The Great Art and Science of Refinement in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Taking the Time Out to Refine Your BJJ Game Will Improve It
If you want to be a master in the martial arts, you really should follow the advice of those who have achieved mastery. Not everyone may find the path to mastery or, for that matter, intermediate level skill to be exciting. The easiest way to make the study of a martial art exciting is to ignore the basics and the process of refinement, an approach that does not exactly lead anyone towards mastery.
Masters have a tendency to prescribe to certain basic tenants. No less of a master than Bruce Lee talked about daily decrease of techniques and the refinement of those techniques. A common problem beginners have in the study of all martial arts is they try to learn far too many techniques too soon. Doing so is really not learning at all. It might have the appearance of learning, but what it is nothing more than the practice of accumulation.
To get the most out of your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, you have to resist the urge to accumulate random techniques.
Why Accumulating Many Techniques Too Soon Can Be Troubling
In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there are thousands of different techniques you can learn. And in truth, you can only strip your game down so far. There are certain positions you have to learn, a number of submissions and escapes you have to become familiar with and you should stay on top of new developments in the art.
You also have to spent a little time refining things. If all you are doing is just accumulating, you will be harming your ability to develop a higher level of skill. Why is this? When you only have a superficial knowledge of the techniques you perform, your game might end up loose and sloppy.
Ultimately, what anyone wants out of training in the martial arts, is the development of skill and proficiency. Really, if you are not going to eventually become good at what you are learning, why bother learning in the first place at all?
This brings us to the concept of refinement, the best approach to actually becoming good at what you do.
The Art of Refinement
Refinement is the art of precision, perfect, and patience.
When you are investing time refining your techniques, you end up making your technique a lot sharper and tighter. A BJJ armbar or triangle that is loose or secured from a weak angle generally is easy to escape from. If you try these techniques from your guard, the lack of sharpness in the submissions can open the door to a guard pass.
Speaking of guard passing, a guard pass will lead to you being pinned in side control. Have you refined your side control escapes? That is, are your arms in the right position? Are your movements short and sharp or do you waste a lot of motion? Those that invest the time refining their techniques will discover the do not suffer from such troubles.
Two Areas to Refine
There are two areas of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you will want to refine. The first would be the major basics of BJJ. The other would be those areas of your game that are unique to you. In other words, if your game is heavily reliant on spider guard, then you will have to greatly refine the basics of the spider guard to make it most effective.
No one would ever say the refinement process is always exciting. A lot of painstaking work has to be done to make sure you can perform these techniques you are focusing on at a high level of skill. In time, as you notice the major gains in performance acquired from refining the art, you will become much more enthused about the process. How could you not? You certainly will experience results.
New Techniques Can Be a Hindrance
When your Jiu Jitsu game becomes old and out of date, it is not exactly going to embody being effective. However, there is a very troubling side of the coin when it comes to adding new techniques week after week. You end up only learning these new moves on a superficial level. That is not exactly going to help the cause of actually improving at the game.
This is not to suggest there is no need to experiment or try out new techniques that emerge from the tournament circuit. No one is going to suffer miserably in their pursuit of Jiu Jitsu excellence because they opted to rep a few techniques from a guard they might only have recently learned. Trying something new out can lead to making great progress and changes in your game. Only when you ignore the basics does your training and skill enhancement suffer.
Select something in your game. Focus on it exclusively for a few weeks. Make it precise and effective. Your game will soar.
More by this Author
The swords born of the Iron Age had a tremendous influence on Asian martial arts and western combat sports.
The Referee Position from wresting can be borrowed in the BJJ game to provide a unique and less-than-expected way to enter into the Butterfly Guard.
If you didn't enjoy watching the debut and rerun of King Kong on NBC in 1978 and 1980, then you are no friend of mine.