Depth of Knowledge

Roy Harris BJJ

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In part one of this article on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I want to take a magnifying glass to the topic of technique and show you there’s more to the topic than meets the eye. Are you ready to join me on this fascinating journey? Here we go:

Recently, I taught a semi-private lesson to a group of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blue belts, and the topic of “depth of knowledge and understanding” came up. I encouraged the students to try to not become so enamored with “the technique trap” (where the primary goal is to continually learn more and more techniques without a major chunk of time devoted to developing skills and understanding). Instead, I encouraged them to continue to memorize, practice, and develop what they thought already knew.

Next, I decided to give them a memorable experience. I asked each of them to place me inside of their guard and to prevent me from passing it. I told them they could use any guard of their choosing. I also told them they could mix any of the guards into any combination (e.g. Closed, Spider, De La Riva, butterfly, rubber, worm, inverted, etc.) Each student tried hard to prevent me from passing their guard, but eventually, I passed. I did so by moving very slowly and deliberately – like Grandpa on valium. From their perspective, it appeared as though I had used the same under-the-leg guard passing technique each time. I asked them, “What did you see and what did you feel?” They all said something to the effect, “You passed our guard using the same under-the-leg guard pass and none of us could stop you.”

(NOTE: I know some who will read this post will say, “Yeah, but they were blue belts. And you are a 6th-degree black belt. So, that’s not really an admirable feat!“ While this statement is true, it must be noted that I have done this same thing on BJJ black belts who visited San Diego and asked if they could come and train with me. Each of these black belts said the same thing as the blue belts. So, there’s a lot more to the topic than meets the eye!)

To their comment, I replied, “Good. That’s what I thought you would say. Now I want to show you the eight (8) ways of passing the guard under the leg.”

They looked at me as though to say, “What do you mean, ‘Eight ways of passing the guard under the leg? You only taught us one way.’”

I smiled ☺️

Next, I showed them the eight (8) ways of using the basic under-the-leg guard passing technique, the four (4) primary positions secured before passing, as well as the associated pressures used in passing the guard. After watching the jaws hit the ground in disbelief, I waited for their follow-up remarks.

In part two of this article, I will share their responses with you as well as my follow-up responses. But before I let you go, I will share with you the eight (8) ways of passing the guard by using the under-the-leg guard passing technique:

#1 – Pass the guard to the right by using my right hand.
#2 – Pass the guard to the right by using my right bicep.
#3 – Pass the guard to the right by using my head.
#4 – Pass the guard to the right by using my right shoulder.
#5 – Pass the guard to the right by using my chest.
#6 – Pass the guard to the right by using my stomach.
#7 – Pass the guard to the right by using my right hip.
#8 – Pass the guard to the right by using my right thigh.

NOTE: I teach a total of twelve (12) methods of passing the guard by using the under the leg guard passing technique. I also teach simple concepts to guide the student through the guard passing process as well as a handful of positioning methods and pressures used to secure one’s position before the guard pass. And, on top of all of this, I teach my students how to secure the guard pass so they don’t end up inside their opponent’s guard a second or third time. For example, when I am serious about passing someone’s guard, I use methods #5 and #6 about 90% of the time. And, I combine this with 100 kilos hold-downs #2 and #3. Why? Because they work so well together (e.g. even on the guys and gals who are flexible and are proficient at replacing the guard or going to their knees, etc.).

Having read this far, are you intrigued by the depth of knowledge and understanding I have written about? Do you see its value? If so, I want to encourage you to find the time to take a private lesson with me either face-to-face in San Diego or over the Internet by using a video conferencing service. I guarantee this lesson will change your perspective and help you become a more efficient student of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

Good training to you,

Roy Harris

P.S. Do you have questions or comments about this post? Let me know in the comments below, by sending me an email, or by clicking on the social media icon above and writing to me there!

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