How BJJ Improved My Stand-Up Fighting in Kung Fu and Karate
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How BJJ Improved My Stand-Up Fighting in Kung Fu and Karate

February 24, 2020

Howdy. Ando here from Happy Life
Martial Arts. Today I’m gonna share six ways that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu improved
my stand-up skills from kung fu and karate. Some of this is practical, some a
little more philosophical, but either way, spoiler alert– if you’re primarily a
stand-up martial artist I’m gonna recommend that you give BJJ a try. Before
we get started, I should tell you that I didn’t want to take BJJ, but like
everybody else living in the age of the Gracie Revolution and the UFC, I knew I’d
have to try it at some point. When I finally signed up my goal was not to give
up what I was already doing, my goal wasn’t even to be very good at BJJ. My
goal was simply to stop doing the stupid things that untrained people do when
they hit the ground like sticking your arms out, or rolling over, or crying. I
hated the idea of losing a fight to someone who only knew a little bit more
than I did about fighting on the ground. So when I finally signed up, my goal was
just to learn the basics. I figured it would take about six months. Wrong!
Turns out 10 years later, I’m still making stupid mistakes. But over time I
figured out that the mistakes I make aren’t really ground fighting mistakes,
they’re flaws in my character– my fears, my ego. By giving me a different way to
train fighting, BJJ has given me a different way to see myself, a different
way to improve myself, which is why I think you should try it too. But before
we get too philosophical, let’s get back to the practical. Here comes six ways
that BJJ has helped me improve my stand-up skills and my living skills. All right. Number one– confidence. Many
martial artists lean away from their strikes or they stop from following up
because they’re afraid of getting countered. But when you’re not afraid of
being grabbed or tackled or pinned on the ground, well that can add a lot of
pop to your punches and kicks. So train your stand up art as hard as you can,
but train a little BJJ as a back-up plan. It’s a lot easier to stand your
ground when you’re not afraid of falling on the ground. Number two– structure. Now obviously
punching kicking and takedowns all require good balance good alignment
and good posture, but when you’re on the ground and you’re stuck under someone’s
entire body weight, you really respect how to line up your bones to try to
manage that pressure and keep from getting crushed. That deeper level of
awareness of how to set up my skeleton his only made my punches and kicks and
takedowns better. I may look the same to my partners but I sure don’t feel the
same. Number three– BJJ improved my grip. I don’t just mean stronger,
I mean smarter. In my first year or two of BJJ I was holding on way too hard and
for way too long. I was terrified of letting go of a bad situation
because I thought it would just make it worse. As a result I jacked up my fingers
big-time. The solution? Stop trying to muscle my way out of every problem and
start trusting my wits instead. That led to an even bigger lesson– learning when
to hold on to an idea when it’s helping you and when to let go of an idea when
it’s holding you back or hurting you. If you can figure that out,
well you’ll reach your goals on and off the mats. Plus you’ll save a lot of money
on athletic tape. Number four– fighting small battles to win big wars. In BJJ
when you’re getting crushed or choked, the amount of relief you can gain
by moving your body even 1/2 an inch one way or the other can be profound. Sure,
small technical details make a big difference in striking, too, but BJJ really
slowed me down to make me respect the little things even more. Now I don’t mind
throwing an extra jab or two to set up a better position to throw that big punch.
BJJ helped me see that as long as I’m moving forward even half an inch at a
time I have a chance at winning the war. Number five– timing or picking the right
moment. I thought I was in good shape but when you go to the ground you’re gonna
find out that good shape is not good enough. You’re gonna watch in horror as
you gas out, lay out, pass out, and not be able to fight back at all. But there’s
good news– when you burn up all your energy you’re forced to figure out when
to exert yourself and when to relax. When to explode and when to just slow down
take a breath and fight for something a little smaller. BJJ is great at getting
your priorities straight and learning how to use your energy wisely. If you
don’t, well you end up tapping out, breaking a leg, or puking all over
yourself. Okay, last one. Number six– contact. Look– I had been doing sweeps and locks
and takedowns for years before I started BJJ. I thought I was cool getting close
to people. Turns out BJJ is just closer. You might
end up with someone’s sweaty chest grinding on your face for 5 or 10
minutes! But a funny thing happens along the way. At some point that doesn’t
bother you so much anymore. I don’t look forward to it, don’t get me wrong, but it
doesn’t bother me. And that’s a good thing because then when you’re standing
back up and someone grabs you or picks you up, you don’t freak out as much. In
contrast, if all you do is point sparring, you might train yourself
into believing that being touched is instant death. Point! Game over.
But in grappling you don’t fear being touched. If anything you welcome the
touch because you know that’s your first chance to start controlling the
situation. Let me go a little deeper on this one. When your main focus is
striking, it’s easy to feel disconnected from your opponent. I want to stay away
from them so they can’t strike me and I only want to get close enough so that I
can strike them. And even when I do connect with a strike, it’s just for an
instant before I pull back to the safety and comfort of being all alone. Well,
grappling is the complete opposite. Grappling is all about connection. You
have to feel okay touching other people and you have to feel okay with people
touching you. Now I know that might sound a little weird, but get over it. Feeling
comfortable touching other human beings is a far healthier mindset than walking
around trying to keep everybody away from you all the time.
Hugging someone you love is one thing, but if you can feel comfortable hugging
someone who hates you or someone who’s even trying to hurt you,
then you, my friend, have a very powerful tool in making this world a better place. Either by holding someone and controlling them, calming them down and
letting them go… or by picking them up and dropping them on their head. Alright.
I could talk about this subject all day but that’s enough for now. To be clear,
I’m not telling you that you have to be a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but
I do hope that you’re open-minded enough to try different martial arts– not to
replace what you’re doing, but to enhance what you’re doing. And if that means
signing up for a BJJ class, go for it. At least for six months. if you liked this
video, thanks for subscribing to the channel and maybe sharing with a friend.
Thanks for that. Until next time, reach out. Reach out
touch someone and keep fighting for a happy life.

