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Improve your awareness to improve your Bjj - 23/06/2012



Use your "Spidey senses"! Go from good to great in BJJ: Awareness


Source: http://www.davecamarillo.com/

Have you ever wondered what makes some grapplers great and other just mediocre? I don't but I have an idea: Awareness in other words using your "Spidey Senses"

Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers States, that it takes 10,000 hours to reach expertise.

Most BJJ players are searching for the fastest way to being an expert in Jiu-Jitsu. They look for ways to shorten the time it takes to get decent, decent to good, good to great and so on. They absorb training sessions, DVD’s, youtube videos, and books talking about the newest and greatest techniques, systems and tricks. They eat it all up hoping to obtain the secret behind ‘being good’. They are enthusiasts. They get excited! And that translates into progress. But progress isn’t necessarily a step beyond.

There is however something that separates most from the few and really elevates the student to a venerated degree. The difference between decent and great has less to do with technique, or systems or anything like that, it actually has to do more with something many people are afraid to obtain. It has to do with awareness.

Systems are the most important way to initially understand Jiu-Jitsu. But they are not the most important concept in Jiu-Jitsu. Situational Awareness is what sets Marcelo Garcia apart from most of the BJJ community. And it is what I believe to be the most important lesson for escalating your game to the next level.

So what is awereness?

1. Having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact

2. The state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects or sensory patterns.

It helps to have a Spiderman Supersense and see in advance what your opponent is going to do:


Saulo Ribeiro said it so well: “If you think, you’re late. If you’re late, you muscle.  If you muscle you tire, and if you tire you die.”

Why Focus on Awareness?

If you have a high degree of Situational Awareness you are able to react better and faster than an opponent with a lesser degree. It literally shaves off time it takes to make a proper reaction. And as we all know a split second is enough time to get in trouble or to put your opponent in trouble.

Improved Reaction Time

Between an action and your response to it there is a window of time. With increases in your awareness that time seems to become longer. This perceived ‘expansion’ in time will allow you to process more information and improve your reactions. One good example is when you are in a fight and you see that your opponent wants to attempt a footlock on you for example, with Improved reaction time, you will already be defending as soon as he starts to attack.

How is it obtained?

It is obtained through two things, hard work and smart work.

Smart Work consists of :

  1. Learning technique properly: Fragmenting then flowing
  2. Drilling that technique until it becomes second nature
  3. Creating threads and drilling them
  4. Live drilling specific positions
  5. Rolling

Hard work consists of:

Everything included in Smart Work, but taking it to a new level. You have to live it to be aware of it! You have to love it to live it!
Feel your environment and opponent when you are rolling. Your senses need to be super alert.
It also helps to have good conditioning, and also control your breathing and stay calm.

Next time you spar, try this out and be totally aware of what is going on, you will see that it will change your whole game!

That is situational Awareness.