Jiu Jitsu is not the art of submitting my opponent, passing their guard, or even sweeping them. Jiu Jitsu is the art of controlling my opponent – it is the art of position. The ultimate control is a submission. But to think that Jiu Jitsu is the art of submission instead of the art of controlling my opponent confuses the point.
Before we are able to control our opponent, we must first be able to control ourselves. To illustrate: the moment I start to feel overwhelmed during a roll – let’s say I’m feeling tired, out of breath or find myself in a bad position, that is when I need to slow down, steady my breathing, and gain perspective to better understanding the threats of where I am at in the roll. If I am extremely tired while I have my guard closed, for example, I am likely not going to open guard to try execute a sweep, triangle, etc. The reason being is we cannot apply proper technique when we are feeling overwhelmed. Instead, it is wiser to take 10 to 30 second during the roll to breathe deeply and regroup to then start attacking.
Likewise, it is impossible to control my opponent when I am out of breath. We all understand that when we are rolling and are out of breath it is not simply about being tired. We also begin to feel suffocated and find it difficult to process information. At that point, the most important task is to make sure that we get ourselves in a position to be able to breathe well and to think properly. Once this foundation is set, we will have then positioned ourselves to be able to control our opponent.
If we limit Jiu Jitsu to the art of submission only, then when we get into a particular position we believe that it is all about pushing and muscling through, which can dig an even deeper hole for ourselves. It is impossible to control our opponent if we cannot control our own breathing, emotions, mind, and body.
Jiu Jitsu is the art of control. You cannot control your opponent if you cannot first control yourself; your own breathing, your mind and your emotions.
– Professor Tony Passos