Dominance: Sweet Spots

Prefacing this post by stating ‘sweet spots’ doesn’t really exist in live rolling as unless your training partner is completely gassed or passed out, there’s going to be degrees of movement/counter-movement.

For educational purposes though, studying the idea of sweet spots is invaluable. ‘Sweet spot’ as defined here is the ideal amount of tension in a given position.

If you’re too stiff for example, you’re probably easy to move in a least one direction, not contoured/molded to maximize surface area, won’t be able to counter-move effectively, nor be energy-efficient.

Too loose via dead body-weight will enable initial heaviness like a wet blanket but eventually you’ll lose the connection.

What we’re looking for is balance, so imagine positions in space. Where does it give and where is it strong and why?

Related post (Indentifying Static And Dynamic Components):

Mindsets: Purposeful Study

An important part of studying a given technique is understanding the purpose it serves.

People often see things that look really cool and unique and naturally want to copy what they see. The problem is if you don’t take the time to understand the context in which the technique was developed you’ll probably be limited to surface returns.

Mindsets: BJJ Kanye (Enjoyment Versus Ego)

Ever notice when really enjoying yourself you don’t put much stock into what happens, you’re just there as things unfold.

In Jiu-Jitsu terms the above could mean being in the middle of a roll with a capable practitioner, with them leaving something out and you taking it. Yes there was a submission, but the priority was a fun session with friends so who cares?

On the other hand if we’re trying really hard and placing deep meaning on outcome we’re much more likely to build a story around what’s dead and gone like a BJJ Kanye.

Focus on the Jiu-Jitsu and let the story take care of itself.

Exercise: Hollow Man

Competent study of a position requires exploration of contact points and their resulting pressures from both bottom and top positions.

So, one way to think about a position is imagining an invisible body (Kevin Bacon if you prefer) and seeing points of contact through the body. If you’re having trouble with this idea, imagine what a squished face looks like when pressed up against glass.

Now, enter the body and try to imagine how that contact point would feel.

Another point this brings up is, how do contact points relate to pressure as a whole?

Don’t know if this exercise is original to me or not. If anyone is aware of existing similar work feel free to post in the comment section.

Philosophy: Is Jiu-Jitsu Logical?

I would say BJJ is more mechanical than it is logical.

All sorts of things go on in a roll and on the mat. Breaking down the mechanics of a scenario after the fact is probably as close as I can get to being logical, and doing so skillfully is a lifetime pursuit.

That being said, I don’t believe BJJ ‘is’ any one thing. Again, going back to the post on shortcuts such a mindset is likely born out of the idea that if you condense something into one or two ideas it’s easier to comprehend.

Yes, packaging information this way makes BJJ easier to understand in the short-term, but the problem is it creates overly simple models that can’t stand up to ambiguity and/or mold to the individual.

It’s art man, chill.

Jiu-Jitsu Principle: Confirmation

When you’ve disrupt you’re partners base, or better still they’ve put themselves in a structurally inferior positions through overcompensation, desperation, or lack of knowledge, you mold yourself around the new position to ‘confirm’ it.

One example of the above breaking some one down from closed guard and over-hooking the head, or better yet grabbing the belt if you’re playing in the gi. They’ve broken down and you’ve ‘confirmed’ the breakdown by re-adjusting grips.

Another way to think of this principle is funneling a person into fewer and fewer options until they have no other option but compliance/submssion. As such, I’ve also called this concept/principle ‘corralling.’ Moo, moo buckaroo! ;o)

Shortcuts And Illusion Of Growth

I see quite of a bit of BJJ advertising along the lines of the one weird trick magic pill variety.

Something you can instantly learn that supposedly changes your game dramatically is by definiton easily reverse engineered

Shortcuts often translate to crutches, so if you don’t have much study time try to study more efficiently.

New Jiu-Jitsu Principle: Integrity

First off, ‘new principle’ is written tongue in cheek. Principles are metaphors for structural scenarios that arise during training. They are a way of thinking about things, not hard and fast rules. Even Newtonian Physics begin to break down at a certain point so don’t forsake what’s present for descriptors.

Disclaimer out of the way, I’m calling this new principle ‘Integrity.’

Integrity states that the further you can manage/control an appendage away from the core, the more leverage you have.

Extreme applications of this principle are pulling some one by the hair and/or grabbing their fingers and toes. For BJJ purposes it would be pushing/pulling the top of the head, or holding the meat of the hand near the base of the fingers, or arch of foot near the toes.

Previous Post on 9 coare BJJ Principles from old blog (slightly edited 1/25/14):