How do you control your opponent’s movement?
One of the dearest concepts to Master Rickson Gracie is that of connection. It’s an element of fighting that is as important as it is imperceptible, and that is present in all positions — from the takedown to the guard, from side control to the mount. In each training session, you and your opponent will be in connection; but it’s necessary to understand and be alert to the concept in order to better develop it.
Connection in jiu-jitsu is not the grip, or the contact with the opponent. Connection is something deeper than that. When you truly connect, you control your opponent’s movement.
“I feel connected to my opponent when I’m in base and use my balance to cancel and capitalize on their moves,” Rickson says. “Connection is the energy that makes us grab the opponent, when they want to move back but can’t. If they keep up the pressure, they will be launched with their back to the ground, because that’s where their force leads. The same happens if I’m connected and they try to push me. Their force will be used against them, in a forward takedown.”
Think about connection as if two individuals were exchanging energy to the point of fusing into a single organism. The energies are in conflict, but it’s mandatory for your connection to prevail and be the stronger one, so you can lead both where you want.
Rickson teaches: “In each position, there are multiple ways to connect and take control of the fight. Use the connection so your physical structure prevails and you control the opponent. The secret to evolving is to strive to be connected one hundred percent of the time as you train.”