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Developing a Path
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is very difficult. Bjj has the highest dropout rate for any martial art and this can be attributed to the learning curve. Nobody has a preconceived notion of how to grapple or do bjj, and everyone has a preconceived notion on how to throw a punch. That is why boxing, tae kwon do, and other martial arts seem so comforting immediately. Everyone knows how to punch and kick, that doesn’t mean they know the techniques required for other martial arts, it just takes some of the discomfort away.
In bjj, you immediately feel lost. That is why it is so difficult to learn and advance, progressing in this martial art is not easy. Check out our article “Having a Complete BJJ Game” for some tips. Today we are going to discuss developing a path. You need to develop a path of attacks to improve in bjj. You want to have a path from guard and a path while passing to start.
Developing a Path from Guard
Developing a path simply put means that you have a chain of attacks and sequences, you have a starting point of engagement. Having a point of engagement is so important and will help you develop a path and improve at a faster rate. What do we mean by engagement point? Let’s discuss a hypothetical situation where you are a beginner with three months of experience and only know one sweep from closed guard and half guard. In this scenario you need an engagement point when you begin rolling, so if you are this beginner, your goal should immediately be to get to closed guard or half guard. You need an engagement point to do this, so maybe do a collar drag and get closed guard.
This will allow you to develop a path. If you start all your rolls the same way because you have limited knowledge, you will see different reactions and learn how to counter them. This is you beginning to develop a path. Maybe you collar drag every roll at the beginning and some people fall and you get on top, some people allow you to get closed guard, and some only allow half guard. Now you see different reactions and learn. Check out this video below on a simple pass from opening the closed guard with Gregor Gracie.
Developing a Path while Passing
Passing the guard may be the most difficult part of bjj. It is so hard to pass an experienced guard players guard. The best way to start learning how to guard pass is to develop a path. You want to have an engagement point just like we discussed above with guard. For instance, if you only know one or two passes, your goal should be to start your rolls with an engagement point that allows you to get to these passes.
For example, maybe you only know the knee slice with an underhook so you should make your goal getting the underhook and then you can begin to knee slide. This is you finding an engagement point and developing a path. Check out our article “Developing your Guard Passing” to learn some more tips on learning to pass. Also, check out this simple and effective cross choke from closed guard below.
If you want to get better and learn to develop a path and also learn some more concepts to help you progress, check out Vinicius “Trator” Ferreira’s 4 DVD set “The Lower Belt Prescription.” This is one of the best resources for anyone from white to purple belt that is trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.