Saturday, October 8, 2011


Forward: DSTRYR/SG has been going strong for over 2 years now and we're only getting better. A lot of our newer readership missed out on some great exclusive stuff from the "early days." We intend to change that by giving you some flashbacks to some of our best material. Here's a post my teammate and friend, Kenny Bond (3rd degree black belt, Pan American Champ, and head coach at Simi Valley BJJ) wrote back in the day.  It's spot on and still makes me think about my own approach to my BJJ game.

Okay, maybe the title should really be called, “Develop a Personal Jiu Jitsu Game,” but I’m a smart-ass and can’t help being contrary to DSTRYR’s previous post. One of the beautiful qualities of BJJ is that everyone can be creative and personalize their jiu jitsu style to their age, body type, flexibility, size, etc. I agree with DSTRYR in that we should step out of our comfort zones to round out our game.

But first, we must develop our strengths, our style, our game. In my humble opinion, your first months (and years) of jiu jitsu should be spent learning the basic movements and concepts of BJJ. Your body should start to adapt to BJJ and once awkward movements will flow from your body without much thought. I call it “Jiu Jitsu Muscle Memory.” Your body will magically flow from side control to mount to the back to guard etc. automatically. Once a solid foundation of basics is developed, I encourage my students to begin developing their personal game. What is a personal BJJ game? It’s a specific move or series of moves that you have refined to a level where you can pull off on almost every opponent, even if they know what's coming.

  • DSTRYR, blogger [we like to think we've evolved beyond the word "blog"] extraordinaire, was a triangle guy. That was his game. He pulled guard and triangled everyone (including black belts when he was a purple).
  • When I used to train with Eddie Bravo, he would always pull half guard, sweep, and finish with the twister.
  • Marcelo Garcia arm drags, or pulls guard, sweeps, takes the back, and finishes.
  • Me? I pull guard, sweep or finish with Bondoplata.

I used to train with a blue belt that was a kimura master. He had 12 different ways to set up kimuras from top, bottom, half guard, side-mounted, etc. If he didn't tap you with his kimura, he would use it as a sweep. His kimura won him tournaments and was instrumental in his promotion to purple belt.

Do you see a pattern here? Successful BJJ players have developed an attack that can be implemented on everyone. You need to chose a move or series of moves that you develop and refine so thoroughly, you can pull it off backwards, forwards, on big guys, on small guys, and threaten higher belts. It doesn’t need to complicated, it just need to be effective and repeatable.

So pick your game, practice it, drill it, test it on lower belts, tweak it, drill it a thousand times, and then drill it thousand more times. Soon your opponents will fall into your web again and again.

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