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After a student has trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for several years, they begin to question many of the common thoughts or conspiracies out there about unarmed fighting. Case in point, have you ever seen the infamous no-touch knockout? Hopefully nobody reading this believes in that nonsense, but there’s a sucker born every minute.

If you spend time researching and then applying various concepts, principles and ideas against resisting opponents while rolling, you often find that not everything fits into conventional thinking. Island Top Team’s Rob Biernacki did exactly that with a couple of terms which are prevalent within the grappling community. Let’s take a closer look.


Simply put, a scramble is “a difficult or hurried clamber up or over something” or “a disordered mixture of things”. In grappling, it’s normally a scrimmage between two players that normally ends with one person getting a better position or advantage over the other.

Understand that a majority of “scramblers” are normally those who have done wrestling and have trained over time to escape a position in order to reestablish their base, or get to their feet. We can also look at it as a younger or more athletic person getting an advantageous position over someone older or perhaps less athletic. Regardless, many BJJ players typically concede a scramble and simply fall to, or lay down on, their back for the Guard.

However, looking at a scramble in a more technical way, most times you can mathematically quantify who “won the scramble” by which opponent regained their alignment first. How did they do that? By creating a frame, controlling a lever, or denying their opponent from doing the same. So next time you witness a scramble between two players, and one gets the advantage over the other, look to see if they did so by applying one of the above mentioned actions.


Like scramble, we often hear or use the term counter freely being applied to an action that successfully reverses or cancels out something our opponent is doing to us. Going through BJJ with the belief that for every technique there is a specific counter can seriously impair one’s overall training. Reason being, this thinking tends to create “technique chasers” that never take the time to understand how or why something works. Instead they accumulate more and more techniques they believe will help them win.

Let’s look at something a little more specific to provide clarity regarding this point. If an opponent has taken you down, passed your Guard, obtained a dominate position, and moved into a sound submission alignment, then they should be able to tap you out. Each step mentioned was you failing at every range battle (we’ll explore this phrase another time).

So instead of spending a bunch of time on learning multiple techniques or submission “counters”, perhaps use your time wisely by learning how not to get taken down, or how to prevent a Guard Pass, or how to perfect alignment in various positions, or how the body actually works in relation to submissions. Doing this during the white to blue belt journey in BJJ will immensely assist you once you’ve moved into the purple to brown belt levels of your training.

Learn. Drill. Roll. TRANSFORM!

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