A few days ago I posted a “meme” on Facebook which featured a picture of me coaching and text reading “Don’t move for the sake of moving, move with purpose, on the mat and in life!” The picture received 75 likes, 12 comments, and was shared 24 times which really blew me away!

One of the comments was by blue belt blogger Jiu Jiu. It gave me great insight into the mindset of someone who has transitioned from a beginner to intermediate stage in this game we call Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The comment in part was this:

“When I first started I just MOVED because I had so much difficulty moving – my body felt like a parked car. My feeling was that I don’t know what I’m doing, but staying still is (almost) never the option, so I may as well move.”

This reminded me of how I coined the phrase in the first place. I was coaching one of my students when she remarked that she just moved because she didn’t know what to do. After all, as our commenter said “staying still is (almost) never the option” right? My answer is yes and no…..

Therein lies the problem!

If you move without intent you are wasting energy and not being efficient. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at its core revolves around efficiency of movement, technique, leverage, and conversely lack of movement and survival when deemed necessary. With that said, the majority of us have all been guilty of moving for the sake of moving as beginners! In fact, I’d go so far as to say some folks who’ve moved past the “beginner” stage fall prey to this from time to time.

I don’t know what to do, now what?

To some extent experimentation while rolling can be healthy and lead to a lot of self-discovery and “aha!” moments along your BJJ journey. There is a fine line however between trying things and just plain old not knowing what the heck you are doing! So this begs the question, if you don’t know what to do, what should you do?

Moving with purpose!

Firstly, I would encourage all beginners to focus on the boring old fundamentals you constantly hear your coach nagging you about! Not just any fundamentals, I believe the focus should be narrowed to survival and escapes the first several months of training. This is not to say that you shouldn’t work a sweep, guard pass, submission, or two, however the majority of training and drilling should be focused on defensive tactics.

Secondly, I highly recommend that all my students (and you too) find your “safe” or “survival” position. What is a safe or survival position you ask? This is a position which when attained provides you with security, albeit momentary in the beginning, and time to think and gather yourself instead of getting caught up in the fray of frenetic movement. For example, my safe position is half guard. When I obtain that particular position I don’t have a worry in the world because I know I can comfortably survive, sweep, submit, and advance my position in a variety of ways from there.

Lastly, I think it should be made very clear that every Jiu-Jitsu student is like a snow flake, and must develop according to the style that works best for them, instead of conforming because they are told that’s the “only way” to do something. You must find where your own comfort zone exists and adapt accordingly within the confines of proper technique and the aforementioned principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

I hope you found this informative and take the time to apply these concepts to your life on and off the mat! Please share this post with your friends if you enjoyed it and don’t hesitate to post a comment.

See you on the mats!

Coach Foster

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