BJJ Fundamentals: Always Polish and Refine
BJJ fundamentals are the building blocks that will set the stage for all growth in your BJJ game. Think of it in terms of musical practice. You must first learn the scales before you can play a symphony, right? Of course, there is that rare occasion where someone can learn by ear, but for those of us who aren’t prodigies, a solid foundation is the key to a strong and successful BJJ game.
The basics of BJJ are most certainly paramount at the start of your journey. This should be obvious. They provide you with the crucial information you need to start making sense of the art. Without the proper introduction to fundamentals, we’d begin to lose our way quite quickly. As a white belt, its an absolute must that you water your first seeds of BJJ knowledge with as many beginner level classes as possible.
But what about the time when our days as a white belt are in the rearview mirror? As we progress further into our training, are the fundamentals still just as important? Yes, of course they are.
Have you ever had an epiphany about a basic move? Maybe as a blue or purple belt you were attending a class and a foundational technique was being demonstrated. Unexpectedly a light bulb turns on and you make a connection or receive the answer to something you’ve been struggling with for months or even years! When you previously learned this technique or principal your mind and body may not have been ready to understand it. Boom. You just experienced a deeper understanding of a foundational technique. Had you not revisited this particular rudimentary idea, you may have struggled for much longer with this particular theme. Quite simply, you are at a better place in your practice to absorb the intricacies of the technique.
When our basics are underdeveloped, we will struggle to add the more advanced aspects of BJJ to our game. I know, I know, that berimbolo and that slick kimura trap to the back are hard to ignore. But trust me, if you can’t pass the guard or escape the mount, those techniques will not give you the upper hand during your experiences in live training. It can be difficult to resist the temptation to chase new and exciting ideas. BJJ is evolving at a very rapid pace, and there’s an enormous amount of interesting material being paraded in front of our eyeballs daily through social media and various other sources. BJJ information has become so widely available, it can be very difficult to look away. It’s ok to experiment but be sure to keep those fundamental classes as part of your regular BJJ routine. It will serve you later in your practice.
Not only Is it important to revisit these methods and to become more proficient at them, there’s a simple truth that’s been proven time and time again. Basics win fights. Take a look at combat at the highest levels. What submissions do you see? Kimura, triangle, guillotine, armbar, rear naked choke, among others you’d certainly recognize as a beginner. Classic foundational techniques performed at a high level. What other evidence do you need to make sure basics remain a part of your practice for the rest of your BJJ voyage?
A BJJ mentor of mine used to tell me, “always polish and refine the basics.” The statement transcends the ranks. To me, it means that at all levels we should always return to our foundational ideologies and examine them to gain a better understanding of what our jiu-jitsu has become, and to further strengthen it. Furthermore, when you’re lingering in one of those infamous BJJ ruts, return to these roots of your game and give them some attention. It may just be the perfect antidote to pull you from that feeling of digression we so often encounter.
One of the best examples of a BJJ competitor and instructor at the highest level who firmly believes in the importance of the fundamentals is Bernardo Faria. In his latest release from BJJ Fanatics, Foundations of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, he shows all of the most important positions for his students. You can get this 6 volume resource here at BJJ Fanatics!