Belts and Stripes – A Step In The Right Direction

What’s up people?! I hope you’re doing great today! So the first post of Belts and Stripes was more of an introduction, and even people who are not within the Jiu Jitsu branch are able understand the content of the post well enough. From here on out, however, the content will be specific and there will be some words that may be hard for you to understand if you do not practice Jiu Jitsu or a similar art of grappling.


About two to three weeks before, barely a week or so after the first post in this category, I believe that I have taken quite a big step in my evolution with my Jiu Jitsu game. Not that huge when someone is watching from the outside, but to me, it is quite the big deal!

Up until these few weeks before the present day, every time I rolled I felt such a rush through the whole time that I didn’t even stop to access and understand what was going on for most of the time. This behavior of mine always led me to be super agile, but it also left me without a clear strategy and worst of all, it left me without energy when I needed it the most.

So, about a couple of weeks ago, I had this little click and my game began to flow differently. I moved slower but with a lot more precision than before. This was an absolute game changer for me. Besides the energy that I save in each roll, I’m also getting more success in the techniques applied, be it escapes, guard passes, or submissions.

It’s like… How do I put it… You step back inside your own mind. It even seems like time is flowing differently, and by different, I mean slower. Much slower. At the beginning of the roll, we salute and then we proceed. Usually, my opponent chooses if he wants to sit or stand, but most of the time I’m still the one taking the initiation to either pull guard, throw him down or simply going ahead and try to pass my colleague’s guard, depending on what he does right at the beginning.

And with this decrease in my general speed, I now have the stamina to use my energy when I really need to, be it at escaping, passing guard or going for a submission. This whole change led me to these improvements, but the best thing is, I can now attack so much better than before. Usually, I roll with people who are more graduated than me or are currently on my level, of course, that it is rare for me to reach some submissions but at least I’m getting more chances to attack and then they will be obliged to defend, something that wasn’t even happening before, as I was simply rolling to survive.


Open Half Guard


So far, I’m having real trouble with my half guard, as most of my training colleagues simply force my back on the floor, and I get no chance to work a sweep from that position or simply reach their back and work my way out of there. I really need to improve my half guard because it is a position where I end up a lot while I’m below, but I still can’t escape or sweep my opponents.


Closed Guard


From the guard, I think my game is quite steady with what I know, although much of the stuff that I try to apply is already the common bread and butter for most of the people that I roll with. In between half a dozen techniques, I try like half of them before the position changes but unfortunately most of the time they either don’t work, or worse, I end up in a weaker position than before.


(“Kind”) Side Control


Then, last but not least, comes the position where I like the most to be, as the guy who passes the guard, I’m lacking the correct nomenclature for this one. In Portuguese/Brazillian, it’s called as being the “passador”. There aren’t many guys who have a strong guard in my academy and I’m not always able to pass their guard every time we roll, but when I do, I surely do my best to keep them beneath me. Usually, I go for a lapel choke around the neck once I rotate myself above them while keeping them from accompanying the movement. If that fails, I go for the knee on the belly and then try to mount.

If I get the chance, I’ll bury my knee on my opponent’s belly. Seems a little harsh at first if you’re wondering, but I’m actually aiming for their improvement. Colleagues who have more than three months of training should not get submitted by a knee on the belly, so I always try to get it there and see how they react in that crucial moment. When they get used to it, I don’t even consider in using it for that purpose, besides scoring those two precious points.

Every week I learn a lot of new stuff, some of it sticks, some other doesn’t, but eventually, I’ll build my game around what sticks and I’ll get better at it, one roll at a time. I’ll leave you guys a video from my teacher, explaining how to go to an arm triangle from the half guard. A pretty neat trick if you want to catch your opponent by surprise!

If you’re wandering around Vila do Conde or Póvoa de Varzim in Portugal, come and visit the team at Sparta Centro de Treinamento! Ask or check the page for the schedule of the classes.

Alright guys, this is it for this month’s of Belts and Stripes, I hope you enjoyed my training log and I’ll see you next time!



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