A Reader Question: “Should I Just Concentrate on Escapes For My First Year?”

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“I read somewhere that the most important thing is to learn escapes when I start bjj.
Is it true that I should concentrate on escapes for my first year of training?”

This is a good question.

The reality is, in a bigger academy with plenty of blue and purple belts that for your first year or so of bjj, you WILL find yourself more often than not on the bottom defending.

By virtue of the fact that you will spend the majority of your rolling time on the defensive, warding off submission attempts and trying to escape bad situations, this wisdom makes a lot of sense!

But it is not entirely true.
You must be learning ALL of the positions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

One of the key ways to learn the submission defence is to learn the attack!
What do you need to successfully complete a submission?

Now don’t allow your opponent to get that!
Now it isn’t quite that simple, but the point is that you need to learn both sides.

An interesting conversation on the mat the other day had one student who came from a judo background.
He said that he had convinced his girlfriend to try some judo classes.
The judo dojo was a very traditional environment where students were first taught a limited number of techniques and expected to repeat endlessly (in the old school Japanese style).
He said that the girlfriend ONLY trained breakfalls (how to fall safely) for the 1st week.
Breakfalls ARE important for student safety…but how many students would fall in love with judo if all they practised were falling on the mat hundreds of times?
Needless to say, she quickly lost interest and abandoned judo altogether!

So, for students of bjj the same idea applies.

Sure, you should be applying most of your training time and energy to learning the fundamentals.
How to escape and defend.

But we are human beings who want to also have FUN in training.
Learning some triangles, arm locks and more advanced techniques is a HUGE part of the enjoyment of training.
To not learn submissions would be like taking up boxing and not being allowed to throw a punch!

In reality, you probably can’t get to a dominant position against a higher belt in rolling to try those submissions quite yet.
But if your training is too monotonous and devoid of the fun stuff, you are not likely to be sufficiently motivated to continue showing up for very long.

Learn your defence and escapes..but also allow yourself some fun training to try crazy, fancy submissions and have fun!

on Jiu-jitsu Times: How Do I Remember My Techniques?

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