Mindsets: Waiting Vs. Moving

The old school Jiu-Jitsu mentality was Jiu-Jitsu versus everyone else, where secrecy was at a premium.  What’s hilarious about this was back in the day we prided ourselves on dominating the untrained athletic tough guy or wrestler off the street who knew zero Jiu-Jitsu…

The obvious problem with the above is the flawed premise of ‘progression’ dictated on an opponents lack of knowledge.  By contrast, modern sport starts at the assumption of our competition having both knowledge of us and the game.

Back to the untrained/unskilled assumption, while I still thinking waiting for mistakes and patience are critical to good technique (otherwise were running over people without rhyme or reason), the complete BJJ needs to balance patience with movement.

That is, just like a boxer with good footwork, we’re assuming the opposition knows how to box, so we’re never giving them a stationary platform to attack.  No more laying flat on our back and waiting for a mistake.

Keep in mind, the waiting mentality was extremely energy efficient, but remember that people can and do move for hours at a time in marathon running through practice.  As such, we need to drill and be as energy efficient as possible in creating and selecting techniques.

To conclude, don’t expect your opponent to be garbage, and dial up both pressure and elusiveness through smart, tactical movement honed through practice.



Mindsets: Passion

Have been pretty disciplined this year thus far, which has been admittedly been a challenge over the years being largely on my own without a group of troops to rally around.

In the Spring and Summer I would have talked about consistency, and building a routine around the things you love; but now think there is an much greater, almost limitless cache of energy in loving the things you love…

Not saying routines are wrong, just that loving what you love can open up doorways unimaginable to the most well laid plans, goals, and design. =)


Mindsets: Moving From Batman To Yoda

Channeled the Batman archetype from 2010-2013 into what became ‘The Bat Blog’ over time here:


While Batman’s legacy as a Martial Artist cannot be understated, he’s driven by the past, emotion, and will.


Following an insight on not the content of thought (be it ‘positive’ or ‘negative’), but how full our minds are in any given moment, have begun a noob on the path of Yoda.


Yoda draws strength from self-awareness, sensory acuity, and the moment.

Still fully expect to dip down into ‘Batman’ from time to time, but the bigger picture is light at the start of a new journey. =)

Mindsets: Tension Vs. Yoda

The problem with a Yoda versus a more passion driven mind is tranquility isn’t compelling to the excitable.  There are no immediate benefits or rewards other than ease for the sake of itself.

Another trick we play on ourselves is tension feels like substance when in fact the thought(s) related to this tension may have little if anything to do with reality as experienced through the senses.

Bare itself to the simple mind, the world does. ;o)


Guard Passing: Reducing Passing Steps

Alluded to this in previous posts a bit, but an idea that is somewhat outdated both functionally and mechanically, is that we have to control the hips and lock down the upper body before ‘passing’ the legs in Guard.

The problem with these extra steps is they allow more opportunities for the Guard player on bottom to recover and/or launch counter offense.

So what’s being suggested instead is freezing the legs in place and going around or through the legs via a cut pass, THEN flattening opponent, controlling turtle top, or re-passing via smash pass depending on what unfolds.

Why this is a something to consider both functionally as well as mechanically is large body of MMA work has shown us that Turtle bottom can often be an even worse position to defend head trauma from than Cross-Sides bottom.

turtle strikes

So, tournament wise, while I understand the idea of awarding points for Guard Passes that require flattening the bottom player, I think it’s partially screwed up how we prioritize things….

To be clear, would prefer to get the bottom player flat while passing as it takes away their ability to stand, but and am not going to give the bottom player something EXTRA to grapple while in Guard to prevent them from getting Turtle if that makes sense…

Hopefully the attempted logic translates, and not beating a dead horse here, as this idea is a bit counter-intuitive based on how points are currently awarded in tournament Jiu-Jitsu.  Also, not necessarily suggesting anything different either as no point system by nature is going to be perfect.  The key is understanding the big picture and functional intention of rules as they relate to combat.

Guard Passing: Freezing

Have been creating Guard Passes around the idea of holding the bottom player in place and going around instead of flattening them out before passing.  Calling it freezin’:


By contrast, the old school approach is flattening out the opponent first so they’re horizontal when you get to Cross-Sides.  I remedy this by going to Knee-Ride if the Pass lends itself to that, or facing legs once past  hips and steering them to get hips flat.

Lastly, if they are stubborn with the legs I sometimes have to Re-Pass with a Smash Pass with hips on legs where both the bottom players knees are collapsed to the side detailed by Rafael Lavato Jr. @ 4:00-6:10 (entry discussed above is of course different as I’m starting on my knees while already past hips):

While these scenarios apply most directly to a Butterfly or ‘Seated’ Guard, the general idea is we’re looking to Pass in one step instead of two.

In more general terms, the above concept makes a certain sense in every Passing scenario from an economy of motion standpoint:  Don’t move them, move yourself using inherent hole(s) in their Guard structure against them, as their legs can’t be everywhere at once.

Guard Passing: The Hidden Advantage

Just as important as knowing when to advance is when to retreat…


For everyone who thinks Guard is a ‘neutral’ position, consider that a skilled top player can stop a bottom players retreat attempts (see ‘Shadowing’ post), whilst being able easily retreat themselves.

Of course, through study we can make Guard an extremely formidable both offensively and defensively, but a central tenant of Jiu-Jitsu is studying the strengths and limitations of each geography.

In this sense, there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ positions, just structural and physically based truths we can leverage to our degree of understanding.

Training: Mantras & Meditation

Playing around with footwork and posture last night, observed how easy it was for my mind to leap to other ideas and positions I could be working…

To remedy the above, thought of posture and footwork as a mantra and the training as meditation.

More concisely: Objective = Mantra, Training = Mediation.


Lastly, a few of last nights’ distracting ideas were actually pretty good, and going to hard journal some of them now.  So, another interesting thing is perhaps the general quality of our thoughts go up as a side benefit of being intentional, even though they’re distracting at the time?


Guard Passing: Shadowing

While experimenting with a more dynamic approach to Guard Passing, something I missed for awhile is you always need at least a little pressure on the person, whether it’s a hand on the ankle or foot, or simply distance.

Why?  Well the main reason is to prevent the bottom player from standing up, but a shadowing type pressure also has the psychological effect of water dripping on one’s head.  That is, the Guard player can move but they are never quite rid of us either.  Add to this that we have passes waiting, and it’s a long day for the person on bottom. Another analogy could be a booger that’s radioactive ;o):

Bonus: Chris Haueter on Standing & Three Dimensional Guard: