Each of these stages builds on top of one another, beginning with survival and defense at the core and working your way up through control and offense. By gathering a full understanding of this framework, it can help you determine exactly where you are in your progression through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.
Stage One: Survival
This is the foundation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes that must be fully mastered prior to moving forward in your training. This involves breathing practices so that you are able to keep your energy and composure under pressure in order to push through the strenuous, full-body workout that Jiu-Jitsu consists of. Many of the most Jiu-Jitsu fighters will lose in competition due to the fact that they have not first mastered this crucial aspect, leading to them over exerting themselves or running out of gas. This is also where you learn how to keep your arms in close to your body and protect your face and neck from your opponent.
Stage 2: Defense
This stage begins once you fully understand the techniques of attack that are being used against you and know the correct move to respond with. As in any sport, the best offense is a strong defense. A good defense in Jiu-Jitsu, leads to an escape and then counter attack, whether it be tacking to prevent an armbar from being finished, tucking your chin and controlling the wrists to stop chokes, or grabbing inside of your thigh to stop a kimura finish. By knowing which defensive technique to apply in the instance of a variety of forms of attack, you are on your way to gaining the next cornerstone of proper Jiu-Jitsu fighting — control.
Stage 3: Control
Control refers to a wide variety of skills that you use to gain the competitive edge in a fight and advance your position. This involves keeping guard, passing guard, achieving dominant position, and more. By learning how to correctly gain control, you can then successfully transition into implementing your offense.
Stage 4: Offense
The offense of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu refers to the realm of submissions and methods of finishing the fight. This is the cherry on top where all your training pays off, as you have worked through the previous steps in order to successfully perform your match-ending attack.
If you are new to Jiu-Jitsu classes and wondering how these four stages fit into the levels of Jiu-Jitsu training, the following breaks down the average progression through the belt ranks:
- White belts begin with survival and defense techniques as their primary focus.
- Blue belts still have a strong emphasis on defense, but begin developing control and even some offense.
- Purple belts must to be sufficient at gaining control enough to the point that offensive opportunities naturally present themselves.
- Brown belts have a strong enough foundation of defense and control that they can focus their training on practicing their offense and submissions.
- Black belts are on their way to obtaining a high level of proficiency in all four stages.
When looking at these four stages, you may be wondering, “does this mean as a beginner that I will not learn any offense or submissions in Jiu-Jitsu classes?” No, that’s not what this means. As a beginner, you will be exposed to everything in your Jiu-Jitsu classes as there is certainly a lot of knowledge to gather, but you will be expected to focus on survival and defense the most in order to build a strong foundation.