From a taijiquan perspective, I need to start thinking about bjj as pushing legs. Sure, you, random reader who studies taijiquan, say “pushing hands is not meant to be literally pushing hands”, and you, random reader who studies bjj, say “huh?”. Suffice it to say there is a similarity. However, when I try rolling, almost immediately there is no consciousness, no intention, no awareness, no aliveness in my legs. They aren’t sticking, sensing, adhering, following, and so on. Then, they suddenly wake up and it’s too late for a good (early) counter. I’m guessing from a newbie perspective that pushing legs is about half the game on the ground. Doesn’t matter what the exact percentage is, since I currently have zero skills in this thing, so half is a good enough estimate.

I have a book called The Guard which shows a drill (rather like a form or posture) that might as well be cloud hands with the legs and feet. That’s how I think of it. You lie on your back and try to initiate movement from your core to turn your feet in circles – inside to out, and outside to in. The drill is basically applied in pushing hands fashion against someone using arms or legs to pass your guard. You circle then find your desired foot or leg position.

My problem is my legs have no sensitivity. I will try to see if I can transfer some of this idea from my arms to my legs since I understand it kinesthetically in the arms, and I understand mentally that it should be very similar if not the exact same. The “ground path” is from back through waist up to legs and feet, though. I’ll see if I can just keep this “intent” this week and if that changes anything.

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