Watching the blue belt division at a tournament, I witnessed a match where one competitor attempted to pass the bottom guard with a knee slice pass. The guard fighter, recognizing the pass, countered with a Z-guard / knee shield and stopped the pass . . .
….and there the match stalled for the duration of the 6 minutes.
The passer was in love with the knee slice and stubbornly persisted in attempting that SAME pass to that SAME side.
The match ended without any real change in position.
So determined was the passer on using THAT one pass, that he was blind to ANY other possibilities!
Martial arts icon Bruce Lee had a different philosophy:
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water.
When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup.
When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle.
When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
Water can drip and it can crash.
Become like water my friend.”
What does this mean for the jiu-jitsu blue belt in the tournament match?
When your opponent has stopped one of your attacks, you need to adapt to the changing situation and flow into a different technique or strategy.
In the example of the guard passer, let’s observe one of jiu-jitsu’s top guard passers, Leandro Lo.
Watching a highlight video of Leandro Lo’s passing, you will notice that he switches sides and confuses the opponent’s defense.
BJJ Scout: Leandro Lo’s Toreando Pass Study
Lo also changes between complimentary passes and looks for an opening when the opponent counters his initial attempt.
When opponents closes one door, they often open the other.
When we are mentally “stiff” and focus on only one solution to a problem, we close our minds to other more efficient solutions.
How often have you watched video after a roll of yours and did a face palm? “D’oh! The pass was RIGHT THERE and I couldn’t see it!”
Try to follow Bruce Lee’s advice and “be like water” in your jiu-jitsu.