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Most Common Mistakes Made By Grapplers

As I sit back and recover from my recent knee surgery, I like to watch the trends in martial arts and other sports. And I find it extremely intriguing how the majority of martial artists and athletes invest so much time on short term exchanges. What do I mean by that? I mean, they invest their time in trying to discover the newest fitness trend, the latest techniques, basically ways of improvising themselves by minuscule fractions. I hear the question all the time, what's the best exercise for this? How can I improve my strength and conditioning to help my game, or people becoming bamboozled by the latest technique shown on some BJJ guys online site, usually breaking down HOW he applied some technique in competition, but failing to teach the WHY, which is far more important.

Everyone is looking for quick results, but investing their time incorrectly. Students are trying to build amazing doors and windows before they even have a house.


When it comes to technique, I say the WHY is more important than the HOW, because how he applied a technique against all common belief really means little. A jiu jitsu technique for example is merely one particular solution to one particular problem. In an art like BJJ there are millions of ever changing variables, not including the fact that you have a living, thinking opponent that is trying to confuse and defeat you at the same time. What problem arises for you to solve in one moment, can be completely changed requiring a new solution in a split second. What is much more valuable than the solution, is the formula! What was the practitioner thinking as he applied the technique? What variables did he evaluate to come up with that particular solution? What formula does he use to select the solution? This is the gold in this game! The formula! But very few can teach this, and it’s one of the key factors I explore in 'The Art of Learning Jiu Jitsu Volume 1 & 2'.


As for the fitness side of things. One thing people must understand is that fitness has a physical limit! And it takes TIME! And LOTS of energy to reach it! Not only that but it takes constant maintenance to keep it at its peak! This requires at least 7-15 hours a week of work. Times that by a year and you're looking at anywhere between 365 & 780 hours a year..

That's a lot of time that could be spent in a much more productive way! Am I saying you shouldn't work on your conditioning? No. I think it's important to be healthy. But people are using any method in which they can to reach this pinnacle of fitness and turn the odds in their favour. That's why so many athletes are turning to steroids and so many other unhealthy stimulants.


A better way to approach things in a long term is by understanding this:

  • Your physical condition doesn't actually make that much of a difference.
  • Your body will eventually get old and all that time you invested into its condition for sport will fade, and you will be left only with whatever skill set you have under all that muscle and fitness.
  • The stresses you out on your body will almost always come back to haunt you in the form of arthritis and various other side effects to such heavy work load.


My advice is to keep a healthy work load. Don't use stimulants. Eat clean. And work on your skill set. The amount of time you spend on conditioning your body to take you from (and I'm going to use Dragon Ball Z to help me with this analogy) level 1,000 Saiyan to level 1,100 (including max conditioning) could have been spent on your skill set taking you to a level 2,000 Super Saiyan (minus max conditioning), and remember when your skill set is already there! The strength and conditioning can always be attained in a few weeks, but the skill set cannot.

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Kit Dale

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