The power of switch



A peculiar thing exists in board sports. The very first moment you put your feet on a board, you subconsciously chose your skating stance: you put your “stronger” or leading foot on the board and you push with the other to get momentum. The left leg on the deck means the stance is ‘regular’ and if the right foot is forward, then it’s ‘goofy’ footed. Now here comes the interesting part because it can be mixed up. An originally goofy footed skater may step on a skateboard with his other foot and will execute tricks ‘the other way’ also known as switch. It’s way harder to do anything mirrored, simply because you have to learn it all over again. If you ever tried to brush your teeth with your ‘other’ arm you know what I’m talking about.

And what does this has got to do with BJJ or grappling?

All the techniques we practice can also be applied two ways. For example you can do a scissor sweep to the left and also to the right. You might go for a single leg takedown aiming for the left or right leg. A lot of factors do come in calculation when these maneuvers are done, but a lot of times you just go for your stronger side without even knowing it. This is not a conscious choice, it occurs out of instinct even though you train these moves two-sided. Over the years I’ve been training with a couple of guys who insisted on practicing only one side when learning a new movement. Their reason is that they are having a hard time understanding and completing the move on one side so why bother with the other?

It’s a bad habit not only because it makes them unilateral, but also because it makes them vulnerable when the situation is not in the favor for their strong-side.

Even though I always train techniques for both sides like the majority of people, during sparring I find myself a lot of times in the same situation: for example from north-south position 8 out of 10 times I will go to get the opponent's left arm to go for a kimura instead of the right one. I do this because I go for my stronger side. So I always have to remind myself to go the unfavored direction. It sometimes feel awkward, but in the long run I know it pays off. 

What will make a difference in future generations of BJJ champions is that they won’t have a stronger or weaker side. They will have flawless techniques bilaterally. It also happened with skateboarding: Just watch the world class skaters in competitions and you can’t tell which is their real stance anymore. The Buchechas, Riberios and Galvaos of tomorrow will have impeccable skills that can be only achieved by training for equilibrium.  


Just like the Universe, Jiu Jitsu and Life in general...It's all about balance.

Stay humble and true


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