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  1. Good remarks. Today I practice taekwondo, but before I did nearly two years of judo and everything I learned about ground fighting is still handy.

  2. Another youtuber mentioned the risk of injury in BJJ, because you sometimes have someone's bodyweight crushing your spine. Is there anything that might prevent that ?

  3. Did Jiu-Jitsu years ago and I felt it really improved my Karate at the time. Now practicing Kung Fu, I feel that a lot of what I learned about body mechanics and manipulating my opponent's body really help with learning the Shuai Jiao and Chin Na techniques that we practice.

  4. This video feels somewhat related to the thought that came to me a few days ago. Basically, I was trying to find something that makes TKD/JD a good combination for self defence. And it turns out it's most likely not techniques learned, but balance on feet, one foot or the other in Taekwondo and both feet at once in Judo. In the street, going to the ground might equal death, so balance is extremely important, or at least that's what it looks like to me. Great you could point out so many things in BJJ that translate outside of the mat. Awesome video!

    P. S. Would it be too much to request a video where you share your take on vertical vs horizontal punches and first two vs bottom three knuckle punches?

  5. Really good points. If you don't mind me asking, what rank are you in bjj? I'm more just curious how many hours you've actually been able to put into it while doing what you already do. I'm coming up on 3 years im a shitty blue belt 😅

    When i think, how do i explain bjj to others, the first thing that comes to mind is musashi: when you know the way broadly you see it in all things.
    Bjj is one of those things that can teach you things in every other aspect of your life. You can apply bjj lessons to relationships, work, anything competitive, I can literally see it in all things.

  6. I'm blessed with a lot of coach, I learn wrestling from Kyle Dake and Jordan Burroughs, BJJ from Rickson, Renzo, Rener and Ryron Gracie, Judo from Travis Steven, Jimmy Pedro, Shintaro Higashi. I just need a stand up game now

  7. I love traditional Jujitsu , I knew my ground game sucked. I don't like the ground but Judo has improved it. The best way to not end up on the ground it to be aware how you end up on it .

  8. BJJ is an art I intend to dabble in after I get a solid foundation in my current discipline (Oyama Karate) and Judo. Basically a 10 year estimate.

  9. I was just thinking about signing the new BJJ class in my gym and this video came out. Thanks sensei, I'll definitely give it a shot.

  10. Nice video, only if we take BJJ as sports, in a real fight BJJ is not good against you if you have good teeth, in a take down I will have anybody for breakfast with a big chunk of meat in my mouth from my opponent

  11. Never heard of BJJ before now, could have used that in my youth: Confident 16 year old going home after a good night out, went down the sub-way then 3 low life's punched me out. I'm on the floor, rolled into a ball while they all kicked me (it didn't seem to hurt at first) I'm thinking – they will stop soon, but they didn't ….. It was probably only 60 seconds but felt a lot longer. I saw some light and just got up an ran for it.
    Shortly after that I joined my first club, the only sensible thing I did at 16 !
    Cut a very long story short: I go to my home town a lot, when I get close to that sub-way I always walk down there, in the hope I meet the low life's offspring.

  12. Love the way you lay down the facts. Trained jujitsu and judo all my youth. I won't say I could use it to defend myself but if there's one thing I've learned it is order. Prior to jujitsu/judo training every grappling situation looked like a complete chaos to me, so my mind went blank as I didn't have a clue what would I do should I find myself in that same sit. It is definitely a must have base for anyone, but there is more to learn later. I'd say if you combine jujitsu/judo with kino mutai and WIlder's boxing style with kung fu, you're yet to see a whole new animal in martial arts world. How cool would that be?

  13. I definitely have found systema will benefit me after learning a little bit about it. Got into systema because of it. Nowadays training in systema as the main fighting style. Now to supplement basic training in bjj along with others to build up my skills. Eventually becoming adept.

  14. Thanks a lot for this video. There are BJJ classes in our Muay Thai gym. I thought I should give it a try many times, but I always think I should focus on one art a time to not get too confused. But I agree with you on number 6 : unfortunately for me, there are clinches at Muay Thai, haha ^^ ! And I'm really not very good at them……

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