This started as a blog about training together as a family, in part to inspire other women & families to get involved. As female participation in jiu jitsu has increased, as we have grown as athletes and as we learned that families training together aren’t such an anomaly, the blog has evolved. Jen gets personal with posts on ambition, challenges & achievements in BJJ, CrossFit & with nutrition, while Tom's posts are more educational, informative and analytical in regards to training. On occasion you may hear from the kids.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Subtleties

by Jen
Someone recently commented to me that their child is getting bored with jiu jitsu because they feel like they are learning the same moves over and over again.  After more thought I wish I would have explained to her that there are many nuances of the moves.  Those subtleties make the difference between success and failure in pulling the move off in a roll.   Personally, I pick up at least one new tip with each time we practice a move.

Take for instance the very first one I learned, the arm bar from guard.  We spend most nights drilling it after our warm up.  It seems simple enough.  But try it in a roll and it’s a much different story. 

So much depends on how you move your hips, hold your opponent’s arm, position your legs, your timing, etc.  The more instinctive this all becomes, the easier it is to successfully achieve in a competition match when the adrenaline is pumped and the anxiety is high. This is true of every move we practice.

Here’s my two cents - be humble about what you think you know.  Trust your teacher.  He has already traveled the journey to earning a black belt, and he knows best how to lead you on yours.


  1. I agree 100%. Learn from Roger Gracie. A high percentage of his matches go like this: Basic take down, basic guard pass, basic transition to mount, to basic palm up/palm down choke from mount. The stuff works at the highest levels because he refined the details and timing over 1000s upon 1000s of repetitions.

  2. I wonder how you would have even communicated that to someone who hasn't trained (I'm assuming the parent didn't). I remember hearing the talk of subtleties at the beginning, and I simply accepted it on faith, but I feel like that might be a be leap for a parent who doesn't train or isn't familiar with some other practice that requires subtlety.

  3. Jen, if you and Tom are still at Pans call or text and let's try to meet up. 619 602 7260 Rick

  4. Hi Rick. I'm so sorry we missed you. I just got the comment this morning. I'll plan better next time!