I'm new to bjj!

Discussion in 'Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu' started by Nabakatsu, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. Nabakatsu

    Nabakatsu Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    Hello there, I was hoping to pick some more experienced peoples brains about bjj.
    Basically I'm curious to know the advantages and disadvantages to my approach as of right now.
    I come from a background of Wing Tzun, and within that system I was taught the ground = death in a street fight. I'm not a huge man, but I'm strong and slippery for my size, 160lbs and 5"11.
    When free rolling I really like trying to force positions with strength and persistence, because in part, I've been practicing for less than 2 weeks, and don't know a lot of technical information, but part of me also thinks this will be most applicable to transitioning into mma, or competitive rolling in tournaments. While I understand the idea of not trying to over exert oneself, I feel like it's a good way to gain strength, cardio, and challenge my partners.
    That being said I'm definitely gentle when I am able to lay on submissions. (My class is almost all white belts)
    When I am more relaxed my guard is getting passed much more frequently, and I have a hard time getting into dominant positions. I've gone into it with really sore muscles with the idea being that I was just going to try to survive, which was pretty tough. My offense has proven aide my defensive significantly.
    Obviously when I've rolled with more experienced guys me exerting myself a lot hasn't really proved to be very beneficial.. Anyways, please educate me if you would be so kind, thanks for your time! :)
     
  2. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2016
    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    208
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    It certainly can. That is not the same thing as saying that one should avoid training the ground.

    Jiu-Jitsu is about efficiency and getting the best bang for your buck. While it is good to be strong (in fact, I would see it is incredibly important), there will always be someone stronger. I also wouldn't consider Jiu-Jitsu your answer for strength training as there are far more effective ways of doing that, but it certainly is good conditioning.
     
  3. Nabakatsu

    Nabakatsu Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    Thanks for your response!

    I'm also curious about this:
    I've been training like 4-5 days a week for about 2 hours each session and I've been struggling to lift weights in my down time, do you think I will gain enough conditioning to eventually work out frequently again? Or is this another reason to rely more on technical skill once I acquire it?
     
  4. Nabakatsu

    Nabakatsu Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    I suppose like most things the answer may lie in the middle.
     
  5. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2016
    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    208
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    You will eventually get comfortable enough to lift in addition to that, but if you are training that much, your conditioning will take care of itself. Be careful of burnout though. Lots of guys start BJJ and get addicted, myself included, and try to train too much.

    Also, don't get me wrong. Strength is not bad. In fact, it is very good. Presuming everything else is equal, I will put my money on the stronger person almost every time. What people are concerned about in BJJ is using strength as a substitute for skill. As long as you can avoid that mindset, there is zero reason to avoid strength training, and plenty of good that can come from it.
     
  6. Nabakatsu

    Nabakatsu Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    Thanks again! :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2016
    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    208
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    Cheers. I'm pretty new to it as well, but it is certainly addictive. It's one of the very few places where I am 100% in the moment.

    Where are you training?
     
  8. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2014
    Messages:
    12,965
    Likes Received:
    2,567
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Expend your strength in the scramble expend your strength on your escapes
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. JR 137

    JR 137 Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,876
    Likes Received:
    868
    Trophy Points:
    318
    Location:
    In the dojo
    If ground = death in a street fight, then you'd certainly want to train in how to stay off the ground and how to get off the ground in case your attacker tries to take you there.

    I agree that the ground is the last place you want to be in a street/bar fight. You're more of a sitting duck than if you're on your feet. Someone breaking my into your home or a man sexually assaulting a woman is quite another situation.

    I wrestled and coached it for quite a while, so my anti-ground isn't coming from a guy who's never done it before. Any martial artist who hasn't trained in ground fighting and throwing/being thrown is an incomplete martial artist.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Nabakatsu

    Nabakatsu Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    To char: I am training in a small place close to my house, nothing extraordinary, but having observed what makes a good teacher, I am very happy to be where I am, although I feel like I need to be against higher levels guys more frequently so I can experience more soul crushing defeat and overcome it.

    Drop bear, that sounds like very good advice, I'll try to keep that in mind, I definitely use the most energy attempting to escape. Although it's a lot of fun for me to try and muscle my way into americanas and arm bars and such.

    Jr137: I guess I should clarify a little, I mentioned that I was taught the ground = death, to demonstrate part of why I have a hard time not going bonkers when I get in bad positions, that and I have some suspect joints, namely my knees. I totally agree that not having throws/ground knowledge makes one an incomplete martial artist, that was initially where my biggest interest in trying bjj stemmed from.

    Thanks for all of your responses, they are much appreciated!
     
  11. kuniggety

    kuniggety 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2015
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    263
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    Oahu, Hawaii
    Some good responses have been made.

    I'll put this in perspective. I'm 2 inches taller than you and 40 lbs heavier. If you want to start forcing things, who do you think is going to have the advantage?

    Also, think about your focus and body weight when you're forcing something. You say you're rolling with mostly white belts right now. How's it working with the blue+ belts? When I'm rolling with a white belt and they start fixating on something, that's generally when I'm sweeping them. My current coach is a black belt who is much smaller than me (smaller than you). When I've rolled with him, he does the same to me. We did a drill on starting in the half guard. I was on top and started the usual pressure pass and then turned, grabbed his arm, and went for an americana. I had it in my head I'm bigger and can hold him down. I had my weight too forward so he switches from the half guard to a single butterfly hook coupled with his free arm and launches me over his head.

