The Invisible and the Blinders

I have been thinking about this post for three weeks and I decided I need to at least get an idea down on paper.  I'll probably revisit again and edit this week.

A few years ago a classmate told me that we are all blind when we start BJJ.  Over time, we are able to see a little bit more, and little bit more; the blinders are removed over a period of time.  Slowly removed.  Slowly. Removed.  This is ringing more and more true lately as I am seeing my options laid out in front of me like a golden rug covered in jewels.  I roll drunk on a dream BJJ concoction of arm-locks, omo-platas and triangles.   Seeing the submission is the most delicious delight, and even more delicious is being successful in the chess game, obtaining a submission through careful planning and execution.  Pure joy.

Which leads me into the Invisible.

So much of the brilliance of BJJ (an I suspect in most martial arts) exists in spaces not seen by the naked eye.  Technique can be taught to a certain extent, but the artistic, sharp refinement of that lesson must be found.  I watched Leticia Ribiero fight at the Mundials.  Watching her is like watching precision robotic surgery.  I mean, here is this little slip of a woman, probably on the lowest end of her weight class, and she has truly found exactly exactly where to go to achieve her position.  Her jiu jitsu is invisible.  Up close, a grip is a grip is a grip.  A solid triple mount looks like a solid triple mount.  But Leticia's has something extra.  What is she doing?  When will I find that?

One of my instructors, Alex, weighs somewhere between 160 and 170, but if he has you in mount, you might think the man has donned 500 pound weights in his clothes.  Alex knows exactly how to distribute his weight so that a bigger stronger opponent is rendered powerless.  Again, the thing he is doing is invisible to all of us (my class).  We watch him, confounded, what what is he doing?   I try to emulate him.  Hips down, check, scooted up into the arms, check.  Check, check, check all the techniques I have been taught.  Not checked, invisible, beautiful refinement I have yet to find.    

Train well,


  1. Yesterday, I had the privelge of sparring with Fabio, he also became that 500 lbs of instant weight and he is the same weight as me. When you discover that invisible secret, please share. The next secret that needs to be uncovered is the mystery of their super glue grips once they get ahold of a lapel, sleeve, etc. Trying to peel off a hold is practically impossible.


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