Should You Use Strength When You Are Training BJJ?



 Today I am going to talk about should you use strength when you are training BJJ. This is a topic we talk about in jiujitsu all the time and that is, how much strength you are using during the rolls. We also discuss whether it’s good or not good to use strength during the rolls.
I have a personal experience to share with you regarding this topic that I have never forgotten. It will stay with me the rest of my career. I was a 15 year old yellow belt training in my hometown under my first teacher Ricardo Marques.
I trained with a guy there and every time we rolled, he complained that I used a lot of strength in the rolls. He complained that I used too much strength and not enough technique. screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-6-47-41-pmI was really confused, it made me think that I was using a lot of strength in the rolls. I didn’t even know if I was using strength. Then my first teacher came and asked me, “Bernardo, are you using a lot of strength when you are rolling?” I said, “Ricardo, I don’t even know, I think so, I probably am.” Then, Ricardo asked me, “Are you getting tired?” I said, “No, I am doing lots of rolls and I’m not getting tired.” So, Ricardo said, “Then keep doing it, keep using a lot of strength.”
This was a very important message for me because it’s exactly how I think nowadays. If you are using a lot of strength when you are rolling but you are not getting tired, then that’s good. It means that you are well-prepared.
The problem is when you use a lot of strength and you gas out very quickly, that means you are using more strength than technique.
So, this is exactly how I think nowadays. I always try to measure my rolls about whether I’m getting tired or not. I feel if you have the strength but you don’t get tired, then you are doing the right thing. It means you are very well-prepared. On the other hand, if you are doing a 6-minute roll and 3 minutes into the roll you are crazy tired. That means you are using more strength than you should.
This is a very important message that I am fortunate to have experienced early in my career. I always hear people talking about this subject. They say jiujitsu is not about strength, you should focus on technique. However, I believe jiujitsu is about strength as well. I mean, if you have it then you have to use it. You have to use it to get to the technique. I recommend using both strength and technique as long as you don’t get tired, that’s the goal.
So, that’s how I try to think and that’s how I’ve focused all my career. I think it’s a good tip for everybody so that’s why I wanted to share this story with you guys. Oss!

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