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0-0 Introduction

When you first start training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you are obsessed with the what and the how. What do I do in this situation, and how do I do it? Those two questions are forever linked, and a new student asks them hundreds and hundreds of times over. In those early months—or in some cases, years—the why of technique and strategy is glossed over, which is natural.

In chess, discussing advanced strategies and theory is difficult without first knowing how the game works, what pieces do what, where they can move, and what you have to do to win. Jiu-jitsu is no different. You can’t delve into the advanced concepts until you have an understanding of the basics. If you wait too long to explore jiu-jitsu on a conceptual level, however, your ability to improve and to evolve your jiu-jitsu will be stunted. Learning to think about jiu-jitsu is just as important as training your body to perform techniques. As your jiu-jitsu career progresses, you should understand the why of every step of a technique and the purpose of every change in positioning.

Why are you putting that hand there instead of there? Why is this particular technique better to use in this situation than another? Why are you choosing to use this technique, and how does it connect to the rest of your game?

These are hard questions, and they can difficult to answer if you are not accustomed to thinking about jiu-jitsu conceptually. This book is designed to introduce you to some basic jiu-jitsu concepts. By showing you these principles, I hope to give you the tools to explore your jiu-jitsu, to seek out concepts of your own and to have your own epiphanies. By learning to explore the why behind what you do on the mat, you can improve your technique and unearth new possibilities.

Because this book is focused on jiu-jitsu theory, it is structured and organized differently than other instructionals. We will look at how to perform technique and do so in great detail so that a variety of skill levels can benefit from this book, but we will bounce around between positions as we explore the conceptual connections between them, just like we would in a class or in a private lesson.

To replicate the quality of instruction that you get in a private lesson, we will talk just as much about concepts as we do about the details of technique, and that’s also why we are not using still photographs. To bring the jiu-jitsu to life, we are using video and looped, multi-angle animations.