Mindsets: Beginner’s Mind

‘Beginner’s Mind’ for me is keeping what I need to improve at the forefront of my mind.

In some ways this is a little like looking at the glass half empty, but the goal is to improve my Jiu-Jitsu, not to appear confident or positive.  I don’t think this is humility either so much as function.

Thinking out loud now if there’s something more I need to work here it is balancing the drive to fix things with surrendering to the process, as I probably try to solve things too consciously as opposed letting things chill in the subconscious for awhile before making a move.

Guard Passing: Re-Tooling My Pressure Passes

Pressure passes used to be my ‘go-to’ passes, but dropped out of my game (unless tired in which case I revert back to instincts) in favor finesse passes which rely on going around opponents instead of bodyweight.

Since then I’ve gone back to pressure passes the last few weeks with mixed success, the key being finding the ideal time to do each of these passes.  They’re perfect when you drop weight when as your opponents moves, the problem was I wasn’t thinking in terms of patience and ideal reactions.

So yeah, in the process of re-tooling all my old stuff.  The moves were good, I was just missing a few things mechanically here and there, and was forcing positions instead of waiting for optimal reactions.

Study: Misinterpreting Rolls & Results

Something I’ve realized in the past few days is every roll is individual, and everyone grapples and reacts in their own unique way.

Accordingly, what might work on one person gets you into trouble with another because the strength of their game comes from countering said position.

I think this is where a lot of disappointment comes from:

Thinking we’ve ‘arrived’ with a position because we’ve had success with it, only to have it shut down later, or worse still, get us into hot water.

Going back to the opening point, such thinking above a result of misinterpreting one roll and/or series of individual rolls as ‘success.’

Also, there is probably a degree of forcing positions down people’s throats instead of studying how different people react, and using those reactions to your benefit. As such the position I’m in less important than how some one is reacting to said position.

Taking this thought further, think of your best positions not as was to achieve end results, but probes you have confidence in. That is, take the result if it’s there, but use it primarily as a set-up that branches into varying degrees of counter-offense:

Move, but watch and feel first.

Training: Primary Goals

It’s important to have a primary goal for training sessions to smarten and simplify the process, otherwise it’s like showing up to the grocery store to do your weekly shopping starving with no plan. Yeah, you can still manage to buy healthy food and/or have a great session, but you haven’t stacked the odds in your favor.

Also, if you happen to let ego get in the way, a singular goal can help snap you back to the reality of having a good time getting ONE thing done. =)

Mindsets: Bringing Awareness To Training

The ‘goal’ of every moment of my life is to bring about a natural understanding and awareness of life as it relates to writings such as the Tao. The conundrum here is, there is no goal anymore than our skin scabbing over to heal from a cut would be fulfilling a goal.

Such as this goes, I don’t place Jiu-Jitsu higher than any other artistic pursuit, it just happens to be the one I’m most drawn towards. A problem I often see is people creating confusion by deifying BJJ, effectively removing the very insight or awareness originally sought!

So, what I’m talking about when I talk about ‘bringing awareness to training’ is chilling out enough to notice things as they happen both internally and externally and having that be the priority. Sometimes you’ll be in this space and sometimes not, but the key thing is being aware of it and it’s importance compared to ego driven pursuits of tapping some one out, our perceived ‘progress’, or defending the honor of our school.

You’ll know you’re in which place because one feels light and easy while the other feels heavy and burdensome.

Domination: Crimping Head Pressure aka Crimpin’ Ain’t Easy

While I do use cross-face and the blade of forearm against the neck for submission and control purposes, one direction I’ve neglected is pressure resulting from pulling our training partners head into their sternum. And, if you consider head/neck/spine ‘the’ central joystick controlling the core, this a whole direction to harness…


Pull the ladies (more accurately, the 1-2 women who train at your academy) by pulling dome pieces into diaphragms from everywhere…

Crimping to deflect leg insertion @ 3:36:

Crimping to set-up D’arce choke from Half Guard @ 1:19:

Crimping to set up Takedown (snap down) @ 2:14:

Crimping for added pressure control from Knee Ride @ 0:56:

Crimping Opponents head to break them down from inside Closed Guard @ 10:16:

And lastly, crimping to set up S-Mount and Armlock from Mount @ 2:12:

Study: Concepts Vs. Technique

Sometimes what we need to work on is general in nature, as in the case of me working on moving in space and flowing more, and sometimes things are more specific like how I need to take the time to drop my shoulder a few inches lower before wrapping the neck to cinch a cross-face in.

Going further, a technique is a detailed application of a concept or principle, not a start or end point. Sometimes I think we frame things as either/or answers in hope of a shortcut, but doing this shuts down part of the mind that wants to play, meeting information and possible solutions with curiosity, novelty, and innocence.

Principles: Motion

Noticed grappling my coach last night that he wasn’t putting any weight on me from Cross-Sides Top, which nullified moving him with bridges.  And, provided he didn’t have my arms, when I shrimped and/or went belly down, he was laying in wait with attacks from that next position.

This experience made me see how one and two dimensional my BJJ is, as theoretically I should be able to keep moving in space once it’s there, it’s just a matter of staying in motion via correct movement.  Two examples that come to mind I saw early in training (VHS days!) were Chris Haueter’s Guard Recovery against Cleber Luciano @ 6:10-6:35:

and Rickson Gracie vs. Rigan Machado:

…and lastly…

…Chris Haueter talking about functional aspects of perpetual motion @ 0:26-3:13:

Going to play around and study different types of motion and how they connect and will post more on this topic on the coming days.