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  • sarahdraht

4 Layers of Jiu-Jitsu


I always tell my students there are many different layers of Jiu-Jitsu.I am going to sum it up to only 4, because I can talk about Jiu-Jitsu all day and I sure you can read about it all day. But we both probably have more things we need to do today. So we will sit on 4 concepts (these concepts are also applicable to Muay Thai):


1) Seeing and learning a technique 2) Putting the technique to muscle memory 3) Executing everything around the technique:

A) The setup,

B) The technique itself.

C) The closing.



Yes, these are my Jiu-Jitsu belts.

Set up - Sometimes I’ll hear students say ‘it doesn’t work Coach Sarah’. First I check the technique, If it is correct I check the set up. Jorden told me a long time ago the set up of the technique is just as important as the technique itself.

One aspect of advanced fundamentalists is when Jiu-Jitsu practitioners can execute a fundamental technique by using a phenomenal set up. An amazing example is the Jiu-Jitsu match of the decade Roger vs Buchecha. Roger finishes Buchecha with a basic choke from the back. This is no fancy choke, this is the choke we all learn within the first couple classes of training. This must be appreciated, Picture it - two of the best black belts in the World, at the best tournament in the World - Buchecha had seen this choke a millions times, probably taught it just as many. For Roger to set finish him with it is absolutely incredible. It was the talk of the JIu-Jitsu world and still is.


See the breakdown in the video below:


https://youtu.be/0SN2zwF-S1w



I have so much appreciation for solid Jiu-Jitsu foundations.

The technique itself - if it is a submission are you tightly closing in and cleaning up every small detail to complete the submission? If it's a sweep are you using your opponents energy against them or are you forcing it? Etc.


The closing - what. happens after the technique is executed. Did you put the submission on slow and controlled in your to not injure your opponent? If it's a sweep or pass did you hold the dominant position for your points? Etc.


Which brings me to my last point:

4) Executing the technique in a tournament.

Making the technique work against someone who is my size and my experience level - this can only be executed when I know the technique so well my muscles have memorized it.


An analogy I like to use is: When we first see a technique our minds have to learn it, eventually after hours, weeks, and sometimes years of repetition the memory expands from the mind to the muscles. Then the technique is executed out of muscle memory, before the brain has to tell the body to do, the body is already doing it.

It is so incredible what the human body can do. Of course it can overwhelming sometimes and even frustrating to learn a new technique and concept.

My answer? Learn how to enjoy the journey and have fun while learning. Because there will always be new concepts and techniques. Coming back from pan ams - today was my first day back on the mats and we got started to work right away with the holes in my game. Overwhelming? Yes. Necessary? Yes.

I’m a brown belt. Learning never stops . It’s what keeps me hungry. I need to understand this and I need to get better at this.

One of the beauties of Jiu-Jitsu is everything has a purpose. As I moved through my new concepts today I asked ‘why is this hand here? Why is that grip there?’.Every single hand and foot placement, every single grip, every single hip movement has a job. I love figuring out what that job is and why, once I do it helps me understand the technique.

Lately i have been working on the sensitivity of my feet, using them as a secondary set of hands . I appreciate this learning curve and opportunity because there is nothing in life that would give me the opportunity to use my body to its fullest potential, and to move and adapt like Jiu-Jitsu does.

It’s about one day at a time on the mats. Learning as much as we can as well as we can.

I tend to look ahead a lot, what I need to learn, what I need to do. My goals. But it’s just as important to glance behind me every now and then to see how far I’ve come. And sometimes I'm surprised.

I think it is important to respect the incredible work we are doing on the mats every day.

We need to do each technique to the absolute best of our ability. Carefully watching all the small details. The grips, hip movements, the feet placements... Because one day we will realize those small things were actually big things.


Enjoy the process and stay hungry




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