Yeah, But It Never Happens That Way

Big jiu jitsu realization yesterday.

“Yeah, but it never happens that way.”

I realized pretty quickly in rugby that the way we drilled some things in practice never happened in a game. But it doesn’t mean there wasn’t value in drilling.

We’d practice approaching a ruck and binding onto your teammate before you got there, getting hip to hip, and hitting the ruck in unison. Yeah, nobody will drill rucking that way now, but it was the early 90s. But what did happen during games is that you’d find yourself in a ruck and naturally reaching for a teammate to bind onto. It felt weird not to.

The scrum sled didn’t push back. But during matches you found that the tight binds and combined strength you’d worked on in order to move the dead weight gave your pack better stability and prevent sloppy scrums.

You get the idea. And I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that the same is true for BJJ. It’s almost NEVER going to go down the way you drilled it unless you have a ton of experience and ability over your opponent. They pretty much have to be completely unaware of what’s happening to not put up any sort of obstacle.


It seems like it becomes more and more about concepts than steps I guess. I mean, do you really want to go through the 14 steps it takes to get an armbar? Wouldn’t you rather be ableĀ  to recognize the situation and see that 8 of the first 9 steps are completed, and if you can borrow a step from another technique to fill in the missing step, you’re almost there?

I guess that’s what these really good have going for them. They have options layered into options. It’s a Choose Your Own Adventure book with a million pages, and they are writing new chapters as they roll.

Also, you get your ribs broken sometimes too.

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