Watch and Learn

A while back I was sparring with Rener and I remember being in danger of a choke. His attack was relentless. I tried every technique that I knew, but the choke kept getting deeper and deeper.  Seeing no other option, I abandoned the idea of pure technique and used everything I had to twist free from the choke. Let me be clear… I was more than close to losing the battle. What kept me from tapping or sleeping was not technique, but a strategic explosion.

Observe or Explode

Watching and Learning

When you find yourself in a bad place or in danger of being submitted, try to find a technical solution to the problem. If the technique is not enough, it’s OK to use extra energy and explosiveness in a last ditch effort to survive. But, there’s a better way – simply observe the jiu-jitsu that is happening to you, allow yourself to fail, and accept the “defeat.”

The way I exploded out of danger with Rener is a very common behavior on the mat when technique fails – it’s neither wrong nor right.  You basically have two options: 1)  go crazy, twist, move and jump in whatever direction you think is best or 2) accept that you either lacked technique and/or timing therefore you are defeated.

The value in the second approach is becoming more and more clear to me. When we explode out of danger we lose awareness. Maybe when we are in the most danger we are the most aware. When we accept defeat our awareness increases and with greater awareness we are able to pick up information that we would not have otherwise noticed.

Accepting and observing your defeat serves as a strategic way to gain intel on a situation such as your opponent’s steps, timing, and weight distribution. Doing this often enough will enable you to use this new intel to adjust your technique and/or timing.  This new information will make you more comfortable, moving you one step closer to being a more efficient fighter. When I exploded out of Rener’s choke I won that small battle, but I lost an opportunity to study his technique and lost a few steps in the pursuit of bettering mine.

Q: Is it better to be technical and lose or explosive and survive?

A: Its more efficient and a better investment of your time to be technical and lose. There is value in exploding out of bad situation to safety, it helps you understand what you are physically capable of.  Be aware of the risk of injury , worsening the position and most of all running away from learning the intricacies of jiu-jitsu.  -Ryron

KeepItPlayful Coin

KeepItPlayful Coin

The KeepItPlayful Movement – Ryron Gracie

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About KeepItPlayful

I keep it playful for a living.
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26 Responses to Watch and Learn

  1. Jared Degroot says:

    Very well put and insightful! Thank you Ryron!

  2. As the expression goes, It’s all good. I think a person has to decide what they want the greater part of their game to be. If you like that explosive thing, then work it. If you like the technical approach then work that. The funny thing is, everyone seems to separate the two. Even on the rare occasions I choose to be explosive, it’s never at the expense of technique – there is technically explosive, and there’s just plain explosive.

    Though I always prefer to explore the depths of jiu-jitsu, and not the broader explosive game.

  3. John says:

    Too true. Explosion in the face of defeat has kept me off the matt as it invariably caused injury due to lack of spacial awareness and consequence.

  4. Chaise says:

    I agree. I watch and learn all that I can and I am hoping that once I have my blue belt, I will be able to be as playful and relaxed as my teacher Chris is. I hope to be able to lose as often as I can and learn everything my mat mates want to teach me from their wins.

  5. Jeremy says:

    I feel the same way like i try to use technique but sometimes i gotta get out of a move so i gotta do something quick but smart and i watch the videos of the gracie academy the gracie breakdown and everyday i just try to be more like yall cause yall always seem happy and i got a lot of problems and when im in jiu jitsu i feel way better hopefully i get to meet ryron rener and rorion itll be great im goin to the academy in the summer for a week with my instructor

  6. simpatico says:

    Thanks, this has given me a lot to think about. All the time I notice some training partners not accepting the KeepItPlayful gospel. I am like didn’t you just hear Ryron say “take this slowly.” Then I start feeling a bit frustrated and up the intensity right along with them. I always regret it later because you have taught me better. I just have to commit to losing if I am going to win.

  7. flyjohno says:

    Getting past the ego is the hardest part, in my opinion..

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  9. It’s losing that makes you sincerely critique your own game. You learn a lot from losing because you want to make sure that you don’t make the same mistake again. That’s why tapping out doesn’t mean you’re bad @ jiu-jitsu, it’s just a part of the learning process.

  10. Nishan says:

    Really insightful read. Enjoyed and learned from that post. Thank you.

  11. Gerald Roque says:

    Like this Awsome!!!

  12. Javier Smith says:

    great words Ryron, greetings from Panama City, Panama, big fans down here, keeping it playful is also a good way or helping your partner to be a better fighter, also teachs you that there is alot of teamwork involved.

  13. Pingback: Watch and Learn Jiu-Jitsu – By: Ryron Gracie |

  14. Jeremy says:

    Can you follow me twitter ryron @POEt_PMc
    I cant wait to train with you this summer man .. im entering my first tournament in febuary ..i just wanna get a little bit of experience and if i win itll be awesome
    Ima keep it real ✌️

  15. Gabriel Zambianco says:

    Wise words! Where can i find the video of the match? thank you.

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