Training without a gym: 6 degrees

While the Feynman technique is helpful in testing the depth of your knowledge of a certain technique, position, etc., the below exercise can help find the connections between these seemingly disparate pieces.

6 degrees

From Wikipedia:

Six degrees of separation is the idea that all people are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other.

We can apply this idea to BJJ by trying to find the connections within – and between –  these three broad categories:

  • Positions (different guards, positions of dominance)
  • Transitions (sweeps, passes)
  • Submissions

For example, if I’m just trying to wake up my BJJ brain, I’ll start with just the “Positions” category and choose two at random. Let’s say De la riva and mount. The exercise is then to connect these two positions together in 6 “degrees” – moves – or less.

Things can get even more interesting when the other categories are added. For example, if we use all three:

  • Position: De la riva
  • Transition: Torreando pass
  • Submission: Armbar

The exercise then becomes more like a game with dozens of possibilities. You could try to connect each one within 6 moves, or try to connect all three in 6 moves total. Or set a timer and try to brainstorm as many connections as you can within the 6 “degrees” you’ve defined.

Further, each category can be tweaked to your liking. For example, “Positions” could be narrowed down to only certain guards, “Transitions” limited to only passes, or “Submissions” limited to a certain limb.

Lastly, this is an exercise that can be done without any equipment at all, a more exploratory cousin to visualization that can be used to get the creative wheels turning, no matter if you’re on or off the mats.