Techniques Don’t Matter… Or: How Not To Die Hang Gliding


Yeah, I know…….. You guys always hear me harping on using good technique. The value of technique. Blah, blah…..

But the “techniques” don’t really matter. The concepts…… The guiding principles that shape the technique…… That’s what matters!

I’ve been on a huge kick lately in my teaching. Most of you have probably noticed it. I’m really hammering on the principles. The concepts. You really want me to geek out and have my little “Beautiful Mind” moment, just ask me about my “polynomial equation” that gives a numeric value to BJJ positions.

Just, make sure you have a few minutes. And some paper.

But I digress…..

The reason I’m tripping out in this vein, is because I NEED you guys to understand the concepts. Not just do the techniques.

If I teach you the principles, you can make your own Jiu-Jitsu. Seriously. And, honestly, if I taught you right….. It would look the same as mine!

Here’s an analogy:

If I take 4 different people and I teach them aerodynamics, and then take them all to different islands and tell them to make a “hang glider”…… Those hang gliders will all A- Work. And B- look VERY similar. They have to. Because the PRINCIPLES of aerodynamics are constant!

If I take a 4 students and teach them HOW to hang glide on the hang glider I built. And then leave them in separate places and ask them to build their own….. It’s a very different story.

All of them are expert hang gliders. And all of them will build stuff that looks a lot like a hang glider. Hell one or two of them might make an identical one that maybe flies. Just based on imitation. But it’s going to be less functional than the real one. Because they’re just regurgitating.

Jeez just imagine those guys teaching their students how to hang glide. Generations later you have dudes with pretty cloth triangles that don’t fly, doing sweet tricks on the ground and calling that hang gliding.

And yes, that’s a metaphor for Sport Jiu-Jitsu.

I want to teach you the aerodynamics. I want you to really understand WHY the techniques look like they do. Cause it’s not because I want them too! I don’t pick how a wing looks. It looks that way cause IT HAS TO!

If I can make you understand the guiding concepts, it will make your BJJ better now. But will also give you the chance to improve all of ours! You never know who will make the next breakthrough. I want you to innovate. Experiment. Invent.

I just want that shit to fly when you get pushed off a cliff.


Photo Credit – “Pretending to have “A Beautiful Mind”” by Quinn Dombrowski is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.