Daily Archives: May 29, 2014

BJJ: Finding the Purpose in the Movement

I’ve noticed a sort of a funny phenomenon when watching lower belts drill certain techniques: you can sort of tell when someone understands why they are doing something, versus someone who is going through the motions, because they don’t quite understand the purpose of their actions.

It’s like an actor who doesn’t quite understand the meaning behind their lines. Sure, they understand the general principle of what they are saying due to a knowledge of language and know there will be some sort of immediate reaction to what is said, but there is a lack of knowledge pertaining to the why. What prompts those particular words to be said, those actions to be taken?

The same thing happens in jiu jitsu: by and large we know our bodies are suppose to bend and flex a certain way, and putting your hand here and your foot there will create a certain result, but when it comes to the why-which in turns prompts the technique- some students, particularly in the beginning, are a bit mystified. It’s a disconnect that I am sure many, if not all of us have experienced at least once in our jiu jitsu careers. We don’t understand the purpose or principle behind the specific details of our actions, so we go through the motions until there comes a time when we eventually get the particulars:  You place your hand here to keep the person from breaking your posture, place your foot here to prevent them from sweeping you or upsetting your balance, so on and so forth.

Some ways, in my opinion, to bridge this gap or disconnect is to practice and train more, even if it’s just training in that particular position. And more importantly ask your instructor. Someone came up with this pass, sweep, etc. most likely because they were put into a particular position and thought this might work, and it did- quite well in fact, and enough times to be considered a technique worthy of being taught. And if you still are having trouble understanding, ask your instructor, or higher ranked teammate: chances are they have been in that situation plenty of times, and have come to understand the reason behind the technique and its details.

Have any of you noticed this, or have you experienced this personally? Not understanding the purpose behind a technique? Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!

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