Remain in the Battle

One of the first questions I receive from students who have not been training for a long time or who do not yet understand Jiu Jitsu is: “how do I escape from this position?” To them, my answer is: “there is no escape.” My response is usually not well received but rather the student becomes upset. They then ask: “what do you mean there is no escape?” I simply say: “just don’t get in that position.” I do not teach escapes to my newer students and here is why.

If, for example, that student gets caught in the arm lock from the mount, he/she will be looking for an escape because they have never done the arm lock themselves nor ever been caught in the arm lock. Those students do not understand the power of the arm lock but rather focus them to get out of an uncomfortable position.

Until that student reps the arm bar a thousand times, he/she will never learn how to escape. I can show you how to escape in the beginning but that escape will not work. The reason being is that if we do not understand the application we will never understand how to escape. Therefore, I refuse to teach escapes.

Instead, I can show you how to protect yourself and where to be careful. To escape, I believe that the best way to learn is to be on the offense. By understand how to attack from the mount and learning all the variables then the student can reverse engineer for the defense.

Look, the better I become at escaping from the mount, the less I will fight for someone else to get the mount on me. If I am good at escaping from the mount, it will not be a big deal to me. That is, until I roll with someone who is good on the mount. So, to fix and avoid the problem from the root, we should be trying our best to not let our opponent pass our guard and mount.

By practicing specific drills that give the student the opportunity to stay in a given position from the mount, side body, and back in order to learn how to protect themselves, to control their breathing, and think through the position. This allows the student to collect more data, learn from the experience and gain a better understanding of how to apply during the roll. We first must gain the applicable feeling of going through the motions before we can receive the instructional information.

The biggest difference between those students who stay in the position longer (ex: back control) versus those who rush to get the submission (ex: choke) is that when I begin teaching chokes, the students who have stayed longer in those uncomfortable positions already understand back control. They have collected the most data on how to control their opponent – they already have the pieces to put together when we progress to learn the technique. When we go to drill the choke, those students are more advanced and better equipped which results in them tapping most of the other students in class.

In the same way, have you noticed how God sometimes does not deliver us from life’s battles as quickly as we would prefer? Jesus informed us that “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 b).

The battle against Satan has already been won through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection. No difficulty that we have or will go though is in vain (though not all those difficulties comes from God).

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28

God works through our circumstances to equip and refine us for the higher calling and mission that He has placed on our lives. He is Mighty to save and has promised to deliver us from all the snares of the enemy as we keep our eyes on Him and keep His ways. Through the struggles, we are learn how to dig deep and prevail in prayer, we see God’s character (one of goodness, miracles, and power) and we develop a testimony and strength that we carry with us forever. When we stay in the challenging position until God delivers rather than rush out through an escape or attack, we will be strengthened, made more competent, and prosper. As we persevere and keep our eyes on Him through this process we overcome are exalted, and thus bring glory to God.

When we are faced with hardship, often our natural reaction is to try to fix the problem by escaping from what is uncomfortable. God is more concerned with the condition of our hearts rather than our comfort. And our discomfort is one of the best tools to grow and strengthen us. Rather than focusing on a problem and how to most quickly or easily escape from it, keeping our eyes on Jesus and our hands and feet doing His ways the solutions will come without fail. Our focus should be on the solution – and Jesus is our only solution.

Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. – Psalm 91:3

  • Written by Tony Passos

About Tony Passos

Tony Passos is a fourth-degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Ricardo de la Riva. He is the founder of BJJ Under the Cross, runs his own academy in Virginia, and is a member and coach of Atos Jiu-Jitsu. Professor Tony believes that jiu-jitsu is a powerful tool for personal development.

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