This article was written by 3rd-degree Roger Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Nicolas Gregoriades.
Back when I was a purple belt, I started creating flow charts to help me get a better grasp of the multitude of techniques I was being exposed to. After using them for a couple of months, I noticed a dramatic increase in my overall jiu-jitsu game. If you take the time to make some of your own, I'm sure you will too.
Rickson Gracie's Flow Chart
Right at the start of my grappling career, I stumbled across this flow chart of Rickson Gracie's on the web:
This gives a pretty good insight into the way Rickson thinks. As you can see, his whole game is based around the mount position.
But you don't have to be Rickson to make use of this powerful training tool. Anyone who takes the little bit of time and effort to create one will instantly see where there are gaps in their technical knowledge. The process of making the chart consolidates all your knowledge and reminds you of moves and techniques you may have forgotten.
Types of Flow Diagrams
Because jiu-jitsu was created around positional strategy, I personally like to create my flow charts around certain positions, i.e. mount, or closed guard. But there's nothing to stop you for creating more specific diagrams around particular sweeps, submissions or whatever.
Below I have included a very basic closed-guard flow diagram. I usually do my flow charts freehand, but this time I digitized one of them so it's easier for you guys to read:
So you can see that when I'm fighting from my closed guard, my main strategy is to try to break my opponent's posture.
How Specific Should You Be?
If you have a large enough piece of paper, there is no limit to how specific (or broad) you can be with your flow diagrams. As you become more skilled and your depth of technical knowledge increases, the natural progression will be an increase in the complexity of your flow diagrams.
In my opinion, creating flow diagrams for Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a much more effective method than regular note-taking. If I were any good at drawing, I'd even add in little sketches to each of the steps in the flow diagram.
Let me know if this has helped you, and if you have any tips of your own for making flow diagrams.