Mirroring and Matching
Whether you are competing, rolling, or just training it is important to understand the concept of mirroring and matching. Mirroring and matching are two techniques of Neurolinguistic Programming used to gain rapport with an individual at an unconscious level. What does this mean for us humble grapplers? By understanding this concept you can use this to your advantage, and not have it used against you!
Next time you are talking to a friend or acquaintance use body language to see if they will mirror what you are doing. Talk to your friend and cross your arms, and keep talking. Chances are they'll cross there arms. In Jiu-Jitsu this concept can be most evident while observing two people battle it out on the feet, jockeying for a take down.
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This is where most inexperienced grapplers will start to burn their energy. Partly it's due to matching the opponents energy. The differences between a white belt and a black belt are profound, but even more so while grappling from the feet. This could be due to the disconnect between partners whereas on the ground there are a lot of "feelers" attached to our opponent. By using all of our limbs we start to develop sensitivity to our partners movement, which puts us in a position to better manage our gas tank.
Grappling for a take down can be where the newbie can drain themselves before even getting to the ground. Like most things in Jiu-Jitsu space is the enemy. When there is a gap in experience the more experienced grappler can utilize the space to their advantage techniques like circular movement, head fakes, and level changes. This manipulates the mirroring and matching concept. They are counting on you biting on that level change, so they can snap you down to the mat. This is how mirroring and matching can work for you or against you.