We covered back escapes using the bridge during a fundamentals class recently. Some of the key points I taught were:

“Do not block the choke with your chins… you will run the risk of having your jaw or teeth broken. Here is the right way to protect yourself…”

“Always bridge past your opponents head and make sure you are bridging in the direction away from the choking arm.” “Don’t muscle through the escape… Just relax and do not worry about getting tapped. This is the time to practice the escape until it works.”

During specific training (back control), I noticed all of the above were being done the complete opposite of how I taught it. Nothing against the students, that’s just how things go… We often talk about how “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”. The same applies in Jiu Jitsu… Everyone has a plan until someone is trying to choke them unconscious. After class I spoke to everyone and had the following to relay: You should always trust the techniques your professors and coaches show you. As a new student there is a tendency to not believe they are going to work and revert back to other non-Jiu-Jitsu related movements in order to muscle in and out of certain positions. Most of us have a tendency to throw our techniques out when we are under incredible duress –our coaches and professors be damned. The most prominent practitioners always keep their heads calm under fire and trust their Jiu-Jitsu in order to get them out of trouble. The techniques we show and practice do not always work and that is the beauty of Jiu-Jitsu, the fact that our practice is more of an algorithm rather than a straight line. If one technique worked 100% of the time, there would be no Jiu-Jitsu. That’s all that would be taught and the end. Knowing this, it is important to keep in mind that what your professors and coaches teach you techniques because they do work when set up and applied correctly. Your professors and coaches know these techniques work because they have failed at it a million times before it started to work for them. For a lot of us, we need to experience the humility of failed techniques in order to truly appreciate the value when we finally learn how to hit them successfully and consistently. Do not worry about getting tapped because no matter how many times you have struggled on the mats, your professors and coaches have struggled more.

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