It is not the martial art style, it is the individual that matters. Each individual has a unique combination of skills, talents and sport specific attributes.
In the early days of BJJ, since the art was originally created for self-defense, everything was all about technique. The idea was that with proper technique, no matter how small or weak you were, you should be able to submit your opponents. However, as more people started to train in sport, it became apparent that certain sport specific attributes come in to play when you train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for competition.
In my humble opinion, attribute training supersedes technique training in importance. Without strong sport-specific attributes and a solid foundation, your techniques will lack the practical application needed to achieve the proper results. Attribute training is not just overall fitness, strength or cardio training. Key attributes include speed, timing, rhythm, applying pressure, strength, flexibility, sense of balance, coordination, coachability, competitiveness, etc. We must note that these attributes are part of the individual athletes talents and abilities and can only be trained and enhanced to a certain extent.
Attribute training can significantly enhance a grappler’s ability to apply techniques and be successful in BJJ. For example, some grapplers are so flexible that they can escape from omoplatas or footlocks, these attributes allow them to get away with a broader margin of error than most people.
The battle between attribute based performance and great technique is ongoing and the more you work on your attributes the more effective your techniques will be. The more advanced your game, the more attributes come in to play. For example, have you ever seen a competitor who has just great balance and not pure technique that prevents him of being swept although his opponent also uses great technique.
There is also timing, one of the greatest attributes in BJJ and martial arts in general. Timing is the ability to know (or feel) when to apply pressure, how to catch your opponent off-guard, how to push or pull and sweep him when his balance is compromised and not miss every small window of opportunity. Timing is also known as finesse.
Coordination is another attribute that plays a major role, especially in sweeps. Drilling the techniques helps build coordination but exercises with stability balls and other drills can also help.As you get old you also need to develop attributes that will help you adapt for loss of strength and explosiveness. Balance, coordination and learning to relax and breath properly, will help you compensate along with your growing awareness of how to correctly apply a technique.
Shannon Edmonds Photography
Attributes training and Instructors
Sometimes, a great competitor, whose athletic ability relies on specific attributes such as flexibility, proper use of reach etc. will not be able to teach his favorite techniques to students that have not developed those same attributes. A friend of mine who trains with a multiple time world champion has trouble with a lot of the techniques his instructor is trying to teach him. Its seems as if they will only work for him (the instructor) because he is really tall and explosive. If you are so flexible that you can submit people using gogoplatas that does not mean that you can teach your students to have the same amount of success using this specific technique.
No matter how detailed your instructional efforts are, the student might not be able to apply the techniques the same way you do. Some chokes, for example, require a certain amount of wrist flexibility or grip strength. No matter how much the student tries, he may not be able to apply the choke and submit a resisting opponent.
I am a big fan of implementing a Jeet Kune Do concepts mind-frame to my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, my MMA training and everyday life so I strongly believe that it is not the style, it is the individual that matters, and each individual has a unique combination of skills, talents and sport specific attributes.
For example, although I would never go for rubber guard attacks as I have short legs and am not flexible enough, if one of my students possesses these attributes why not encourage him to use rubber guard? I strongly believe that body types, talent and attributes are so important that you have to have a flexible curriculum of techniques that can adapt to each student’s strengths and weaknesses.
Boxing trainers do it all the time. They teach different styles depending on the fighter. If the fighter is long they will have him jab more. If the fighter is left handed they will have him use a southpaw stance. If he has knockout power they will teach him to use more hooks and right hands. If he is not able to absorb damage the trainer will have the fighter use more footwork.
Wrestling coaches on the other hand have been using attribute building drills to enhance their wrestlers’ ability to perform in competition. Examples include agility ladder drills, bridging drills, grip strengthening exercises, sprawling drills etc.
In conclusion, learning all the details to improve your technique is great and will always be part of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training; however attribute training will enhance your ability to be successful in applying these techniques, in both competition and self-defense.
