How should a white-belt go about attacking? (The Simba complex.)

Surely you didn't sign up for jiu-jitsu classes to get steamrolled by everybody all the time. And certainly, there may at least be some white-belts you can beat pretty early on. But how does one even approach the art of attacking when they're just starting to scratch the surface of jiu-jitsu? As a student asked Rickson Gracie a couple of years back, "What should my mindset be, as a white-belt, in regards to attacking?" Here's the master's answer:

"I think you're trying, as a very small lion, to become a killer. I think that's not exactly the process. Even though you have already a warrior mind and you wanna be getting results, now it's time for you to feel pressure, to feel comfortable against people who know better, who'll surprise you. So start to feel comfortable with the game of rolling... And there's a lot of tapping for you—not finishes.” 

"So make sure when you get uncomfortable, 'Okay, good,'” Rickson continued, tapping his arm. “So start to be gentle; start to be humble; start to not be too egocentric about not letting people... It's too soon for you to compete. Open your mind. Because as a black-belt, you're gonna do everything. 

"As a white-belt, the difference is: you're supposed to be a white-belt in jiu-jitsu when you're five, six years old. You're starting your relationship with jiu-jitsu a little too late; you're already a man. So you cannot think as a man, rationally: 'Oh, my ego! I cannot do this. I cannot look bad.' All this is, you know... If you're a five-, six-year-old kid, you're not intending to be egocentric or humble; so you go there and have fun, and start to learn how to break a fall, start to learn to tap, start to learn how to deal with situations. 

"Eventually, you're gonna say, 'Oh, he's gonna choke me,' and then you block. Eventually, you already know what he's gonna do, and then escape, as you're putting yourself in comfortable positions. And only then, you're gonna be able to start keeping the pressure and the checkmates, and the consistency in offense... 

"Because the offense doesn't come in one move. The offense comes with pressure; and I attack your neck, and when you save yourself on the neck, you're already giving me the arm, and that's what I want. So it's a lot about the notion of comfort, control, weight distribution to lead you to make somebody tap. So, as a white-belt, it's impossible for you to create that kind of strategy which leads the guys to submission. So, right now, be relaxed, enjoy yourself; and, eventually, you're gonna be a killer." 


thejaredevans Avatar
thejaredevans commented:

I'm only beginning to understand this in my own game. The concept of strategic pressure, not just physical pressure, really helps to overload the opponent's ability to process how to respond to your actions, allowing you to relax and wait for opportunities. Great video!

February 03, 2022 08:31 AM
Martin Rampersad Avatar
Martin Rampersad commented:

This is encouraging when understood.

February 03, 2022 06:46 AM