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Tying the Basics of BJJ to a Unique and Personal Game
You Cannot Have an Advanced BJJ Game without a Basic One
A common mistake that many make when learning the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) they do not investing the proper amount of time on 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. Virtually anyone that has been in the BJJ game for sometime will agree the basics are the true secret to success in BJJ performance. This is true whether you are a major competitor or a hobbyist simply training for enjoyment.
Again, most people will agree that it is vital to put an enormous amount of time learning basics in order to see an improvement in skill level. The problem for many is that they simply do not actually invest enough 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 are based on a lack of depth. There is a lot of unique discoveries that can be made when practicing a scissor sweep or a side control escape. Simply 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 the smoothness of such a move. Again, the boredom factor comes from either not investing a lot of time in learning the nuances of various moves 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 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, a killer 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 is going to 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. Really, if you are seriously lacking in performance in various areas defined as basic 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
The only way you can make it work would be to use a lot of 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 be doing some form of submission grappling. For the average person, trying to get buy on attributes and raw strength is really not even an option. The average person just lacks the attributes to make such an approach work. And even for those that do have such natural skills, they will only take some only so far for so long.
This is why a great deal of time has to be spent on working on 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 that is unique to you and those areas you are most interested in working on between the basic areas of the game. How you split this can actually 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 though, if you find yourself having trouble, the solution is either improving your basics or refining the fine points of your unique game.
This is a rather simple path to take, but is one that will help deliver results.
Remember, without a good foundation in the basics, you have no real foundation. You might be able to rep moves with a training partner but, to actually enhance your skill to a decent level, you positively must work on the basics.