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Ideas On Ways Timing Can Impact Your Jiu Jitsu

Ideas On Ways Timing Can Impact Your Jiu Jitsu


Exploring timing in Jiu Jitsu...

Timing is often discussed as a key component in Jiu Jitsu. Kit Dale famously said, “The most important thing in movement is not the technique, but the timing. I could do anything from a cartwheel to backflip over someone’s guard, and if it was done at the right time it would work. Conversely, I could do the most technically sound movement, but miss the timing, and it would fail.”

Certainly, one component of timing in Jiu Jitsu is kinesthetic. You feel the weight shift from one position and transition to another. There are positions where you can implement the proper response with touch only even if you’re not physically seeing it. From bottom side control, you feel when someone’s weight shift sufficiently to escape.

Another key component of timing is pressure and baiting. You garner the advantage by either forcing your opponent to make a mistake or allowing your opponent the opportunity to make a mistake. We talked about this in previous articles. Examples of timing with pressure would be a cross face. You have effectively set the clock that dictates not if, but when, someone would react to a movement.  Baiting works the same way. You provide the opportunity to escape for your training partner but you are really waiting for a select movement that will signal that they fell into your trap.

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 Perhaps a third component of timing is strategy for a position. In boxing, some boxers are counter punchers.  A counter puncher largely waits for his opponent. Every punch his opponent throws, a good counter puncher has the perfect answer. If we apply this metaphor to Jiu Jitsu, going second and having a good answer for your training partner’s attacks would call you to defend and advance position. For example, in close guard, a lot of attacks require my opponent to open their legs. This is also what is required for a myriad of guard passes; open legs. I can always bait a submission or play the counter puncher and simply time their attack.

A fourth way to leverage timing in Jiu Jitsu is attacking or defending in transition. Understanding that someone is moving to a position and beginning your attack while they are in transition to that position puts you a step or two ahead. If I know someone is rolling to the back I can begin setting up my attack before they get there. Instead of just having hooks and harness in the back you could possibly have a rear triangle. Conversely, it is the same when defending against a transition. By recognizing the attack mid transition you can defeat the structure before the attack is fully formed.

At a fundamental level, timing simply knows what the realistic outcomes are for any position and has an answer to it. Kinetically we understand that when someone moves there are a set number of options for them to go to. Baiting and pressure grants us an advantage by limiting the possible moves from a scenario. This is also done by being the counter puncher from time to time.  Going second can allow us the opportunity to focus on the one or two things that will defeat our opponent’s movements and advance our own. Leveraging timing in either attacking or defending mid transition allow us the opportunity to be a step or two ahead of our opponents.

Certainly there are other components to timing. What are some other ways you implement timing into your game?

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