– It is easy to understand how an outsider watching Jiu Jitsu would only see armlocks, chokes and the occasional footlock. These are the highly visible aspects of the art. The Submissions! Easily recognized. But they are only the tip of the iceberg. The dedicated practitioner of Jiu Jitsu will gradually get a deeper and deeper look underneath the surface. Seeing the depths that are hidden to the untrained. How deep one goes depends on two things: Mat time & Mindset.
Mat Time? Easy. Train consistently and often. 2 to 3 classes per week minimum is recommended.

The correct mindset is helpful to achieve mastery in Jiu Jitsu. With the wrong mindset we can only go so far in the art.

The “submission-fixated” mindset learns strategies and tricks to get “the tap.” The way in which the submission is gained means little or nothing. Sure, this person can win a bunch of medals in competition. This person can be the tough guy. But at a big cost. The “submission-fixated” practitioner will miss the real beauty of the art. They tend to force techniques or “insist” on them. They will sacrifice smooth transitions, effortless set-ups, proper use of timing and leverage for the quick ego-boost of getting another person to tap. They tend to “force” not “flow.” This is a pitbull style. Grinding and tenacious.

The “Flow Like Water” mindset is one of efficiency, longevity and beauty.
Efficiency – getting maximum results with minimal effort.
Longevity – In the art for the long haul, still training at an old age.
Beauty – (in the BJJ context) making something that is very complicated look easy.

To paraphrase NG founder Jon Friedland, “submissions” are only 4% of Jiu Jitsu. The top 2% is you submitting your opponent and the bottom 2% is you getting submitted. The 96% in between is where the real Jiu Jitsu is.

Some indicators that we are too focused on submissions:
Only rolling when we are fresh.
Heavy mouth breathing after rounds.
Cause injuries due to recklessness.
Facial scowls while rolling.
Getting upset when we get submitted.

Flow, don’t insist. If a submission isn’t nearly effortless then move on. Submissions should be a hot knife through butter. Smooth, effortless and beautiful. How you get the submission is more important than the submission itself.