ.
2- Hip movement:
A lot of people don’t realize the importance of using the hips in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Every technique in BJJ involves using the hips. Every good Brazilian Jiu jitsu practitioner has in common a good hip mobility. To understand the importance of hips in BJJ I would say that it is more important than your arms and legs. Hips are everything on this martial art. You are going to use your hips in all aspects of BJJ, in take downs, on the ground, from the top, to put pressure to control your opponent, from all positions. If you have good hip movement in your game, this is going to bring power to it, you are consequently going to have more pressure on your opponents, your leverage is going to be stronger to finish and escape your opponents also is going to bring speed to your game if you have good hip mobility you can transition through techniques faster and at the same time tighter. So to get a good hip mobility is important to focus on the hips when you are practicing and training. It is important to use less arms and legs during your training session, every time you are using too much power this is a sign you are doing something wrong, BJJ is all about leverage, every time you use too much power the hips will shut down, for the hips to move well your body has to relax. Make sure you pay attention to your hip movements; this will be a crucial point for your BJJ game to excel. Practicing drills with partners and without partners focusing on hip movements helps to develop the mobility as well.
3- keeping the ego outside of the dojo:
If you have a big ego in this martial art you will not be successful. The ego is going to be your enemy on this path because is going to keep you away from all the learning process. If you want to train BJJ you got to accept that you are going to get tapped out, there is nothing wrong with that. Everybody gets tapped from the white to the black belt. It is the same if you go training boxing and not accept to getting punched or training kickboxing and not accept to getting kicked. You have to learn to deal with this. Those people with that mentality end up getting hurt really serious because they don’t want to tap so they end up getting out of the game for a long time or stop training because they can’t deal with that.
Ego is one of the biggest reasons that students fail in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. BJJ is a martial art where everything you learn can be put in use in daily practices, which is great because it can give a clue to which direction you need to go and what is working or not. And the only reason this is possible is because Brazilian jiu jitsu is the gentle art, where you can control and finish the fight without hurting your opponent, the simple fact of your opponent tapping 3 times means it is time to stop because if it passes from that point you really can hurt your partner. But because of the ego of people who do not want to tap (“loose”) during the practice, it makes them stop learning and makes them get hurt and therefore stop training. Also the ego makes such students take every practice like they are in a tournament mat. Everything becomes personal when it is simply a practice and a part of the learning process. The idea of “loosing” makes them train really hard and this mentality ends up keeping them away from trying new stuff or working on their weakness because they are afraid of loosing. This stagnates their game, and it makes it hard to get pass some level, which can be very discouraging and make them stop training.
So keep the ego outside of the dojo enjoy your training, have fun, getting caught is a very important lesson in your learning process, it is important to have a place with friendly environment with people in the same positive vibe and concepts as you.
4- Science of the techniques:
This is another point in where people with good knowledge in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu have in common they really understand the concept of the techniques. Because to master this martial art you not only need to learn the techniques but you need to study the techniques and understand the science of it, where it comes from and where it can go. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a very technical martial art, everything you do with your body movement, your hands, your legs, the way you hold has some reason behind it. Just like a puzzle, everything has to make sense. Usually it takes a lot of years of training to have that kind of knowledge. I guess that is what makes the real black belts in this martial art. People usually start to get to this point of the knowledge when they start teaching, it is a combination of the practice you had, years of training and the knowledge of the techniques. So it is important to try to understand what you are learning, don’t be afraid of asking questions, have some notes of what you are learning, keep track of your techniques, don’t be only a practitioner but be a student as well.
5- Mat time:
You can learn Brazilian JiuJitsu from books, dvds or internet, but if you don’t spend real time on the mat you just going to be a theory guy in this martial art. Mat time means time going over techniques, drills and live training, you can have a lot of knowledge of this martial art but if you do not practice it is not going to work. You need to spend a lot of time on live training, every technique has the right time to be used and this timing can only be gotten from live training, you cannot learn this from books and etc… Besides the live training, you need to drill the techniques, it is really important, most of the students don’t like to spend too much time on this part, certainly it is more fun to roll but you need to create the memory mass to apply your techniques, the reality is that you don’t have time to think too much during the live training if you stop to think you are going to get caught or your opponent is going to escape that is why the drills are so important to master your techniques because it becomes second nature, when the time comes you don’t think, you act, the more you train, the better will be your mat time but you need to train smart, make sure the training is safe and controlled, spend your time on the mat in a smart way, so you can train hard but not get hurt or over train.
6- Open mind:
Always keep an open mind for new information and pay attention to the details, the details are the secret of the techniques, a small detail could open innumerous options for your game and you will only be seeing this if you really open your mind to accept and listen to any information from any one. On this martial art you never stop learning, you can learn new techniques from a white belt to a black belt, any one can create and develop new stuff, every technique has a counter and every defense has a counter attack, it never stops.
The Power of the Technique:Less Strength, More Efficiency.