Defense: More On Directional Bridging

When playing around with the directional bridging idea more this morning from cross-sides bottom I was still bridging into my partner a bit much. I think this is a carry-over habit from studying Saulo’s BJJ Revolution 1 & 2 DVD sets. What I discovered was bridging-inwards is the right thing to do IF your training partner has little or no attachment. This is scenario one.

Scenario two is your partner has attachment to your upper body, but aren’t driving their weight. Here, bridging up over the inside shoulder worked best. I would say this is half way between a bridge into top player and a bridge upward.

Scenario three is they are driving their weight on me. The most efficient counter in this situation is bridging straight up and down complimented by a northward lift of frames.

In summation, everything is the same as before, just defining directional bridging in three distinct and separate directions based on the scenario:

Inward, Over Shoulder, and Straight Up depending on level of attachment and weight distribution.


Defense: Directional Bridging & Eating Crap Positions

Training this morning I found a nice solve AFTER going form befuddled to intermittent success, before finally understanding solution over the course of an hour.

The above is a nice way of saying this process sucked. ;o)

Somewhat related to the solve, one piece to cross-sides bottom that’s somewhat invisible is identifying whether your partners weight is on you, or on the mat.

If their weight is more on the mat, you can bridge into them:

If their weight is more on you, bridging into them will feel like bridging into a wall, but it does open the doorway to bridging straight up and lifting your elbows up to make space (6:21):

To compliment the preceding ideas, remember if your training partner is pulling you into them their weight will be on the mat. If they are driving, their weight will be on you. Neither is right or wrong with good practitioners constantly feeling and adjusting in the moment.

Design: Balancing Acts

The realization hit this week how much better my top game and control is than escapes and comfort on bottom.

Most of this is obviously as result of spending way more time on top than bottom, making me like the bodybuilder who’s all arms and skinny legs.

So, think of your bottom game like squats; they’re not fun, but have huge functional benefits.

Also, try to develop top and bottom games simultaneously, as in what’s the defensive counter to your offense, and offensive counter to defensive measures?

In searching for solutions remember there is always an energy leaks in dominant positions meaning I can’t pull and drive at the same time. They key is identifying what’s going on and how it’s achieved. Sometimes it’s going to be a stick in the spokes, while at other times it’s disassembling the chain or removing the pedals.

Study & Training: Loose Plans

Outside of jotting down what I’d like to work on during the course of the week, I’ve been a lot looser as far as study and training plans.

Again, per below it’s not about whether or not I see individual plans through, but how much I produce of something that’s inherently enjoyable. From this space, production is a natural way of being.

Mindsets: Producing Production

At the end of the day I want to be more productive and less tight. We are great at this as children, but something more often than not gets lost when we become aware of social identity and develop an ability to conceptualize and reason abstractly.

With this ability to conceptualize, what’s key to remember in production terms, is conceptualization comes after the fact. That is, play gives us the necessary information to study, disassemble, and re-configure as needed.

Plans, while well-intended, stifle our natural creativity and ingenuity if we cling to them at the behest of what’s present. The key is remembering concepts and plans should feed our natural capacity for vigor, not make us less receptive.

Pay attention and adjust accordingly. =)

Study: Mental Memory

However you get to muscle memory, be it reps against less skilled opponents during sparring or exchanging reps back in forth in a more cooperative setting, there’s a study step beforehand:

Mental memory is taking the time to study all the individual pieces that work together to make a position function effectively. This on average takes me an hour or more.

What I consider lazy or misinformed, is being introduced to a position and repping it half-heartedly against a dead body 5-10X before adding resistance and deciding whether or not it’s for you.

Dude, what’s the rush? Would the preceding process be mistaken for study in any formal learning institution?

Instead, take all the time in the world, fleshing out the steps for a solid conscious road map for the body to follow.

Mental memory first, then muscle memory.

Study: The Wheel Of Creativity & Direction

Gave more thought to ideas and creativity, and probably the biggest factor is having a general direction. I try not to have too tight of an end point as discovery has a tendency to shift both the map and destination.

Next, I’ve noticed that when I discard an idea, I usually come back to it later with a deeper understanding. That is, it wasn’t necessarily wrong, but I needed to broaden my understanding first before comprehending it’s relevance within the whole. I consider this analogous to a cycle or wheel rather than a line, but the reality is it’s probably both.

Training: Reps, Dead Reps & Muscle Memory

Watched the following video, and it sounded to me like Mr. Dale is sometimes doing semi-dead reps on training partners who don’t have skill-sets to defend yet:

If I’m working with some one where there is this much of a knowledge gap, I’d feel like I was beating them up if I wasn’t correcting the hole that allowed me to do something repeatedly 3-5 times.

The larger point is you have get muscle memory training in somehow. 😉

A second point is, situational training is still a form of repetition, the key is using common sense.  For instance, people who don’t know anything about BJJ understand you can’t play anyone decent by doing the same move over and over in exactly the same way.  That’s why we have playbooks that evolve.

In closing, it’s not a case of either/or, it’s about being smart and making things as mutually beneficial as you can for long-term growth.


Training: Longevity & Rest Periods

Edited email reply I sent to a friend on resting and longevity:

Everyone has a natural exuberance, so I think the key is noticing whether or not you’re coming at BJJ as you approached play as a child.

If training isn’t naturally motivating, I might back off a bit because longevity wise we’re talking years on the mat. One workout off, one week, one month, or even a year off aren’t going to kill you if you train 19 of 20 years.

Lastly, and slightly off topic is every lifespan on the mat is going to be individual. For example, one person may take one class before deciding BJJ is not for them, while another finds their life’s calling. The best thing I can do as an ambassador is be equally gracious in both situations.

Bernard Hopkins on longevity: