“No Man steps in the same river twice” -Heraclitus


We should always come back to asking what more does this technique or concept represent than it’s initial face value.

It starts with how this particular choke grip applies to the finish. Then how it applies to other chokes. Or how does this choke grip apply to positional consolidation after a sweep or pass? Further, how does it apply to a seemingly unrelated movement within BJJ where a choke isn’t even intended? How are these concepts that each technique represents applied beyond the mats, to traffic jams and family disputes, parenting and mindfulness. Everything is related, all are connected, and it’s on us as a team to make the connections. We help each other see beyond the initial exposure to BJJ, and beyond the minute details of a hand in the collar.

As a teammate, but especially as an instructor, we should visualize how others see each technique differently. The x-choke from guard for example.

Some teammates could see the first half of crossed forearms as they’re first exposed to the x-choke.

Second time around they notice how deep the grip was and how they’ve been too shallow with their x-choke attempts.

Some see how the upper body needs to get to the side to get that deep grip, and how that same motion is similar to straight arm lock and triangle and pendulum sweep, and omaplata.

Others still might see how that deep grip combined with an elbow tap can expose a back take opportunity.

Or more abstractly, might this be their reminder that they haven’t been going deep enough in finishing their book or home remodeling project, or started either half-assed?

Some see the deep grip that allows you to push and pull as a metaphor to not keep banging our head against the wall in an impossible work situation. To stop holding a submission well after it’s sufficiently defended, and think in opposites to outflank. To push away from a toxic environment, or to pull yourself into a fruitful one.

The answers to all the advanced questions in BJJ lie in these ever repeated conceptual maxims of truth. We see them early like you hear basic life truths early, but our interpretations of them change through time and repetition, changing circumstances and applications.

Thinking we’ve seen a technique enough times, especially over time, is common but outright silly. We need the reminder that “no man steps in the same river twice” as both the river and the person is never the same. Not only will there be differences and modifications in the technique’s teaching, but we are also a different person with different eyes.

Like an adult and child laughing together at the same Family Guy scene, for completely different reasons. We evolve with a more experienced eye, nothing is “known”, we don’t get bored, we pick up something different each time the “same” technique is taught.

If these different interpretations of these repeating concepts don’t start to appear and manifest along our journey, our flame will burn out under a pile of isolated techniques we “already know”, and we’ll soon fade from the mats entirely.

Stay open, on the mats and in life.