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Should I Train Both Sides of a Technique?
Yes, and No...
About 1% of the population is truly ambidextrous, meaning they have no dominant hand. This leads to people preferring specific sides of attack and defense. Being able to do techniques both sides is almost a must in BJJ, but in the early stages of learning a new move it might be best to focus on one side. Learn one side well, and apply what works about that position to your “weak” side.
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Learning the details of a technique and how it works can be much more difficult if simultaneously working on both sides. It might be most beneficial to develop a strong side with a technique and gradually add in the other side. It feels a lot like throwing a ball with your non dominant hand, but just like when you started practice and repetition will assist in shortening the learning curve.
Symmetrical positions where the position involves an equal amount of my body on each side of my opponent’s midline are the positions to focus first. Examples of this would be the guard and mount positions. Defensive portions should be trained both sides almost immediately. We can’t choose how we are attacked.
Here is a good example of attacking both sides, with John Danaher.
When we are the one’s controlling the action we can usually force the battle into our strong side positions. For instance, many people pass the guard to their left. This will lead to gaining additional practice with that specific side of side control. Although it’s great to be able to pass the guard any time, but if the guard player forces you to your weak side passing might go right out the window.
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Ultimately the more options for defense and attack that are made available will always better prepare us for the battle ahead. This comes with patience and time. Understand and set the proper expectations when learning both sides. If you become impatient you might just say something like “ahh, when will I have to use that, I’ll just stick to my strong side.” Don’t be that person!