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20. ‘Grappling is a rubix cube, the tighter you hold it the harder it is to solve’ October 17, 2008

Posted by Adam Adshead in Adam Adshead, BJJ, Conceptual BJJ, Inspiration, Thoughts.

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of attending a friend of mines grappling for MMA classes so I can tweak and add bits to the already stellar coaching.

Apart from being a lot of fun, it has sparked a lot of thoughts about Conceptual BJJ.

The first thought surrounds the idea of using too much strength when you first start grappling. It’s only natural and although it can be difficult to play against, it’s something that people need to get past before their game will open up and progress beyond a basic level.

So this had me thinking on how I could explain the idea of toning down the strength game for the greater good of your grappling and I came up with this:

‘Grappling is a rubix cube, the tighter you hold it the harder it is to solve’

So if you’re coaching or rolling with people with a tendency to go mini-hulk on you,  rather than tackle grappling with a more intelligent outlook, use this analogy. You all know how complex both grappling and doing a rubix cube is and if you try doing either with white knuckles you’ll struggle to get anywhere close to solving the puzzle.

Spread the gospel.

Adam Adshead



1. Steve - October 18, 2008

Hey! Glad to see you haven’t fallen off the edge of the planet. 🙂

It’s interesting that you use a boa constrictor connoting something negative. Strength without technique isn’t a good thing, but using good technique in a very deliberate and methodical way isn’t bad. Is it? I’ve always admired the guys who seem to move from one position to another, where every time their opponent moves it seems to get him into further trouble. Like a Boa Constrictor, he uses the movements of his opponent to further lock down his positions as he eventually achieves an inescapable hold.

2. Adam Adshead - October 18, 2008

I know exactly what you mean and you are right Steve. I’m going to change it to mini-hulk, as it suits my point way better.

I think because I’m talking about raw brand new rookies it eliminates playing like a boa constrictor in a positive way as it is something that takes time to perfect. The people I’m talking about are those in their first few weeks of training etc.

I also love those who play that slow constricting game and even though it’s horrible to play against, it’s pure BJJ in action.

Does that clear up the point?

Thanks for striking up the point and good to see you’re still reading what I’m doing.

All the best,
Adam Adshead

3. Tilio - November 7, 2008

Hey guys, I just started bjj for about 4 months i’m 6’5 300lbs and move pretty fast.I fall into the trap of using too much of my strenth.I try really hard not too but when I roll I find myself using all my muscle power.Sometime I get away with it but sometimes i get caught with a arm bar or something.How can I teach myself not to use hardly any muscle at all.

4. Adam Adshead - November 8, 2008

Hi Tilio,

Thanks for the question.

The easiest answer is not to use any strength purposefully when you roll. Look at it this way, I don’t know if you’ve got kids, but imagine rolling with one of your kids, a younger cousin or sibling and how you would roll with them if you had to. Now, roll like this with everyone.

This should get you into the habit of getting used to working without failing back on your strength game all the time.

As for getting caught with things, you will that’s just the way of BJJ and isn’t a bad thing at all.

I think if you try and limit your strength when escaping position or submissions (i.e use more technical ways of getting out), it should be a good place to start.

Lets keep talking about this, email me again with some more information and I’ll try and help you further.

Thanks again,
Adam Adshead

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