One of my favorite motivational quotes is “Everything that you want in life is just outside your comfort zone.”
How does this apply to jiu-jitsu?
In a number of important ways!
Today I want to talk about adding new positions to your existing game.
Most experienced students have an A Game that they have both proficiency and confidence in. And we should have a preferred game that is effective against tough opponents.
However, to grow your jiu-jitsu, you are going to have to step outside of your go-to positions and into unfamiliar territory.
It is possible to be seduced by your own success in BJJ. If you’re dominating rolls with your regular training partners using De la Riva guard for example, each sweep you score reinforces your enthusiasm for the DLR guard. That’s great. We all want some strong positions that we know work for us.
The other side to it is that we can become comfortable using that same game and ignore other useful positions that would benefit our games.
When we encounter someone who has a strong DLR defense and passing game, we are left with a weak Plan B. There is a danger of becoming one dimensional in our attacks.
I’m going to challenge you to set your DLR guard aside for a short period and focus on another guard style. For example single leg X guard.
Now here is the tough part: at first you probably aren’t going to be very effective with the new position. You don’t have the routes, reactions, or ability to control as you do with your DLR. This means that opponents who you usually control are suddenly giving you a difficult time and even…gasp!…passing your guard.
You are now out of your comfort zone. And aside from getting your guard passed a few times in training, you are in the learning zone.
The easiest thing to do is to just forget using this new position and go right back to what you know works.
But this is not where the growth is. With only a few training sessions, your single leg X guard will rapidly increase. You will learn from mistakes and adapt, and you will tighten the grips and understand how to control and attack.
Now you have two guard styles that combine well together and form a formidable, multidimensional guard game.
By taking one step back initially, you have now taken two steps forward and expanded your jiu-jitsu, all because you were willing to leave your comfort zone.