Pressure in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


Pressure…not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when making a list of “Things I Enjoy Being Under”.

Pressure is essential in Brazilian Jiu Jistu.  At the time of this writing I’m a mid-level blue belt and am just learning about pressure.  Actually, I take that back – I’ve always been taught pressure, but am just now realizing the benefit of it.

I’m sure every practitioner has experienced by now the feeling of tapping out because someone is lying on your chest, or a vicious knee-in-the-belly.  That’s pressure.  Only recently have I tried to maintain pressure in all positions – from passing the guard, to side control, to knee in the belly or mount.  I don’t think proper knee-in-the-hip in side control or knees being tight when keeping the mount – Not to say I’m past that, but its reactionary now.  My only focus, win or lose, is to be heavy and relax.

“Make myself heavy.”  That’s all I think about when moving.  Coincidentally, making yourself heavy also makes the other guy move around more.  Moving around more equals more opportunities for me.  More opportunities for me equals better positions and better positions, of course, equals submissions.  The meat of this whole thing? 

Pressure = wins.

Here’s what amazes me about Jiu Jitsu; It makes lazy people.  Now hear me out on this before you blow me up on this; You start off in the art as an intense spazoid, then you learn techniques, positions, submission, safe zones…by the time you reach the higher levels, you KNOW where you’re safe and what can be done…no need to rush…you’ve earned your right to be lazy because you know what you’re doing.  Don’t believe me?  Think abou the first time you rolled with a purple, brown or black belt.  Chances are you expected to lose but not for them to make it look like you were about as threatening as a cloudy day. 

Remember these?

You get your white belt, you’re finicky, intense, and try to muscle the other guy.  Getting “gassed” is an everyday (if not every minute) occurance

Blue belt – you can relax a little, but still panic and go for the kill before proper position, you’re coming into your own game and still use strength when needed (but it’s now less than white belt).

Purple belt – You have your game developed and are in the process of rounding off the edges…coming up with combinations…tightening things up…which is what this whole thing is about…tightening things up.

Pressure does a lot.  Your dead weight makes the other guy miserable.  Not wanting to tap out because you’re leaning on him, he moves, and you react.  Over time, you know how he’ll react, so your pressure makes him go where you want.  Once you learn how to do that, it’s on to the next key and the next belt and the next level.  For now, it’s pressure and nothing else.



Categories: EVERYTHING (in no particular order), Jiu Jitsu and Judo

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