Minimalism is a lifestyle concept that teaches you how to do more with less. It helps you strategize how to remove materialistic and unimportant objects that don't provide value to your life.
Minimalism gives you a taste of freedom. Less decisions, less junk, more value, and more action. I am fascinated by this concept and try to implicate it in my life and into my training. However, it wasn't always this way.
I was fortunate to begin training Jiu-Jitsu at an early age. I can remember sitting in my 6th grade class, with a notebook, and jotting down notes on Jiu-Jitsu. I would write down techniques, make up mind maps, list all of my setups, whatever came to mind.
Nearly two decades later, I reflect back on how I MINIMIZED those cluttered and chaotic scribbles from a LARGE notebook, to ONE page. It took me awhile and took a deep understanding of the art. It took a lot of effort and intense, honest reflection, to analyze what's needed for success.
Jiu-Jitsu at it's core, is minimalist. The art centers around the concept of, "maximum efficiency - minimal effort". Humans, as like everything else, have complicated it. With 24/7 access to BJJ information, we can't get enough. We are satisfied by a gluttonous, craving of "more". But more is not always better and more is rarely necessary.
STEP ONE: Analyze the elements.
The elements of Jiu-Jitsu are the molecules and cells of each technique. They are the inner workings. Base, leverage, weight distribution, timing, angles, etc. These elements are the foundation for the techniques we learn. They are what's behind the magic and invincibility of the art.
The problem we face; we forget this and we don't have to work hard to figure anything out anymore. What used to be hours on the mat and brainstorming with teammates is traded for Google and YouTube.
I have a way to help focus on this. I call it the "Pyramid of Execution". This is a pyramid that is made up of THREE layers.
As you pursue Jiu-Jitsu mastery, your partners begin to defend your initial, "basic" attacks. When this happens, you have TWO directions to go.
Number ONE, is why some people frequently struggle with executing basic techniques. They search for other moves and collecttechniques, while neglecting the most important elements of the moves they know.
Number TWO, is why people like Rickson Gracie, Roger Gracie, and even other athletes, like Michael Jordan, or Dan Gable dominate their craft with simple form. They aren't "one in a million", like people think. They are enlightened beings who realized they should develop and fix what they know, instead of reinventing the wheel. The valued simplicity.
When a move fails you, revert back to WHY, analyze the elements, instead of looking for another move. If you exhaust the elements, now it might be time to try something else.
Did the "basic" arm bar not work, simply because of your opppknents defense? Or, was it because you had poor timing, poor angles, poor base, etc.
Treat every "basic" technique like it's the MOST VALUABLE THING YOU OWN and you will never abandon it. They aren't basic moves, they are THE MOVES. One day, you will have Black Belt eyes and the "basics" will be seen like never before. You will abandon the flare for the functional.
STEP TWO: Remove steps
In your training, ALWAYS remember the following...Every step within a technique has a counter. If you have a move with 6 steps, your opponent, has 6 chances to counter.
Teaching kid's classes for the last 11 years forced me to strip down the techniques in Jiu-Jitsu to the bare minimum. Originally, I thought it might create a less effective form of the technique. What I quickly realized was, fewer steps, meant fewer counters, and WAY LESS complication.
Try this exercise: Pick three of your best techniques. Maybe a triangle, half guard sweep, arm bar from mount. Anything you want. Teach them to someone. How many steps did it take you for each one?
After this awakening, declutter the move. Remove the waste and junk. Keep what you need and what is necessary. This will leave your opponent with few options to counter and shorten your path to victory.
STEP THREE: Find concepts in the chaos.
How many techniques do you know. Hundreds maybe? Here is the truth, you don't and won't use all of them. Your brain and body do not have the muscle memory for all of them.
If you really want to enter the majestic realm of Black Belt, you will need to get a firm grasp on the concepts. You will have to condense and organize all those techniques, to have better control and not be forced to react to 20 different things.
Anticipation is mastery. Black Belts can anticipate and don't need to react as much. Why? Concepts. While you are figuring out how to get there, they already know the road and are waiting for you with a friendly choke!
Find two ways to block twenty things.
Find four takedowns, that can be done from one position.
One concept can be stronger than 50 techniques.
When you understand Jiu-Jitsu concepts, you will be able to sit in a neutral zone where you can roll swiftly through a FEW necessary moves. You won't be lost in a position trying to remember what you know.
When passing open guard, never let your opponent put the soles of their feet against you.
As you are passing and they try to, remove the foot and keep progressing.
This idea, this concept, will allow you to move freely and flow with your opponents movements. Your opponent has freedom of movement. If you focus individually on executing 20 different guard passes, you will hit a wall. Focus on NOT letting the "dirty feet" (That is what Rickson Gracie callsthis drill/concept) touch you, and you will have most likely passed guard with something not even categorized as technique.
I know dozens of guard passes and use four. Not by choice or preference. I reverse engineered the position and only do what I need to do. Your brain will slow, your speed will go, and your strength will die. Technique is invincible.
SIMPLIFY, MINIMIZE, and ORGANZIZE your Jiu-Jitsu. Don't over complicate it. When you can accomplish something as intricate as Jiu-Jitsu in a simple way...That is ART.