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Tying the Basics of BJJ to a Unique and Personal Game

Updated on March 1, 2021

You Cannot Have an Advanced BJJ Game without a Basic One

Many make a common mistake when learning the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: they do not invest the proper amount of time learning the basics. This is not exclusive to BJJ. Martial artists across the entire spectrum can fall into the trap of ignoring their basics.

Here is some news: this statement is far from a revolutionary one. For some, virtually anyone in the BJJ game will agree that the basics are the true secret to BJJ performance success. The sentiment is true whether you are a significant competitor or a hobbyist, only training for enjoyment.

Again, most people will agree that it is vital to put an enormous amount of time learning basics to improve skill level. The problem for many is that they do not invest enough in linking their favorite aspects of their game to those crucial basics.

The Basics Can Be Interesting

The common complaint about learning basic moves is they are not exactly exciting or all that fun. Honestly, such assessments sometimes result from a lack of depth. Many unique discoveries can arise when practicing a scissor sweep or a side control escape. Merely putting the upa and the elbow escape in combination with going to your knees will NEVER become boring or stagnant when your goal is to improve such a move's smoothness. Again, the boredom factor comes from either not investing a lot of time learning the nuances of various movements or simply being more interested in learning something else.

Tying the Basics to a Preferred Game

Honestly, there is nothing wrong with learning other aspects of the game. If you want to be an expert in something such as the X Guard, there is no reason to wait forever to gain proficiency at it. Now, the X Guard is only being used as one example here. You could substitute a lot of things for the X Guard, but many of the points would be the same.

A well-developed, superior X Guard game could make life miserable for opponents. The problem here is that if you have poor basics (basics being things such as escapes, proper posture, effective movement with no wasted motion, and so on), your X Guard will probably suffer.

The reason for this is because when your basics are weak, your X Guard defaults to being connected to a mediocre Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game. If you are seriously lacking in performance in various areas defined as fundamental BJJ, making your X Guard work well could be difficult. Why? Your X Guard game cannot exist in a vacuum independent from the rest of what is needed to be a decent BJJ player.

One Option and Not a Great One

One way you could make it work involves relying on many attributes to help you out if your X Guard fails. You could perform a very explosive bridge or use a significant amount of muscle, but you would not be doing BJJ. You are doing some form of submission grappling. For the average person, trying to get by on attributes and raw strength is not an option. The average person often lacks the qualities to make such an approach feasible. And even for those with such natural skills, they will take some only so far for so long.

This is why a great deal of time must go into developing the basic foundational structure of what makes a solid BJJ game.

Returning to the Basics

You could say the best path to take would be to split your training time on the game you are slowly developing, unique to you, and those you are most interested in working on between the fundamental areas of the game. How you split this can vary from week to week. Some weeks you might spend more time on one than the other. You can adjust your training priorities based on reflections of your performance during the week. Generally, when you find yourself having trouble, the solution is improving your basics or refining a unique game's fine points.

The path is a simple one to take but is one that will help deliver results.

Remember, without a good foundation in the basics that you have no real foundation. You might be able to rep a move with a training partner. To enhance your skill to a decent level, however, you must work on the basics positively.


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