Article by Brown Belt Jon Cotton:
In real estate there is a saying that goes: location, location, location. I’m sure you all have heard this at some point. Well in jiu jitsu there should be a similar saying: pressure, pressure, pressure. Jiu jitsu is literally all about pressure. Think about two of the hallmarks of jiu jitsu, the rear naked choke, and the armbar. A rear naked choke requires you to put pressure on the arteries in order to cut of the blood flow to the brain, which cause to opponent to either tap out or pass out. To finish an armbar you need to put pressure on the opponents elbow that will either cause them to tap or have there elbow ripped to shreds.
Pressure is what makes things happen in jiu jitsu. What makes someone good is there understanding of what kind of pressure to put on. The guy on bottoms job is to minimize the about of pressure his opponent can put on him, or if he cant lessen the pressure he needs to redirect it in order to be able to move and escape. Think the knee to elbow side control escape. The frame on the neck helps relieve some of the pressure on you, then the bridge shifts the pressure from your chest to his butt, which allows you to escape his side control. The guy who is on top should consciously be thinking about what kind of pressure he is putting on this opponent. There’s either pressure to make them move, or pressure to hold them still. Knowing which one to use is the key. Trying to put pressure on a really squirrelly guy with the intention of making him move just doesn’t make sense. You want to hold him still so you can work.
Physical pressure also leads to psychological pressure. If you are constantly attempting to put pressure on your opponent you can make them feel desperate to relieve the pressure. When people are desperate they don’t necessarily move in the correct way. The might leave there neck open or put an arm in the wrong place and they open up an attack for you.
Basically if you want to take the next step in your development start really thinking about pressure. Think about what kind you should be using and where you should be putting it.