Every movement, every breath, and every thought is a note; every technique is a song; every submission a conclusion of a symphony; every practitioner a composer. Rhythm, timing, speed, and flow are words essential in the mastery of both, and practice the only path to perfection.
Just like music, Jiu-Jitsu is an art form through which every practitioner can express themselves. Just as a composer’s personality and character shine through in their music, those who train reveal a lot about themselves in their technique… their influences, their disposition, their heart. Like music, there is an endless selection of styles to choose and draw inspiration from. Jiu-Jitsu can be tailored to fit different body types, shapes, forms, and sizes. Techniques are molded to fit one’s flexibility and strength and possibilities are as limitless as your imagination. It is a good idea to find competitors you can emulate; someone with similar physical characteristics; someone who has a lot of youtube videos you can watch. J See what works for them and incorporate it into your game.
In music one needs to master the fundamentals before progressing to each successive level, the same goes for Jiu-Jitsu. I’m guessing Mozart had to learn something like “Mary Had a Little Lamb” at some point, even though he may have been two when he did it. A flying Armbar for example is a combination of various techniques… In order to successfully pull it off not only do you need to know the mechanics of an armbar, you also have to incorporate elements of grip fighting, takedown offense/defense, jump guard, and break-fall techniques. Teaching a new student who just walked in the door a flying armbar is one sure way to get someone injured.
Every movement, no matter how simple or mundane you may find it to be, has to be mastered and drilled over and over again until it’s as normal as breathing. There are techniques I can do now that I wasn’t able to do as a white belt because I didn’t have the proper flexibility and strength in the right areas. A lot of technique can only be developed with proper training. The hip-up for example is an essential movement that develops a lot of the muscles you will need to attack with your legs from the bottom position. Every technique should be explored and developed regardless of whether or not it “works for you”. Knowledge is power and even if a technique is difficult for you to successfully apply it in practice, knowing it can help you defend better against it or even counter it. Those techniques can alternatively be used to improve position, as a feint, or simply as a transition. For example: cross-chokes, everybody learns how to perform a cross-choke early on so most individuals develop a pretty good defense against it, but threatening the cross-choke can lead to an opening for a triangle, armbar, sweep, etc. If you’ve rolled with Jimmy, then you know exactly what I mean.
Like songs that get stuck in my head until I hear it again, techniques often preoccupy my mind until I test it out on the mat. I get excited when I pull off something I saw Marcelo Garcia did in a video or a strategy that I was inspired to employ. My adrenaline goes off the charts and I lose my voice from screaming and watching my teammates compete in tournaments and I share both their joy and disappointment in winning and losing. I don’t look forward to the weekends; I look forward to the days I train. Music move my feet, paintings move my eyes, Jiu-Jitsu moves my soul.
Boa! See you on the mat.
I posted more videos from last weekends American Cup! See them here.