The dualities of jiu jitsu - part two - top and bottom position
Jiu jitsu is unusual among the main grappling style insofar as it is neutral between top and bottom position. There is no penalty for simply coming out at the start of match and sitting down. The core assumption of the sport is that TOP AND BOTTOM ARE OF EQUAL VALUE PROVIDED THE BOTTOM ATHLETE CAN MAIN CONTACT WITH HIS OPPONENT WITH HIS LEGS. Only when the top athlete clears the legs is it understood that he has advantage with his top position. As such, the sport is played almost entirely with one athlete working from top position trying to clear the legs (guard) and a bottom athlete trying to maintain control with his legs and attack from underneath with sweep/reversals and submissions. Most athletes have a preference for one over the other - BUT NOBODY CAN ONLY BE SKILLED AT ONE AND RISE HIGH IN THE SPORT. As early as possible in your development you must make a commitment to excellence in both top and bottom positions. If you feel your development is uneven in this regard and your skill in one is noticeably higher than the other - YOU MUST ADDRESS THIS, for continuing on without resolving this issue will prove a real problem in the future. Make your first goal the ability to HOLD AND MAINTAIN your guard against passing pressure from bottom and MAINTAIN BALANCE, POSTURE AND TOP POSITION against sweeping and submission pressure from underneath. All the other moves - sweeps, passes, submissions etc have to be built upon the bedrock of GUARD MAINTENANCE on bottom and BALANCE/POSTURAL MAINTENANCE on top. Only when you can retain your guard for long periods of time against pressure will you be able to employ the various moves from guard - you won’t sweep or submit anyone from guard if your opponent blows past your legs in seconds - nor will you pass anyone’s guard if you are immediately knocked out of balance and posture broken. Remember always that jiu jitsu requires excellence in both top and bottom - don’t fight against this basic truth - train and develop in accordance with it.