Two main ingredients in Jiu Jitsu are PRESSURE and FLOW. But which is better? Different styles usually emphasize one over the other. Some styles give each their equal due. The politically correct short answer is that neither one is better than the other. They are interdependent.
Pressure is the continuous physical force exerted on or against an object/body at a point where there is contact. This is best demonstrated in the top position due to the benefits of gravity. Most BJJ schools emphasize pressure while passing the guard. For good reason. It is effective! Bearing down weight onto your opponent’s defenses has great advantage. Pressure is linear or straight. Used in conjunction with gravity.
Flow is different. It is the act of moving along in a steady, continuous stream. In BJJ, flow is mentioned often, especially in regards to transitions. However, flow isn’t always large graceful movements. Flow can be quite small too. A small twist of the hips or re-distribution of weight. Flow can be measure in several feet or fractions of an inch. Flow is spherical or rounded. The radius of it can change according to the situation.
Both are obviously necessary and useful. An ocean wave has both pressure AND flow. If you have ever been in the ocean and had a wave hit you (or better yet carry you), you will certainly have felt its pressure. But the movement of the wave is where its power lies. If the wave encounters an obstacle, it tests it. If the obstacle is a child’s sandcastle then it bowls right through it, crushing it. If the obstacle is a boulder, then it envelopes it and flows around and over it. Both instances showcase the
“path of least resistance.”
While grappling, be a wave. Test the defenses and obstacles. If it is a sandcastle go through it. If it is a boulder, go around it. White Belts, when you hit strong resistance to something, change course. Blue Belts, when you hit moderate resistance change course. Purple Belts and up, when you hit mild resistance change course. In this way, I believe, flow is better developed.
SIDE NOTE: Neutral Ground Sheboygan heavily emphasizes FLOW. Not because we don’t value pressure, but because FLOW is what is most often neglected. Pressure is almost never neglected! (My opinion)