A common theme in both the articles on Gracie Barra blog and also when you talk to one of those old professors who have black belts so old they are fraying at the edges is: The Basic Techniques work!
The basic techniques work from the first rolls on the mat to the professional level of MMA. Therefore, the majority of your training time should be spent drilling and perfectly those essential techniques.
There ARE several good reasons why it is also beneficial to train the advanced “flashy” techniques.
* Disclaimer: you should probably know how to escape the mount or a basic guard pass before spending your open mat time learning the berimbolo
1) Trying the “fancy” techniques expands your thinking
Even new bjj students know the basic triangle attack from the guard. There are multiple variations of the triangle choke that are entered into from very different positions. Experimenting with different, more advanced entries can expose you to how universal some techniques are. You can attack the triangle from nearly any position (bottom side control!) as long as you trap the opponent’s head and arm together.
You start to look at individual techniques and realize that you can perform that same choke from top, bottom, inverted and upside down/ Which of your other favorite moves can also be performed upside down / reversed / from a totally different position?
2) Open your mind to what is possible in jiu-jitsu
All of us as beginners witnessed an advanced belt demonstrate some wild, rolling, spinning techniques and said “Wow!! I gotta try that!!” In all likelihood you were not truly ready to try it, but having seen the cool move, it whetted your appetite to learn.
Your mind became aware of future possibilities. Maybe you had never even considered that such a move was possible before… Occasionally in class, I will demonstrate an advanced version of a basic technique to excite the students as to something they can work towards in the their bjj future.
3) You develop more advanced physical capabilities
For example: in order to attack some of the inverted triangle attacks, berimbolo, “kiss of the dragon” sweep etc. you need to develop the ability to roll across your shoulders, spin without friction on the mat, retain your spatial awareness when upside down.
Your body must adapt by being more efficient in the movements and move more effortlessly.
All of these attributes help in all of your other bottom positions. If you can suddenly invert and spin on bottom, your guard has become MUCH more difficult to pass.
These attributes that you learned doing the fancy techniques can carry over to the rest of your jiu-jitsu game.
4) They are fun!
When we get right down to it, the most important thing to keep in mind is to have FUN in bjj class. At times we can allow bjj to become almost an obligation – especially if we feel mired in a training slump and progress seems to have ground to a halt.
Setting aside your serious, disciplined drilling for a moment, head to a corner of the mat with one of your best training partners and try figuring out one of the complicated moves and see if you can get it down.
Drilling with a partner and trying to deconstruct and break down a more advanced move helps your problem solving abilities. It also is very helpful when you need to troubleshoot some of your other techniques.
5) If you pull it off in rolling, you are legend!
As jiu-jitsu students we are reminded to remain humble in the academy and “leave our egos at the door.” That is all true.
But when you pull off a crazy move that you have been working on in rolling and your training partners yell “Awesome!!” it brings a special kind of satisfaction and for a brief moment, you are up there in Valhalla with the Bjj Gods!