The Importance Of Proper TIMING In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The Importance Of Proper TIMING In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Photo by Daria Kochetkova Photography. IG: Tebezvonu.

Not everything is about techniques in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Sure, technique is most important – for, if you don’t have it, what will you build your game on? Absolutely nothing, and so you’ll certainly lose. But, when you use your techniques is almost equally important as the techniques themselves.
That’s where the concept of timing steps in. Here’s why timing is so important in BJJ, and what you can do to improve your sense of it – in the words of Henry Akins.



The concept of timing is a very important one, as instructor Akins points out. It basically denotes doing the right thing, at the right time; that is, going forward with a given technique only when the time for executing it is as perfect as possible.
So, you could guess that timing is extremely important to get right in Jiu Jitsu. For example: you may have the most perfect of Armbar finishes out there, or the tightest Rear Naked Choke… But what does it matter if you went for an Armbar when the opponent’s arm is fully bent, their elbow glued to their chest in bottom Side Control? Or, why would it matter if you have the greatest RNC if you’re setting it up just as your opponent posted his hand and lowered his chin for defense?

So, alongside with technique, you have to know when it’s the right time to use it. And it often goes hand in hand with using the opponent’s movement against them. Instructor Akins shows this through a couple of examples; such as when you’re in bottom Side Control. When here, your goal is to escape it, and it’s your opponent’s job to keep you at bay.
And what do they do to fulfill this task? They’ll – especially when they’re just setting up their control – drive their bodyweight into you. This is the perfect moment for you to use your timing; utilize their body’s movement to push them into the same direction they’re going towards. You’ll get them off of you easily… As opposed to the situation where you’d just try to push them away (bench press, anyone?) when they’re simply holding position.

You have to be wary of how they move and how they react to your movement. Instructor Akins shows a situation when you’re in top Side Control and the opponent defends by pushing your face away. To do this, they have to extend their arm.
Therefore, this is a good time to go for that Armbar! Why struggle with extending their arm if they’re already doing that for you?



Timing is one of those things that can only get better with mat time and enough practice. You can’t force it, as having a sense of when it’s best to both attack and defend in a particular manner is only derived from experience. From trying and failing, over and over again; but also from just being there.

Because, the more time you spend rolling, the more of a feel you will get when it’s a good time to go for something and when it’s not. That is, you’ll start noticing the ways your opponents’ bodies move before they do something; and once you’ve noticed it enough times, it will become second nature to you to utilize what needs to be used against them.
So, devote time to acquire good timing. Plus, as a bonus – once you get the sense for it, you’ll find that it’s difficult to lose.


Watch Henry Akins explain and demonstrate down below:

The scarf hold position may be one of the MOST EFFECTIVE, yet misunderstood positions in all of BJJ. Often the position is viewed as risky in jiu-jitsu, but yet this method of control is a staple in the arsenals of so many other grappling arts! The stigma ends here.

Steal souls with incredible details on entries, methods of control, adding pressure, and finishing from the scarf hold position by Rickson Gracie black belt Henry Akins.

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