Look for Principles

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2 minute read

What I consider as one of the coolest things about BJJ is this:

There are universal principles that you can use in many different situations.

You might be lucky to have coaches and senior grapplers who are big on sharing these BJJ principles with you. If this is the case, pay extra attention to what they say when they mention “principles” (or “concepts”).

Or you might not have access to such people and are on your own in your BJJ journey.

Either way, be on the lookout for these BJJ principles. Even when they are left unexplained, they are everywhere.

Understanding these principles can help you improve your game.

And keep in mind that what works in one context can work in a different context as well.

What’s even more helpful is to think and find where these concepts can be applied in other areas of your game.

One example:

I’ve (finally) started watching Mikey Musumeci’s de la riva guard instructional series. Mikey covers a lot of principles that apply not just to de la riva, but the guard position in general.

At one point, Mikey was explaining how important it is to open your opponent’s elbow by making it rotate externally. I’m not new to this principle itself in other contexts, but I had never thought of applying this principle while playing the de la riva guard.

Also, it somehow upgraded my understanding of the spider guard, which is what I use mainly.

I haven’t thought much about how this concept can be applied in other positions, but this updated knowledge of this open elbow concept can improve my game a bit. And this is only one of the many principles out there.

Especially when you’re a beginner, you might get confused by specific steps and instructions about a particular move, but make sure to get the essential principles behind it (and do ask your coaches & seniors about these principles).

And if you’re more advanced, think about how you could apply the principles you know to other areas of your game where you hadn’t thought about using these principles.