Author’s note: this article was inspired by the conceptual framework of Bruce Lee, although certain concepts and ideas were modified extensively to adapt to the game of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
These articles will also be elaborated on over time as part of an ongoing project that will be published in various outlets and will be archived online at http://www.embracingthegrind.com This is version 1 of this article.
I would like to thank Kris Shaw, Deb Blyth, Nicolas Gregoriades for their help and my instructor Wander Braga for patiently answering so many questions during our training sessions.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, terms or concepts without express and written permission from Kostas Fantaousakis is strictly prohibited.
Adding More Meaning & Purpose To Your Practices With The David vs. Goliath Training System
We all can hop on the mat on any given day and feel as if we have accomplished something. However, do we really develop as much as we should over time?
It’s easy to get off track with our training and lose focus, which in turn, hurts our growth as a grappler.
By studying the David vs. Goliath training program, you’ll learn ways to improve both on the mat and off of it.
How Can I Improve Myself On The Mat?
Clearly, this is arguably the most important place you will develop yourself as a grappler in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world. The mat is where all of your hard work goes, with all the sweat, blood and tears as well. Without the hard work in practice, there is no shine in competition.
However, just because you show up for an hour or two each day doesn’t mean you’ll instantly see success. Knowing how to properly utilize the mat time you are given is something that every grappler should never neglect!
With the David vs. Goliath program, there are a few ways you’ll look at the on-the-mat training:
You will learn to train with a specific purpose. No longer will you hop on the mat with no clear structure and just go with the flow. Pin-point what you want to work on—be it a strength or weakness—and work on it with great intent.
Are you forcing yourself to work on a weakness in practice? Do you stay in your comfort zone or are you beginning to put yourself in tough situations on purpose?
Learn to practice with a purpose!
Am I fulfilling a purpose?
Take notes and keep a journal on what you have watched.
Now what you want to specifically work on, and find a grappler that executes that specific sequence the best! Learning for those who have mastered the move/technique will only help your game in the long run.
Be sure to watch grapplers that have similar body types to you. Watching someone that relies heavily on strength when you’re light will do you no benefit.
How Can I Improve Myself Off The Mat?
Developing yourself on the mat is vital, but as you go along in the sport, you must also put time into developing your game off of the mat as well.
Working off the mat is very open-ended and is a wide net on the surface. However, once you have the proper approach to know to how handle it, it quickly becomes something you’ll find beneficial for your game, and will also crossover and improve how you are when you’re actually on the mat!
Something that is stressed in the David vs. Goliath program is the use of various research tools such as YouTube! While it can be a good way to have fun and kill time, it can also be one of the best tools for your grappling progression! Just a quick search of "BJJ Techniques" and we find quility videos to aid in learning BJJ like this!
When using YouTube keep the following in mind:
Making sure you constantly progress on and off of the mat is something you must never lose sight of. Through the David vs. Goliath training program, which you can get right here, you’ll see great strides in your preparation and execution.
Dan Faggella is a BJJ Academy Owner, No Gi Pan Am Champion at 130 pounds, and recognized expert in the area of leg locks. Dan writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more - find more of his leg lock articles and resources at www.BJJLegLocks.com
There are few things in this world that make me cringe like seeing someone get hit with a perfectly timed heel hook. I understand why some people hate leg locks of any sort—personally, I love them!—and it doesn’t take a seasoned vet to understand just how dangerous this type of submission attempts can be.
When it comes to submissions that fall under the classic saying of “old reliable”, the kimura is right up there. You probably learned this classic move on the first or second day of training, because it’s a staple to every grappler’s arsenal!
A move that focuses in on the shoulder joint, the kimura doesn’t call for a great degree of difficulty, but it sure can get the job done when executed properly.
It’s easy to leave behind certain moves as we progress in our grappling career, but I feel that the kimura is one that shouldn’t be left behind and should always be ready to go!
Muscular power, just the sound of those two words together makes me think of muscle bound men deadlifting and bench pressing weight more than twice my weight! That doesn’t have to be the case, you can have great muscular power even if you are in the rooster division! Many of us little guys don’t hit the gym hard every day so we’re unsure of how strong we truly are. To get a good starting point we you should test yourself out!
