Assigning a function to each limb

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

When I coach I often assign a definitive function(s) to each of your limbs so that you know exactly what you ought to be doing with each in a given scenario. When you lack a clear sense of what each limb should be given at any moment it becomes very easy for Jiu Jitsu sparring to degenerate into a confused tangle of limbs fighting without purpose or direction. Nowhere is this more important than in the case of back attacks. So often I see people in good attacking position get deadlocked and frustrated due to a lack of clarity in what each of their four limbs out to be doing. Let’s begin with the upper body. You will need first a CONTROL hand that goes UNDER your opponents arm. It’s function is to connect you solidly into a cheats to back position and keep you there. Then you have a STRANGLE hand that goes OVER the arm on the other side. It creates an immediate submission threat to your opponent. You play the two together - one protects your own position, whilst the other threatens your opponent. Downstairs to the legs. Together they initially hook into your opponents hips to secure hip to back contact. If you have the length, you can make this more secure with a body triangle. At some point however, you will want to go from control to submission. That’s when we turn one of our legs into a TRAP leg, which hooks over one of the opponent defensive arms to facilitate strangles. The other leg generally remains as a CONTROL leg, keeping you hooked into alignment with your opponent as you work the strangle. Dividing up the work of all four limbs and assigning each a task makes for a very clear sense of direction in your work and also helps your coach call out information to you as you grapple. Try it in all the various scenarios you face in grappling and watch your efficiency improve!