Speeding up one’s progress is a preoccupation for almost every person who starts training jiu-jitsu. There are no easy solutions to this conundrum. However one of the best coaches around, John Danaher has some crucial advice to help you advance your journey:
“Probably the single most common question I am asked is this – how can I speed my progress in jiu jitsu? When this is asked as a general question (rather than as a question from a specific athlete) my answer is always the same – Learn to grapple predominantly with your legs.
We humans do almost all of our complex motor tasks with our hands and arms, yet the strongest part of our bodies by far are our legs and hips. Those who try to grapple predominantly with their upper body will never defeat anyone larger than themselves and quickly fall to exhaustion. The beginning Jiu Jitsu student must make the transition to using his or her legs as dexterously as most people use their hands and arms if he is to excel.
In every class I teach, Those who learn to grapple predominantly with their feet, legs and hips, quickly overtake and dominate those who grapple predominantly with their hands, arms and shoulders. An excellent example of a fast learner in BJJ is the great BJ Penn.
He made a lightning quick ascent up the ranks to become the first American to win a world championship and then went on to a legendary career in MMA. A notable feature of Mr Penn’s game was his extraordinary leg dexterity and control. He used this to great effect in every aspect of the game – guard work, back control and passing.
He was one of the few athletes I have seen whose foot and leg dexterity closely matched that in most people’s hands and arms. This made him much more than a quick learner. It also helped him greatly when fighting larger opponents, as a smaller mans legs are stronger than a bigger mans arms. His example is an excellent one to all aspiring to rise in the sport – train and emphasize the dexterity and control of your legs, hips and feet, for this is a key element in your rate of progression.”
Wise words by the arguably the best BJJ coach in the world today.
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