” A choke in the hand is worth two in a book”

This is an adaptation of an old saying “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. In modern day thought, this means that it is better to have a sure thing than to risk the sure thing for more.

A choke in the hand is worth 2 in a Book

A choke in the hand is worth 2 in a Book

A choke that you know well and can perform at a higher level compared to your other techniques is worth two (well way more than two) in a book. In this day of BJJ and the internet, one of the biggest mistakes is for students to perpetually switch from learning different techniques and never mastering any of them. This style of learning is a mistake, and a common one.


Now for the original meaning of the phrase. This phrase comes from medieval falconry. The bird in your hand is your trained falcon, this falcon hunts other birds for you. The skills and tools you posses are worth way more than the rewards of a days work. Your skills, on the mat, at work, with people… falconry 🙂 are important to your successes. Spend time collecting powerful skills, not an overflow of knowledge you can’t use.

What are your thoughts? Modern meaning or original? BJJ related or off the mat?