I need some clarity around BJJ

Discussion in 'Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' started by jmf552, Nov 25, 2021.

  1. jmf552

    jmf552 Member

    This may seem like a really dumb question, but if I could get the lightbulb to come on, I think it would really help me. I have studied several martial arts in my lifetime: Karate', Judo, Japanese Jiu Jitsu and others. I can't say I mastered any of them, but I think I understand them.

    So in the striking arts, I get that power is generated from the ground up, pivoting various joints in the body to create power in a strike. Of course, there is a lot of nuance in positioning, body movement and footwork to get in position to deliver each strike.

    In Judo, I get that every throw involves a grip, an off balancing, a re-positioning and an execution. There are throws where the opponent is taken off his center of gravity and there are throws where the person throwing displaces the opponent's center of gravity.

    I may not have used all the right words to describe all the above, but in my mind, it seems clear and generally, I can do it. But I have been taking BJJ for about six months now and while I have learned the positions like guard, side control, mount, etc. and several combinations of moves to get from one to the other, the whole art still seems a mystery to me. I am fascinated by it and determined to learn, but I still don't get the overall logic of it.

    When I roll, I see that it works, but I find myself wondering what even happened a lot. When the instructor teaches a sequence I am often amazed how ingenious it is, but I wonder, "How did anyone ever figure that out? What principles were they following?

    Am I making any sense? Is there any way to an intellectual understanding, or do I just need to keep rolling until the light comes on?
  2. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    It's the same as judo, think sweeps from closed guard, so flower sweep grips, off balance them with the sweep, if they post an arm, reposition to the armbar, when they stack, reposition to the Russian armbar/sweep, then execute the armbar.
    "In Judo, I get that every throw involves a grip, an off balancing, a re-positioning and an execution."

    Plus basic postitional hiarachy, so mount and back mount are the best, closed guard is neutral (it's actual 70/30 in sub grappling, and 30/70 in MMA), standard Gracie SOP.

    So top postition Simple SOP is open the guard, pass the guard, take side, go mount, go back mount then finish, taking submissions along the way.

    So bottom Postition simple SOP is take closed guard, get the sweep, take top/SC/mount, take back mount, then submit, taking submissions along the way if offered.

    And add in limb control at the same time, so kimura grips, leg reaps, and head controls make things more complex but predictable.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
    Dunc likes this.
  3. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    In bottom position relieve pressure by creating distance and engaging your legs so your biggest muscle groups can manipulate your opponent's balance
    In top position get past the legs (knees) and create pressure to remove space for your opponent to move allowing you to control them
    Dead_pool likes this.
  4. jmf552

    jmf552 Member

    Thanks for your answer, but I don't find all the jargon understandable. It doesn't give me a mental picture. I still don't get sweeps (in a BJJ context, I do in other arts) flower sweep grips, Russian armbar, etc. Also, from the different positions, I understand what you're saying needs to be done, that's clear, but the principles of how you move to get there escape me. Like I said, I am at a pretty basic level and very confused about it, even with a fair bit of mat time. At my gym, they tend to show you a move ("put your hand here, move your knee there, etc.") they don't use a lot of jargon and then you are just supposed to do it. They don't say, "This is a principle, and this move illustrates that principle."So it is hard for me to get the big picture. I am one of those people who needs to understand high level concepts before I can bring them down to Earth.
  5. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Maybe check out the Gracie brother's BJJ principal course? Might be up your alley?
    I get what you mean though. Ground fighting is immensely complex. So many variables and approaches.
    Basic principles for me are the positional hierarchy. If you are in a good position maintain it. If you are in a bad position try to improve it. That gives you a basic positional flow chart.
    Creating or reducing space. In general the person in a dominant position is seeking to reduce space while the person in a bad spot is seeking to create it.
    I think generally BJJ has one of the best tactical structures in martial arts. Clinch, takedown, control, submit. At any one time you should have a pretty clear idea of what you are trying to do and why.
  6. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    ^ I wouldn't I've had a look through a friend's copy, (who's a big GA guy) and he thinks it's just a blatent cash grab.
  7. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    hahah...The Gracie's? Cash grab marketing? I'm shocked I tell you!
    Marketing/cash aside I've always found Ryron and Rener's instructionals to be top notch.
    Dead_pool likes this.
  8. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Don't over think things,
    You just need to learn the possible moves first, before trying to stratagise it, don't over think things, use the standard postitional hiarachy as a basic plan. And try your best.

    A quick history of BJJ recent development may help you get it into better context:

    Warning some mild swears, not family friendly.

  9. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Same here, however on this occasion the content suffers. But buyer beware and all that.
  10. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    All the same principles you stated for striking and throwing apply, they just become a lot more fluid because they are not according to the familiar standing relationship of the feet, hips and shoulders. The same laws of physics apply, but the more complexity in a given context, the more you have to stop intellectualising and allow heuristic learning to take its course. Let your body learn it and let your mind catch up later.
  11. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

  12. jmf552

    jmf552 Member

  13. jmf552

    jmf552 Member

    Some people's minds work that way. Others don't. And I have always been of the opinion that if people really know something, they can explain it clearly enough for a layman to understand. (no offense intended to you, it is a general comment) BTW, this is not an idle question for me. I have read books on it and watched videos on it. I understand what they are saying, but it is not getting the light to come on for me as far as general principles.

    A sort of parallel: I am a multi-million mile frequent flyer. But I will bet that 99% of the people who I have flown with on airliners don't understand how the airplane flies. As a former military aviator, I do and even though it is complicated, if they ask I can explain it so they understand.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
  14. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Dunc likes this.
  15. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    It's strange that the BJJ hierarchy seems simple until you get wrestlers who like side control and people like Khabib who actively look for something like half guard as a control position and will "ride" from the a back take position rather than get their hooks in like a BJJ person.
    Dead_pool likes this.
  16. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Half guard is still only half a guard!
    Side control is still a dominant position, but without the scope for GNP that mount offers, there's more back postitions then just double hook trad back mount too, I think it all still fits inside that framework, with a little adjustment.

    Personally I love the limb control exceptions to the traditional hiararchy, so kimura grip escapes from being back controlled, kneebar escapes from under side control etc

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