Not using too much power is important if you want to develop your technique, but if you want to develop a game you can really use against another competitor at a similar level, you have to be very active in your training and avoid the laziness of relaxing. I am NOT talking about spazzing out, but I am saying that you have to take the fight to the opponent at 100% in training if you want to really improve.
I didn’t realize this until after a private with Marcelo Garcia. He told me that I was too relaxed and that I would need to step it up if I wanted to really be ready for a competition. He was totally right. Just giving myself permission to force the fight to go where I wanted it to go made a huge difference in the game. I used to counter attack, but now I can lead, counter, and defend as needed. It added a whole new dimension to my game.
It was as Marcelo said in Arte Suave (a video magazine): “If you aren’t attacking, you are defending, and if you are defending it means that you are losing the fight at that moment.”
I had developed this really reactive game from the bottom back when I had lung problems from a rib injury. I couldn’t really push myself so I had to develop better timing and really wait for opportunities. The problem is that in a 6-10 minute match, those opportunities do not present themselves too often with a good opponent. So I would lose by a couple of points and never really get into the match.
I never really felt like I was stalling though…just that I was trying to be too “effortless”. You know how you watch the really good guys and it looks like they are barely moving? Well, I thought my BJJ needed to look like that. But after Marcelo’s pep talk I realized that the good guys DONT look like that when they are fighting guys at their level.
Since I kicked up the aggression, my game has totally changed. On top I don’t give any space and on the bottom I am constantly moving to my strongest positions. Most importantly, I am not waiting until the opponent gets his grips before I start to escape…Instead I’m not giving him the grips and forcing him to escape mine instead.
Aggressive means initiating the position changes instead of countering your opponent’s actions. It means not being lazy, for example, when someone is bearing down on you in your halfguard trying to flatten you out.
We’ll see if all comes together at the Pan Ams…
This article is compiled from a thread that Andreh started on the BJJ forum at mma.tv. Andreh is currently a competitive BJJ brown belt training with Rey Diogo in Los Angeles, CA.