Chess and Grips


During Comp Training today our black belt Jeff spoke about us allowing our opponents to make too many moves without acting. He compared it to playing chess, and allowing your opponent to make a move, then instead of taking your turn, you tell him/her to make another. You’re now behind in the game. Even if the movements your opponent is making are as simple as a hand grip, it’s setting up for something down the line.

He told us to think of the grips and feet placed on you as the pawns moving forward in the game. Individually they don’t seem ominous. The pawns that start moving down the board towards your defensive line, aren’t powerful. They aren’t going to make huge strides, which can lull you into a false sense of security. What you’re not paying attention to, is the set up.

With Jiu-Jitsu, as in chess, the grips open up the more powerful pieces to now roam the board. Contending with your opponent’s sweeps and submissions is now your main obligations, instead of applying the game plan that you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. As a chess player, the analogy really sunk in, and see the importance of it all. My strategy from here on out, is to react, counter, and attack.


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Purple Belt Jiu-Jitsu practitioner

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