We all have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to BJJ (and life). Size, patience, speed, strength, flexibility, intelligence, cunning, endurance, power, explosiveness and ruthlessness are qualities we possess, for example, in different measures depending on our genetics, personality and our training. The trick with jiu jitsu of course is not to rely on theses attributes or build a game based entirely on our own individual strengths. The reason that expert smaller BJJ players can handle larger and stronger novice players with such ease is largely due to improved technique, timing and sensitivity. Now as obvious as this may seem I am staggered at how rarely students of the game relinquish their strengths and just work on their technical improvement, timing and sensitivity. Ironically, the successful progress through the ranks is based soley on on how well you can work through the weak areas in your game and thereby gain increased technical proficiency. Notice here that it has absolutely nothing to do with how many people you tap in a nights training or how many tournaments you win. These are wonderful things for sure, but they can sometimes be misleading when it comes down to how technical your game is; Did you win with speed, power or endurance? Or were you using technique? When push comes to shove can you let the jiu jitsu do the work? We now have a group of blue belts that have carried their grade well for a number of years and the question now must be how technical are you? Do I, as your coach, see the same positions, transitions and submissions played out every single time you roll or can I see you work through different avenues of attack and defence in technical combinations? Perhaps paradoxically the only way this goal can be achieved is to step outside your comfort zone while rolling, play, try things, open up the game, experiment, and heaven forbid maybe tap out some more. By losing more you will progress faster. Flesh out your game; be balanced on top and have a solid guard, pass in combinations to both sides, try new submissions and let go of old faithful for a while. Put your favourite sub to bed for 6 months. Food for thought. Make technical progress in the art of BJJ your goal not winning every single time you roll. Do that and you’ll be ready for a new belt around your waist. You’ll have entered into the higher BJJ ranks regardless of your individual attributes.