In the three years I have been training, I have picked up some mantras that I live by and tap by on the mats. These have come from coaches and training partners, and I intend to share them with you to so that maybe one of them will strike a cord in you own training. These will come out over the course of four weeks in columns; the first mantra being position over submission.
The idea of position over submission is simple in thought, but it is actually hard to live by when rolling. Essentially, you just want to secure position and be able to maintain it before even thinking about going for a submission. This becomes of great importance when competing in any tournament, because if you cannot hold a position properly for a three count than it is as if the guard pass, mount, or knee on belly never happened. You have to secure your knees on the ground in mount, or keep your opponent on his back for side-control that is the rules. So, repeating the mantra, “Position over submission,” in your head during training makes it become like breathing or walking, it just becomes natural.
I have fought with this concept many times, because catching someone in an armbar you have never submitted before is like eating when you are starving. You hunger for it, but if we lack discipline in our training we will fail when it matters the most. I have to ingrain it into my head that holding mount on an opponent is just as important as taking his arm. Many people in the BJJ community attribute this mentality to the lack of action in BJJ matches and believe that this mentality goes against the history of BJJ. To them, I believe they are a bit too ignorant.
The art of BJJ is all about using technique, and not power, to overcome larger opponents or people trying to attack you. If you are to give up being in mount, or on top of someone, to go for an armbar then you are opening yourself to a bigger arsenal from your opponent if you do not finish the submission. Dominating someone and shutting down all their attacks is how you should defend yourself in real life and on the mats. So living by the mantra, “Position over submission,” is the first rule of the way I roll. Make sure to check back for the next three mantras in the coming weeks.