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How Broad Does My Jiu-Jitsu Game Need To Be?
Time Is Your Best Friend Sometimes...
We live in a jiu-jitsu time where any and all techniques are in front of us at the touch of a button (or a touchscreen). We can find any technique we want, whenever we want. With this, we can begin to fill our heads with many different BJJ concepts, movements, and ideas. Particularly when we are new, and the luster of the sport is very high, and wanting to catch up, learning or broadening our game is at the forefront of our mind. People get obsessed with learning as many moves and techniques as possible. Endless hours on YouTube, analyzing matches for new techniques, You may be getting beat up a lot, and just HAVE to know how to escape all problems any of your opponents throw at you.
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But, once we take the time to sit down and think about or recall all of this, it can be overwhelming, and even disheartening. How can I ever remember all of this? How can I keep everything straight? We are here to tell you, that you are fine. And this is normal. Give it time, the knowledge will come.
As you progress, you begin to build your “game”. Your game being what moves work for you, what works for your body type, and down to what you actually like the most. It is an amalgam of things you like, things you remember, and things that work. Is it broad? Probably not. Actually, at blue belt, you may have only one really good submission that you can hit all the time. One pass that you are really good at. Your game with naturally broaden as you progress. 1 good sweep will turn into 3 or 4. Your ability to only hit an armbar from mount will turn into hitting armbars from side control, mount, and even the back.
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Now, please do not get me wrong. A well rounded jiu-jitsu practitioner needs to have knowledge of all positions in jiu-jitsu. Does that mean we have to be experts at all 15-20 (and growing) guards that are available to use in jiu-jitsu? No. You are probably going to have 1, maybe 2 guards you are good at, and that's about it. Now, it is very important to know these guards exist, and to have a very top level of understanding how they work. But, you cannot be a master at all of them. It's like Bruce Lee said about the man that practices 1 kick 1000 times. Being just ok at 15 guards is not as good as having 1 impassable guard. It's just not a very feasible way to approach your progression in jiu-jitsu.
Jiu-Jitsu is an endless art of learning, adapting, adjusting, honing and refining. Do not get discouraged if you cannot learn everything overnight. And, let me tell you, by the time you get to purple/brown belt, you will probably forget more than you have learned over the years. Yes, you need to have a basic knowledge of mostly all positions in jiu-jitsu, but it is not feasible to be good at them all. And this will take time, so do not worry about it. Your game will broaden over time, not by cramming 15 videos into your brain in a hour! Be aware of it, but do not worry.