Focus on recomposing first
Lots of beginner students want to develop a berimbolo or a spider guard or a De la Riva guard right from the start.
It’s a classic example of wanting the shiny object. Or wanting dessert before dinner.
You see that a move is very effective or a position is very common and of course you want to practice those moves or those positions.
But I believe for beginners especially, you should focus on learning how to retain your guard first.
Guard retention is such an under appreciated skill that will form the foundation of your guard play.
If you have good guard retention you will have a great guard.
So many higher belts neglect or have neglected this and it always comes back to bite them.
If nothing else it will be easier to start off with guard retention first and build up from there versus learning how to play a particular guard and then having to train and un-learn bad habits. Just to focus on those same basics.
Basics are something that a lot of people don’t want to focus on. It’s not cool, it’s not fancy, it’s very bare-bones, very utilitarian and sometimes boring.
And I see this with higher level competitors as well. They might be advanced in many positions but have very low skill in the fundamentals.
It might not seem like a big a deal because you can be a top competitor without the fundamentals. However, this is only true for the top 1% of athletes doing Jiu Jitsu.
For the rest of us, it’s probably better if we develop those basics early on because it will pay off in the long run. It’s very similar to saving. If you learn how to save when you’re young — you know saving has a compounding effect — by the time you’re 60 if you’re saving since 15 you will have accrued a lot of wealth. Versus if you start saving at age 50. By the time you’re 60 it will not have grown as much.
What I’m getting at is time is key.
The time that you spend learning how to recompose is going to pay off later on. Of course, you’re going to get you guard passed learning how to recompose properly. That’s just a part of the process until you become more confident and you develop a sense of where to position your self so you can fight to keep your guard.