There has been some talk recently about a term called Invisible Ju-Jitsu. I’m not sure where it began, but it’s certainly gaining in popularity.
I think the time has come for something like this. While Jiu-Jitsu in America is still in its infancy, players who’ve been around for a while may be craving something that will turn the page on technique style training to more of a philosophical, or thought, based training. That’s not to say that technique is going anywhere – it may simply take a back seat to the pencil and paper as many climb in rank.
I know Pedro Sauer has talked about it here:
Rickson Gracie Invisible Jiu Jitsu Theory by Pedro Sauer
And I know Marcio Stambowsky talks about it here:
Invisible Jiujitsu With 7th Degree Black Belt Marcio Stambowsky
And Jeff Giroux talks about it here, although he calls it the “Grey Area” of Jiu-Jitsu.
I also read a nice article on Invisible Jiu-Jitsu over here. Give this one a read. The author does a really nice job in breaking down the concepts:
1. Things about you that you can’t see.
2. Things about your opponent that you can’t see.
3. Things about your technique that you can’t see.
Whatever it is, it’s actually can be the glue that separates those who are truly great from those…well, the rest of us.
I think I’ve alluded to the concept of Invisible Jiu-Jitsu in the past while talking to the guys on the mat, although I may not have had my thoughts together. I also may not have known there was a theory already developed for this area of the game. While talking, I tried to explain the concept as being “predictive” or somehow knowing what you should do next and knowing what your opponent is going to do next. Some may call this experience and some may call it science. I think it’s simply how the mind works for the luckier of us.
If you’re an astronomy buff like I am, you surely have read up on Dark Matter in space. For a quick primer, check out this fast definition:
“In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is a type of matter hypothesized to account for a large part of the total mass in the universe. Dark matter cannot be seen directly with telescopes; evidently it neither emits nor absorbs light or other electromagnetic radiation at any significant level. Instead, its existence and properties are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation, and the large scale structure of the universe. Dark matter is estimated to constitute 84% of the matter in the universe and 23% of the mass-energy.”
To understand the concept of Invisible Jiu-Jitsu, it may be helpful to avoid attempting to define it directly, but to compare it to something more simple to understand. If you read the paragraph referring to Dark Matter above, you can pull out some keywords that directly relate to concept we’re talking about. The keywords (and phrases) are: hypothesized, cannot be seen, evidently, inferred, effects, estimates. Not to make a spacial pun, but you’ll notice that all those terms are quite nebulous.
Perhaps being nebulous is the reason so many of us have such difficulty explaining what we’re trying to talk about and why there are those out there who have their ways with us – those who have no training at all. Their “instinct” is better than ours. Their invisibility, predictiveness and their sense of the grey area is better than ours as well.
I think Invisible Jiu-Jitsu may pass many of us by. I think some will never truly train well. I think there will be some who earn an undeserved black belt. I say this because, to me, a black belt has always meant some sort of enlightenment. Sort of like when someone can truly “see” or when an individual becomes a Saint. No to be overly dramatic here, but I have always thought of a black belt as someone who can easily explain the “essence of Invisible Jiu-Jitsu.” The academic side of things. How to explain the “feeling.”
It’s not an easy thing to do. As you can see, I’ve written quite a few words here without explaining what I think the whole thing is. I suppose I can give it a try and let it get fleshed out in the comment section below. Actually, that sounds like a good idea.
Simply said, I think Invisible Jiu-Jitsu is the combination of experience, instinct and impulse that drives a player. It’s what pulls someone towards a good match and what makes someone smile when they think there’s no way out. Invisible Jiu-Jitsu is what releases endorphins at the mere thought of being driven into the mat by a stronger and more experienced player. Invisible Jiu-Jitsu is the confidence you have in knowing you’ll eventually escape anything.