Photo by Daria Kochetkova Photography. IG: Tebezvonu.
If you have some experience on the mats, then you’re probably well aware that there are no real „shortcuts“ in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It’s all a matter of hard work, persistence, of being focused and eager to learn, practice and use new techniques and setups.
However, just because there aren’t any easy and fast ways for becoming better, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that you can do to improve faster. One of those things, namely, is limiting your options when you roll.
IT’S GOOD TO BE GOOD, BUT YOUR PROGRESS WILL SLOW DOWN
Are you familiar with the following saying: „If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got“? Well, there aren’t many scenarios in which this quote’s true as much as it is in BJJ.
Of course, you need to pursue and try to perfect the techniques and setups you’re already (reasonably) good at. By developing your A game and polishing it to the finest details, you’ll be better prepared for many more competition scenarios than it would otherwise be the case; and so, if you want to become a great Jiujiteiro, focusing on your strengths is a must!
But this doesn’t mean that all of your focus should be invested into your „good side“. There’s a need for balance! And not just for the sake of the belief that you should be a balanced martial artist, the one that knows almost all techniques at a solid level.
This is also necessary for the simple reason that you’ll plateau in your overall BJJ game if you only do what you’re good at. Sure, you’ll develop your strengths – but there’s only so much that you can improve in, if the other aspects are lagging behind.
For that reason, and if you truly want to fulfill your highest potential, you need to start limiting your options.
IMPROVE WAY FASTER BY LIMITING YOUR OPTIONS
Yes, limit your options! It’s quite simple to do: whatever you’re good at, throw it out of the window for the next few rolls. Be it a certain submission, setup or an escape technique you’re comfortable with, just stop doing it for a period of time. However, be sure not to choose these techniques in a random fashion.
Approach it from a strategic standpoint. Prior to going for a roll, ask yourself: „What are the things that I can eliminate in order to make the roll with this person into a really difficult one for me?“ Take into consideration what their own strengths and weaknesses are, and how you can enhance the former while limiting the latter.
Then, once you figure out which techniques and moves you need to eliminate, do just that – and try to figure out your way by using only what’s left at your disposal. Once the person you’re rolling next with comes up, ask yourself the same question – and get it going again.
An alternative approach to eliminating certain techniques would be to limit yourself to just a handful of them. That is, give yourself permission to pursue only a few of them while keeping the other ones out of reach. You can do this by making the same commitment as you did above – modelling your approach in accordance to the person that’s in front of you. Or, if that’s too much work, you can do it in every roll, across a pre-planned (yes, plan it out!) number of training sessions.
It’s through the limitations and hardships that you grow best… So take on the challenge and start improving way better than you ever have before!