    Another story. About a year ago I sparred with a coworker with a wrestling background (and way more fit than me). He took me to the ground every time. Everything he did was at full strength while I'm just chilling on the bottom and waiting for weight shifts. Who do you think got tired super fast and got tapped multiple times?

    There is a time and a place for strength. As drop bear said, use your strength explosively in your escapes and transitions. Everything else should be pretty zen.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    Messages:
    6,354
    Likes Received:
    3,673
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Maui
    Just have fun, train for a year or two, and you'll be stepping up to the microphone saying, "My name is Nabakatsu and I am an arm-bar-aholic."
     
  13. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    4,313
    Likes Received:
    2,959
    Trophy Points:
    403
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    BJJ instructor here ...

    Forcing position through persistence is fine. Eventually you'll learn when it's a good idea to persist in working towards a position and when it's better to adapt and flow into something different, but it's fine to start out with a default towards persistence.

    Forcing position through strength is not going to help you learn much of anything. One of the first principles of BJJ (like Judo) is maximum efficiency with minimum effort. If you rely on strength in training, you aren't going to learn the easy way of doing things.

    In competition or a real fight, things are a bit different. Your main goal is winning, so you want to use all the tools at your disposal, including physical attributes like strength. Even there, though, you don't want to waste your available strength. If you've learned to move efficiently, you can keep your strength in your back pocket and pull it out just when you need it.

    Realistically, even if you make a conscious effort to relax and rely on technique, you're still going to be using plenty of strength while rolling in the immediate future. That's because you're a beginner and you don't know how to use good technique yet. You'll be using way more strength than you need to and your partners will be getting practice on how to overcome that strength with superior leverage, positioning, timing, posture, structure, awareness, and adaptability. The more you focus on keeping your strength in reserve, the sooner you'll get to the point where you're the one beating stronger opponents with superior technique.

    Yep. Right now you don't know much in the way of technique, so your physical attributes are all you have to work with. If the point of rolling was to win, you'd be absolutely correct in using them to the fullest extent.

    The thing to remember is that rolling isn't about winning. It's about learning. If you are able to retain guard or win a superior position just through the application of strength, you haven't learned anything. If you get your guard passed and you are able to identify the technical flaws which allowed that to happen, then you have learned something useful.

    Even if you really, really like "winning" during a roll, remember that in the long-term the students who invest in learning through losing will eventually be kicking the butts of the students who are only focused on "winning" each roll.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. JR 137

    JR 137 Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,876
    Likes Received:
    868
    Trophy Points:
    318
    Location:
    In the dojo
    It's not surprising at all that he did what you said. Wrestlers have time limits and get warned and penalized for stalling. We're taught to constantly keep going. If you're waiting around in wrestling, you're being lazy. Yes you need to be patient and not force everything, but it's not nearly as much of a chess game as BJJ seems to be to me.

    As a guy with no BJJ experience, it seems to me that BJJ guys like to take their time and fight for position, whereas as wrestlers are really only interested in 1 position - our opponent flat on his back and being pinned.

    With very few exceptions, wrestlers are constantly working toward a pin. The quicker the better. It's an ADD mentality compared to BJJ.
     
  15. Nabakatsu

    Nabakatsu Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    Thanks again for the awesome replies! The perspective and info is very helpful!
     
  16. stonewall1350

    stonewall1350 Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    37
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Florida
    I can save you a lot of heart ache. Never EVER muscle through a technique. All the force in your body will not help you if you apply something wrong. Be like water. Flow with the path of least resistance. And don't forget: water is very powerful and has much more force through those paths of least resistance.

    I know that sounds like hokum, but look at the guard pass. That is one technique you will become intimate with soon lol. It is worthless when you do it wrong, regardless of struggle. But if you do it right...then all the energy you put into will serve you much better.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  17. stonewall1350

    stonewall1350 Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    37
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Florida
    I actually have something to add: I'm a heavyweight. 6'1 260. So I frequently have a weight advantage. My instructor tells me to use this. The reasoning is that when my weight is placed down correctly on someone...big or small...they go nowhere. Try not to force things. If it feels wrong...make it feel right. Flow like water.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. KaiShiQuan

    KaiShiQuan White Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    I haven't trained long either, but I cross train 3 other styles and wake up at 430am to weight train 4 days a week. You should be able to work out in tandem with training. Just with any new routine, the first 2 weeks seems to be the worst. If you're driven enough you'll always find a way to make it work for you.
     
  19. KangTsai

    KangTsai 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    May 5, 2016
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    166
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    As for "ground=death" that wing chun tends to propagate, it really depends.

    Let's say you get good enough at BJJ that you can basically toy with most people. Then, "ground=win."
    Let's say the other person in an attack/street fight pulls a knife from the ground. Now it's "ground=high chance of death, mate, get out."
    Multiple attackers and you willingly go to the ground? "Ground=death."

    Also as for strength over technique/knowledge, I can swear that YouTube helps alot. I managed to utilise a grounded headlock defence and a Williams guard which I first learned on YouTube to assist with current 'formal' BJJ learning.
     
  20. KangTsai

    KangTsai 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    May 5, 2016
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    166
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Cardio and strength is more oriented toward wrestling, not that you can't mix your game up. Strength dependent moves are generally countered with little effort.
     

Share This Page