Have you ever been to class and learned a new detail for a technique that you already thought that you knew completely? Have you ever watched a YouTube video by a high-level instructor and were amazed at how many details there were in a seemingly "basic" technique?
The truth is that most jiu-jitsu techniques have several small details that dramatically increase the effectiveness of the "basic" move. Details make the difference!
1) All parts of your body must be used in applying the technique.
One of the principles that make jiu-jitsu techniques so efficient is that a smaller person is applying the force and leverage of their entire body against the joints of a larger opponent.
Yet I often see students attempting techniques with primarily upper body strength and forgetting to engage the more powerful muscle groups of the hips and legs.
A good way to test some of your techniques is to ask yourself (and your instructor!) "What should each of my limbs be doing in this technique?". You may be surprised at how all of your limbs have a role in applying a technique - when at first glance it seems the other limbs have no role in the move.
2) How is your opponent going to try to escape? Black belts will not rush a technique and ignore the details that prevent the opponent's most likely escapes.
Often we are so excited to be in a submission position that we rush and skip over important details. The unfortunate result is that the technique is not tight and our opponent escapes. Observe the high-level jiu-jitsu fighters who move into a position to attack, and pause an instant to take a trip to control the opponent and prevent the escape. This small detail can make or break the technique!
Ask yourself: "How can I stop the opponent from countering while I am applying the technique?"
3) Never assume that you know all there is to know about a "basic" technique.
The so-called basic techniques are anything but simple! There are subtle but important details that make the basic techniques work for all types of body types in BJJ academies all over the world.
When you get an opportunity to train with a top-level jiu-jitsu instructor, ask them about one of your favorite techniques. Preferably a technique that you feel that you already have a strong command of. Now ask the black belt instructor about it and I'll bet you learn a new detail that makes your already strong move go up a whole other level!