This article was based off of a 1-hour interview with Stephen Whittier from 40 Plus BJJ. Stephen's given me more article material than almost anyone else, and I wanted to thank him here. If you're an older grapplers, it's definitely worth check out the review of his "40 Plus BJJ Success" course. Thanks again Stephen, and enjoy the article, guys!
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In this article we are going to discuss a couple of chokes shown by Stephen Whittier, these particular chokes are set up from very common positions and could be applied to almost everyone’s game!
The technical explanations in the videos speak for themselves, in this article were going to try and distill the real concepts behind these moves.
Attacking during transition
When is the ideal moment to submit someone? Once you are in the mount or in our opponents back? Everyone is always talking about position before submission so it must be, right?
The answer to this question is kind of two fold.
Why mechanical advantage isn’t always enough
From a biomechanical standpoint the dominant positions seem to be the best place to look for a submission, because all of the dominant positions give you some kind of mechanical and structural advantage over your opponent. So yes, in theory the best positions to finish someone are the major point scoring positions. I mean when I’m in the mount can pretty much use all of my limbs and all of my weight against just your arms and your neck right? In practice it often proves difficult though..
While everything I just said about dominant positions is true, there is a whole other side to this. Every time you mount someone or take his back, your opponent is expecting a submission.
I’m sure that we’ve all been in the same situation before where we learn a new technique and something isn’t clicking, no matter how hard we try to focus on the details we often overlook. With tons of mat time and research, there is still something that isn’t making sense. At a stand-still, you’re ready to pass up on learning that technique and move forward.
However, times are changing thanks to the iGrapple Mobile app.
Recently released, the iGrapple is a fantastic tool that every single one of us Brazilian Jiu Jitsu players can use in order to take the next step forward in our skill development.
If you go back to the first paragraph and think to yourself, “Hey, that’s me!” when it comes to learning new techniques, then you’re in luck because the iGrapple is here to eliminate any issue that you may face in learning.
With a very classroom-like approach to grappling, the app does a fantastic job of breaking everything down so that even the most basic white belts out there can soak up the moves and implement them in a heartbeat!
“This workout DVD incorporates both kettlebell and bodyweight exercises to help you enhance your conditioning levels, improve your mobility and agility, and get you sweating.”
Fitness is Function: 4 Week Kettlebell Workout Plan is a 2 DVD set from My Mad Methods. In this set Mark de Grasse takes you thru 18 workouts intended to done over a 4 week period. While I’ve owned kettlebells for quite a while, I’ll admit I rarely use them. In my case I’ve used them for swings and that’s about it. Up until a few weeks ago I couldn’t even do a clean without banging the crap out of my wrists. So when I saw “Perfect for Novice Kettelbell Users” I decided to give it a shot. The DVD set was delivered promptly to my home and the following day I decided to take it for a spin.
This article provided by our guest writer Tyy Withrow. Tyy runs his own blog called BJJ Paperweight. We look forward to working with Tyy more, be sure to keep your eyes out for some more articles by him! Welcome aboard Tyy!!!
It’s been a couple of crazy weeks for me and I’m finally able to sit down and talk about a seminar I was able to help out with. The “Give the Gift of a Gi – BJJ Seminars for Kids” kick-off seminar was a huge success. It was held on October 26th at Foster Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Kent, Washington. Quite a few Black Belts shared their expertise; Kris Shaw, Cindy Hales, Michelle Wagner, James Foster, and Jean Freitas. There were three different seminars for three different age groups. With this grouping model each seminar ended up being the perfect size. In total there were about 55-60 kids, which is a great turn out. Of those kids, I would guess about 10 had never tried Jiu-Jitsu including my two little nephews. The seminar they attended was their first day of Jiu-Jitsu. I credit the quality of the seminar with the fact that they both enrolled to train the next week. Yes, I’m a proud uncle.