Whether you’re tall or short, big or small, male or female, you’ll find a Jiu-Jitsu game that works for you. In that sense, people develop different BJJ styles to suit them. Some styles out there are repetitive and we see them over and over again, Others are completely unique, and hard for people to figure out. The most interesting thing about it is that we can’t even imagine what’s to come. What we can do, is look at several of the distinct BJJ styles people have. Can you recognize your own in there?
BJJ styles often have to do a lot with the environment. Usually, at first, people try and do whatever they can try to find their space in Jiu-Jitsu. After a blue belt, it is usually time to copy the instructor and develop a style similar to theirs. AS you progress further, you start customizing everything. In modern BJJ, this is where DVDs come into play, helping people move away from their coach’s style. Finally, people sprinkle their own stuff at brown and black belts, developing either distinct styles or a unique blend of a few. Whatever the case may be, several BJJ styles are very easily recognizable and here to stay for years to come.
Figuring Out Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not an art you can master in a few years. In fact, if your aim is to master BJJ, you might as well stop training. That said, if you accept that Jiu-Jitsu is endless, you’ll also accept that you constantly need to progress and adjust. This is where figuring out a game comes in. Everyone that’s been training for more than a couple of years already has either a game or an idea of one. Ther are a lot of things that factor in it, though.
It all starts with the things you like to do the most. For example, some people like chokes way more than they like straight armbars. The same holds true for the other way around. Others like to pass guard, and certain people enjoy grappling off their backs. All of these inclinations give birth to different BJJ styles that then catch on. Given the sheer number of possibilities in Jiu-Jitsu, BJJ styles are probably jsut as endless as techniques are. However, there are some that really do stand out and you can see them everywhere.
As such, it is fun to point out each of them and look into how people that use them have figured Jiu-Jitsu out. Remember that in BJJ, nothing is set in stone. Most grapplers usually start with one style, just to change to a completely different one. In fact, people often change a few, and they might even go back to the very first one. Speaking off, let’s explore a few common BJJ styles.
Some of The Most Recognizable BJJ Styles
You wouldn’t expect a grappler like Paulo Miyao and a grappler like Gordon Ryan to have the same style of Jiu-Jitsu. Apart from being world champions, everything in their BJJ journeys is completely different. Miyao is a Cicero Costha black belt, featherweight and extremely well versed in modern open guards. Ryan is an unorthodox submission artist under John Danaher, and an expert in, well, pretty much everything. If you take a look at them both, though, you’ll see how different their styles are.
In that sense, matching up people with different BJJ styles usually brings about really exciting matches. Yes, pairing a couple of leg lockers might provide an unprecedented event of footsies. However, pairing a leg locker and an exquisite gaurd passer is bound to be a lot more entertaining and eventful. BJJ styles are not jsut important for competitors and entertainment, but also for anyone training .they’re a great way to help people focus on a certain aspect of their game and keep exploring Jiu-Jitsu.
If you’ve ever been up against someone with crazy pressure from th top, you know the type. Let’s make something clear, people with a great pressure game ar, not jsut great gaurd passers. On the contrary, those are the people that weigh a ton when they’re in side control, and at least two tons form mount. They’re those people that make you think nothing but “help” when they’re on top of you.
while it doesn’t take a specific build for pressure grapplers, they are most likely in the middle / light heavyweight divisions and have jacked bodies. Moreover, they tend to be highly athletic and do not really care if you have a Gi on, or jsut a rashguard. You’ll know one when you feel that you can’t catch a breath against them, and your struggles only end up making them crush you more. And it seems effortless for them.
This is one of those BJJ styles that’s not for everyone. It is also something most people try and miserably fail at. The reason is simple – acrobatic stuff is more attractive to beginners than seasoned grapplers. And beginners trying to fly through the air, unless they’re former gymnasts, is never a good idea. That said, at black belt, ceratin people re-discover their desire for the unusual, albeit this time with a different rate of success.
In this BJJ style, people usually do nutty stuff like cartwheel passing or attacking flying submissions from everywhere. There’s literally nothing you can do about what they do because it is completely unexpected and unorthodox. People really into acrobatics are usually lighter but extremely athletic and agile. The’yer the type that looks like a cat playing with a mouse when they roll. Very common for purple belts.
Upside Down Wizardry
We can safely assume that every blue belt in the world had a sting in this BJJ style. Inverted guards are now jsut another open guard variation. However, at a certain point in time, they were crazy, incomprehensible things only available to a handful of people. Nowadays, most smaller grapplers are extremely good at inverting and doing crazy upside-down stuff. Moreover, they’re developing more and more inverted positions, actually making this one of the most sought after BJJ styles. When it comes to playing guard in Gi Jiu-Jitsu, hardly anyone does it without inverting, at least a little. It’s aslo there in No-Gi, just not as much given the more dynamic nature.
Trust me, as you yourself grow into an OG grappler, you’ll start looking into this stuff more and more. By old-school, I mean the styles of the people that were there when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu took place. These are the Rickson Gracie and Machado brothers’ type of people. They’re all about the closed gaurd, simple top control and devastating submissions preceded by unbelievable pressure. They’re the people you can never throw out of the mount, or use fancy escapes against. Also, they’re oftentimes stalling and going for the safe version, rather than the attractive one. This is one of those BJJ styles that are highly effective but might not be the most fun to watch.
Have you ever gone up against a guy who comes in with a huge wrestling background? They’re right up there with black belt Judokas or Sambo experts. People that come with extensive experience in other grappling martial arts usually have very unique BJJ styles. They tend to integrate what they learn in Jiu-Jitsu to their already existing background. While doing things the other way around would be better for their Jiu-Jitsu, there’s no denying that this gives birth to some cray BJJ styles. Just take Nicky Rodriguez as an example.
The No-Gi Nut
I’d have to place my self in this category, t leat in the present time. I’ve gon through several of the BJJ styles we’re talking about here today. However, at the moment, I’m enjoying No-Gi so much that I’m using No_Gi grips even when I’m rolling with the GI. And yeah I’m still not that far gone to train exclusively No-Gi. However, there are those that have never dawned a Gi in their life, and still are extremely high-level grapplers. No-Gi people tend to develop some of the craziest styles, particularly when they’re in an academy that also offers Gi classes. Thre’s jsut something about No-Gi that makes people want to do it, so there’ are all kinds of people that try and bring something of theirs to this style of Jiu-Jitsu.
On the other end of the No-Gi spectrum, you have an extremely dedicated Gi specialist. Here’ it is all about collars, lapels and sleeve grips. From simple Ezekiel chokes all the way to extreme lapel bondage, some folk love to tie others up. There’s no denying that this is one of the most effective styles for both rolling and competition, though. Using the Gi as a weapon of offense is a crazy way of taking Jiu-Jitsu to new heights. Durgin the past couple of years, I’ve seen so much innovation in this are of Jiu-Jitsu that it is becoming frightening. Once again every Gi academy has its own lapel specialist(s).
BJJ styles are so numerous, it is impossible to write them all down. Still, recognizing other people’s styles, or even your own, if you’re a beginner is very fun! Moreover, it is extremely interesting to see people from clearly opposing styles match up, whether it is a tournament nor in rolling. BJJ Styles jsut make the art much more diverse and interesting. Plus, they’re a great platform for further evolution and make Jiu-jitsu “user-friendly” for just about anyone that walks on the mats.