Theory

Tactics in BJJ: Are you playing checkers instead of chess?

The subject of BJJ and chess is one I have written about before.  I think the subject is worthy of further attention because the metaphor is such an alluring one – but pinching metaphors until they squeal is all too easy.

Recently my coach made a comment about a roll, saying that one person was playing chess while the other was playing checkers.  For the sake of science, discovery, curiosity, and pedantry, I’m going to attempt to unpack all that is contained within this statement.

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Uncategorized

How BJJ is like Chess: Rock Paper Scissors Edition

Jiu-jitsu is an athletic endeavor – but it is one that requires a great deal of thought in order to be good at it.  As I pointed out in my earlier How BJJ is like Chess article this leads to comparisons between jiu-jitsu and chess – sometimes reasonable comparisons…sometimes less reasonable.

One facet of jiu-jitsu that feels comparable to chess is the tit for tat nature of moves.  If someone is mounted on you, you can try the upa escape.  If they are able to post their leg to prevent themselves from being rolled you can take advantage of that space to do the shrimp escape.  If they pinch their knees tightly to prevent the shrimp escape their base is narrow and thus more easily toppled over with an upa escape.

So…does this sequence show that jiu-jitsu is like chess?  Or is it really just complicated rock paper scissors?

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Theory

The Importance of Friends in BJJ

In a recent podcast with Grappling Central, my coach, Sam, mentioned that if you aren’t enjoying your jiu jitsu school or if you’re thinking about trying a new school – try changing your social group at your current school first.  While I’m pretty happy with my jiu jitsu friends right now, I have experienced a few different social groups in jiu jitsu.  Also, our jiu jitsu holiday party was last night, which got me thinking about the importance of jiu jitsu friends.

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Technique

How to Actually Roll with Bigger People

I don’t like to criticize other people’s articles.  I know its hard to write and it takes courage to publicly say what you think.  But “Which BJJ Techniques Work and Don’t Work w/ a Small Man Against a Big Man” really got me fired up.  The title assumes gender for no real reason, the size difference is never specified, I don’t agree with the suggested techniques, and the grammar is terrible.

Rather than tell you everything wrong with the BJJEE article – I would like to explore what techniques work for smaller jiu jitsu players from an actual small jiu jitsu player’s point of view (I’m 5’2″, 115lbs).

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Theory

How BJJ is like Chess: The Power of the Fork

Jiu-jitsu and chess are often compared to one another – usually in an attempt to justify the intellectual qualities of jiu-jitsu more than to demonstrate the physical qualities of chess.  But is this comparison apt?  In some very real ways jiu-jitsu and chess are completely different – but the metaphor is not completely without merit.

 

One concept that carries over from chess is the fork.

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Thoughts

Train Forever: Taking Care of your Body

Jiu-jitsu translates to “soft art.”  I think my muscles and joints are the soft part, constantly at risk of being crushed by the art.

So, the trick is to be soft like the willow, bending without breaking.  Or some other metaphor that basically means you have to stretch, avoid overtraining and training while injured, rest, and eat well!

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Self-Defense

Why Rolling is Important for Self Defense

In a previous post I discussed the 5 self defense moves I would teach a friend who doesn’t know any jiu jitsu.  Learning techniques is important but I believe rolling can be just as beneficial for learning how to defend oneself.

For example, say Betsy learns a self defense move in a seminar.  She practices it 20 times with an non-resisting partner during the seminar then shows it to a friend when she gets home.  Is Betsy likely going to be able to use that technique in a self defense situation in 6 months?  What about even the next day?  When I’m rolling I usually try to use the move taught in class that day but I’m not usually successful with it right away.

Here are three reasons I think rolling is helpful for self defense.

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Theory

Jiu-Jitsu Spark Notes: Or What You Need to Know to Roll

I’ve already done a post on how to get the most out of rolling, and if you are looking for best practices, this isn’t that.  This post is the information that I believe to be the barest minimum necessary to get someone rolling.

Will they be good?  No.  Will they be as safe as they can be?  No.  But, sometimes you just have to work with sub-optimal conditions.  Maybe you’re at party and some friends want to see what this “jiu-jitsu” thing is about.  Maybe you’re at a college level club and someone without any experience shows up to an open mat.

So, when reality gets in the way of ideal, this is a way to stay safe and have fun.

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Theory

Sparring in BJJ: Not just rolling around

Jiu-jitsu players will tell you that a lot of things make their art special.  The leverage element that offsets weight differences.  The technical, detail oriented approach to techniques over speed and strength.  But really what makes jiu-jitsu special is that it can be practiced at nearly full intensity everyday of the week.*

This means that if you aren’t rolling (jiu-jitsu parlance for sparring) you aren’t taking advantage of what makes jiu-jitsu special.  But how do you get the most out of rolling?

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