Riz's Martial Arts Training

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Beginning BJJ

Four new members joined our BJJ class last week. It was interesting to observe how each of them approached the art differently especially, how each approached the rolling segment of the class.

A & B rushed forward into each other with little recollection of the techniques and positions presented to them just a short while before; C spent the majority of his time trying to keep as much distance as he possibly could; and D, vigilantly worked towards closing the gap...and then pushing away his partner to reopen it.

Each of the new members demonstrated a different strength - A&B showed aggression and endurance. C, constantly moving, demonstrated speed and a high work rate. And D showed perseverance whilst trying to play a slower game.

BJJ is probably one of the most complex and intricate martial arts in the mainstream. It's no surprise that beginners to the art may have little to no idea what to do when they roll - it can be a little overwhelming! It takes a lot of training and a fair amount of time before one's hard work begins to blossom into successful submissions, escapes and transitions (not necessarily in that order!).  

A valuable thing one can do straight away is to start thinking BJJ - I'm not suggesting one turn into a human technique encyclopaedia...I'm referring to developing an overall understanding of the BJJ game. Not only will this provide one with direction during their rolls, it'll help understanding in the application of different drills.

Stephan Kesting's e-book 'A Roadmap for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' is a great place to start. Having stumbled across this some weeks back, it's a resource I wish I had read years ago! The e-book is free to download and distribute; I'll also add a link to Stephan's 'Beginning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' site (which has a free e-course as well) to my link bar. Alternatively, you can download the book here (it's only 3MB):


'A Roadmap for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' goes over all the basic positions in BJJ and then takes things one step further by explaining the hierarchy of positions. Stephan has also included transition flowcharts, photos and instructions/ideas of what to think about whilst rolling. For experienced BJJ practitioners, this e-book can act as a little reminder to what your juniors are thinking and how they're feeling - everyone needs a dose of empathy once in a while! 


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