I went to the beginner BJJ class at noon on Tuesday, then the advanced class last night, and I got to partner with a woman in both classes, which is unprecedented! I worked with Bhuvana on Tuesday, and Sara on Wednesday. Since we did a lot of drilling escapes (both with and without resistance) in the advanced class, I was really glad that I was working with the only person at Lincoln BJJ who actually weighs less than me! Not to mention that Sara is a very talented blue belt, and we had fun together. I did better against Sara yesterday than I was expecting, but in my self-deprecating way I’m going to guess she was probably taking it easy on me.
Bhuvana is one of our white belt women, and she’s a mother who’s close to 40 years old, so it’s really exciting for me to have her training with us! On Tuesday she told me that it was a privilege for her to work with a blue belt, but I feel like I do an inadequate job of helping explain things. For example, when we were doing positional grappling and I was in top side-control, she couldn’t get out, and she kept saying she was doing it wrong. Aside from maybe needing to shrimp a little more, she was basically doing the technique right, but at the time I didn’t tell her why it didn’t work, so I’m going to try to rectify that now.
The problem was that she just kept trying to do the same escape, and I knew how to stop it. When you learn a technique in BJJ, even if you do it 100% correctly, it’s not going to work every time, especially against someone with more experience. To equate it to punching, you can have a killer head punch, but if all you do is stand there and punch at someone’s head, they’re just going to keep blocking it, and you’re probably never going to hit them. You have to move, feint, even trick them, in order to land that punch.
The depth of your knowledge is very important in Jiu-Jitsu, you have to know and attempt several different things in order to get any of them to work. If you’re bigger and stronger than your opponent, you may be able to force something, but usually the person with more knowledge wins. When a technique doesn’t work, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing it wrong, just that your partner knows how to counter it, and if you then continue trying to do the same thing over and over again, it’s typically an exercise in futility.
It’s difficult in the beginning when you only know a limited number of techniques, but one of the keys to BJJ is to figure out how to string several things together. If one escape doesn’t work, try another, then another, then go back to the first one. Eventually you will start to feel which technique to use when, and things will open up.
They say Jiu-Jitsu is like chess, and you can’t get to checkmate with just one move! That’s why there are so damn many techniques in BJJ, and new ones are being created all the time. Strategy is just as important as technical application, because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is tricky, and sometimes you have to be tricky yourself.