BJJ Hierarchy of Needs

BJJ Hierarchy of Needs 2min read

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a physiological model that suggests a tiered hierarchy of needs, in which lower down needs have to be satisfied prior to the pursuit of higher needs.

i.e. From a physiological point of view, the model suggest there is no point feeling accomplished if you have no relationships. There is no point having relationships if you are not safe. And there is no point being safe if you don't have food.

Similarly, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) has a hierarchy of needs (refer Ryron Gracie Youtube video below)

Firstly, we should be defending against submissions. You are going to have difficulty escaping if you keep getting caught in submissions.

What submissions are there from this position?

How do I limit the chances of the submission working?

Don't give them limbs or position advancements.

Secondly, as we become more aware of defending against submission we get opportunities to escapes.

How am I being controlled?

Where is the pressure, weight, centre of gravity and where are the wedges?

How can I frame and move myself to get inside there control?

Thirdly, as we become more skilled at escapes we find ourselves in controlling positions and can risk control and movement knowing that if we mess up we have our defences and escapes.

How will they be trying to escape, what can I take away and how can I apply pressure to control them?

How can I advance this position?

What is the next position I should be looking for?

What movement should I allow to invite a submission?

Fourthly, as we are able to control the position we are able to look for submissions as they get presented. If we don't have good control, we are likely to rush submissions relying on speed and athleticism instead of technique. Better control means you don't need to rush, which means higher percentage submissions.

Given it is a hierarchy, we should focus our BJJ training first on our defences, before our escapes and our control before our submissions.

  1. Defend
  2. Escape
  3. Control
  4. Defend


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