If Jiu Jitsu was a test of strength, we could just have a set of weights at the door – and a contest as you come in to see who is strongest, and then go home having never touched the mats. Now wouldn’t that be silly?
You know how new White belts rely on strength and physicality? And upper belts tell them they should use less strength and more technique, right? But wait… some upper belts come across as using strength at times don’t they? Have you ever noticed how a 165 pound black belt can feel like he weighs over 200 pounds? The experienced guys can focus their strength in ways that perhaps make you think they are much stronger than you or that they are using strength but that may or may not be true.
5x BJJ world champion Bernardo Faria is a very powerful guy, and he has been accused of using ‘too much’ strength by some teammates. Faria shares an interesting anecdote of a conversation he had with his instructor, which changed his view on using strength in Jiu-Jitsu.
He approached his instructor telling him about the accusations of him using too much strength coming from teammates. His instructor answered: “Are you getting tired when you roll using strength?”. Bernardo answered that he wasn’t and had no problem rolling consecutive rolls. “Continue what you’re doing. If you’re gassing out then use more technique.” The instructor replied.
Former Navy Seal commander and BJJ black belt Jocjo Willink explains his views on the subject: