I want to improve my Jiu-JItsu? Why not try specializing….

In philosophy there is a proposition called Ockham’s Razor. It focuses on the principle of philosophical parsimony or simplicity. It suggests that the simpler a theory is, the more likely it is to be true. Put another way entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity; so wherever possible we shouldn’t use things or make assumptions about things that are surplus to our requirements.

For example: If you have a working theory of gravity that explains why objects fall to earth, you don’t then need to say objects fall to earth because of gravity + there are invisible demons that enjoy pulling things towards the floor.

That’s great, all sounds very technical but what has that to do with BJJ?

Well I have observed that most high-level grapplers (by this I don’t just mean world champions) tend to specialize. They excel in a particular part of the sport they participate in.

For the famous Judoka Inoue it was Uchi Mata and all its working parts. For Karelin (arguably the greatest ever wrestler) it was the Karelin lift.

Jiu-Jitsu is no different: we have wave after wave of athletes coming through exceling in particular parts of the game…

I feel this is because they understand the need to not multiply beyond necessity, for them a grip has to grip, once they have been introduced to a method of gripping that seems most appropriate they don’t look to multiply beyond necessity. Rather, they improve their understanding of that action, allowing them to become far more efficient than more easily distracted counterparts.

So, why do we mess it up, when keeping it simple seems easier?

When you model something and it appears to tick all the boxes, you must then start testing it, in Jiu-Jitsu this is the hard part. It is often easier to look for another explanation or way of doing the same thing that maybe no one knows about, that’s a secret etc. etc.

Next time you catch your self doing this remember Ockham’s Razor, and that it doesn’t follow that having or looking for many ways of doing the same thing make it better than one really good way of doing that thing.

One response to “I want to improve my Jiu-JItsu? Why not try specializing….

  1. Yes, it is far better to specialize in one martial art technique rather than trying and learning various techniques which you are not so good at. If you have truly mastered a technique then even if you don’t have a strong body still you can defeat someone stronger than you.

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