The In Between
The gap, the gray area, the in between, or whatever it is that you want to call it, is the spot between spots. Relatively early on in Jiu-Jitsu, you’re just trying to familiarize yourself with the various points. For example, in one class you’ll learn the Balloon Sweep, while, in another, the Collar Drag. As you attend more and more classes, your points of reference to techniques will grow. As the points of reference grow, you’ll start to be able to piece your game together based on your interests.
Joe Rogan once equated the knowledge of techniques to the depth of a conversation. At first you start learning a couple of one- or two-syllabled words. Then you form sentences, paragraphs, and finally a full-on deep conversation.
With this being said, superficially we tend look at scenarios in an A and B format. An example would be (A) getting your guard passed and (B) your opponent solidifying side control. Our minds generally group aspects into neat categories in order to process the information quicker. Black, white, up, down, right, wrong, and so on.
The challenge is working in the in between.
When someone is passing your guard, it’s incredibly important to understand what your opponent needs during the pass. He or she needs to meet certain milestones in order to solidify the pass. For example, if the opponent is going through the guard through the guard, they usually need to cut the knee, have a near side underhook, far side sleeve or arm grip, and the ability to slide into side control.
When you start breaking down exactly how many different factors someone needs in order to solidify side control, or any position or submission for that matter, you’ll respond to attacks more efficiently. You’ll understand the finer details and their importance to the final outcome. If you can cause a break in any of the important milestones, you can alter the end result.
It’s similar to having a conversation and picking up on nuances. The tone of the conversation, is it heavy in emotion, is there a double or hidden meaning. How is your opponent’s weight positioned, what grips are they trying to secure, and are they fully committed to the movement or bating you? That’s the in between that you have to start paying attention to in order to advance deeper in the game.
When a training partner ask what they should do in a specific situation. I offer the answer but then counter with follow up questions of my own. What are you doing that gets you into that situation? Sometimes they don’t actually know, so we end up recreating the situation as best as they remember in order to see what their current responses are. I can often pin point the issue and help correct it. Then highlighting the concept of responding in the in between realm and how important it is for their overall game.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the concepts and how you’ve developed it yourselves.