PCS and the Hierarchy of Positions
Let me be the first one to tell you, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a complex sport. There is a lot to learn, and the learning never stops! I’ve been at it over 20 years and I literally learn something new every day. That is the beauty of the sport….it’s like learning to play chess, when all you’ve ever played is checkers.
Though it is complex, if you begin with a good, firm, solid foundation, the sky is the limit for how proficient you can become with your own personal game, as well as the students that you teach. It’s like building a house, a solid foundation, with good framing makes for a solidly built house. A poor foundation is like a house of cards…..it may look pretty, for a minute, but having no foundation, it will soon collapse.
With all that said, let me explain how we are going to build our students game, how we will ‘lay it out’ for them, and how we will put them in a mindset of ‘knowing’ that they know what to do from each position.
First let’s start with our mantra of P.C.S.. P.C.S. is the Acronym for POSITION, CONTROL, SUBMISSION.
Let’s address Position. Our theory is to get to a position and maintain that position. For example, if you pass the guard, get a good firm side control before you attempt to mount or finish. I’m not saying to stall, or not fight. I’m saying to control the position before you move forward. We are always pushing forward (and I’ll talk about that in a minute when we discuss hierarchy of positions), and not getting in a hurry to a point where you do something stupid and lose the position.
CONTROL: I’ve touched on the control portion. Get to the position, control the position. There is nothing worse than working to get to a position and then losing it. Especially in a fight! Be patient. Get to the position, and play like you’ve been there before. Know in your heart that you know what to do, and have a plan to do it. All the reps that you put in at the Academy will prepare you with this attitude. Position and Control…….gives you confidence, and set’s up the Submissions, or at least puts you in a position to begin looking for them.
SUBMISSION: As you learn the position and control game, you will learn submissions along the way. Submissions can be hit from virtually all positions and in transitions from position to position. Trust the Position and Control game, and trust me, the submissions will be there. It’s almost ‘magical’ how they appear! Lol.
That’s a brief glimpse of the PCS Game, and we will discuss this throughout our relationship together. With that brief set up, now let’s look at the hierarchy of positions and how to put that into your ‘mental’ preparation game for the kids you are teaching.
HIERARCHY of Positions.
For every position there is in Jiu-Jitsu, there is also it’s opposite position. A top and a bottom. A best case and a worst case. Let’s look at this on a totem pole and see the hierarchy.
Best Case to Worst Case:
Back Mount with Hooks
Back Mount with Hooks
(There is another position that we will deal with later and it’s called the turtle position, and I cover North South when teaching side control)
The way we teach the kids this is to visually go through each position. A top and a bottom, starting with back with hooks, and show them how to go from position to position and work our way up the hierarchy.
This gives the student an awareness of what we need to next. They learn to use a specific technique or techniques to get to the next best position, or a position that is higher up on the hierarchy of positions module.
For example: If you are mounted. Rather than freak out and try to strong arm your way out of the position, you simply use the UPA mount escape and end up in your opponents guard. You go from the second worst position you can be in, to a neutral position in his guard, by using one Jiu-Jitsu technique!
Using this ‘mindset’ and with plenty of reps, over time, you will learn that you are ‘okay’ no matter the position that you are in. You get into a mindset that, “hey, I may not win this thing, but I’m sure not going to lose”. And then with that mindset, you continue to improve your game to a point that you can start winning!
Look at it this way. If a child is in 3rd grade and weighs 50 pounds, and an 80 pound 6th grader bullies him or her on the playground. If the smaller child is able to neutralize the situation, and take no damage, who is the winner? I say the smaller child wins, if they don’t lose in that type situation.
Another way of saying it is that we learn “not to lose”, and then we learn “how to win”. We also find that when one knows Jiu-Jitsu, they are less likely to need to ‘fight’ as they have a different air of confidence and carry themselves accordingly. Silent confidence speaks very loudly!!!!
Trust the PCS approach as you help build your students game, and impress upon your students the hierarchy of these positions, and you will help them build a very solid foundation that they can build on for the rest of their lives. Insist on ‘perfection’ as they work the techniques and never settle for the using ‘short cuts’. Shortcuts make for weak foundations, and weak foundations make for poor jiu-jitsu in the long run.
Take your time, have fun, and watch the Jiu-Jitsu houses become fortresses!
Train Hard……Train Smart……Train for LIFE!!!
Professor Larry Shealy