There are no two people that use BJJ in exactly the same manner. Even if people like the same techniques and have similar body types, their Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game is going to be unique. And this is a part of the attraction of the spot. Not only form the aspect of expressing your individuality but also having a different experience with every roll. Still, when we need to leave the fun and games behind and look to build a competition A game, we need to choose whether we’ll become lethal with one move, or a well-rounded grappler all over. Both approaches work, but which one is the right one for you?
There’s no way to learn everything that BJJ has to offer. Actually, there is no way to learn everything there is even about one specific move. Jiu-Jitsu is constantly in flux, evolving on a daily basis. this means that all new information can’t even get processed, let alone included in your game. After you accept that your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game is never going to be complete, you still need to choose a direction to take it to. We’ve talked about how training for a competition and just going to class differs before. Today, we’ll focus on competing and whether you should choose a specialized approach or a well-rounded one.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Game
Before we move further, let’s make one thing clear. You need to be sound overall before you even think about competing. there’s no point in feeling like a fish out of the water, particularly if you’re not a white belt anymore. That said, your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game can be very forgiving as long as you know what you want out of it.
The finer aspects of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game usually change with time. As you progress you start to watch your priorities. At first, people look for control which is something most beginners struggle with. Further along, they discover counters, followed by submissions. Getting advanced means switching to things like connection, weight distribution, and pressure. Although it seems completely counterintuitive, patience and the art of using angles are stuff people figure out ner black belt. Of course, all of these impact your BJJ game as they come to the forefront.
Tactics and strategy are also a huge part of a competition gameplan. Are you going to go in aggressive or wait? Are you going to bait mistakes or wait for counters? There is an infinite amount of strategies you can employ. However, technically speaking, you’ll still need to discover your approach. While you can be a specialist at one time and a well-rounded grappler at another, you can’t be both at the same time.
The Traits Of A Specialist
There are some clear attractions to building a specialized Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game. After all, we do see plenty of people winning lots of fights and championships using one move only. For example, when you think of someone excelling with the Guillotine, you always think Marcelo Garcia. The Miyao and Mendes brothers took De La Riva to a completely different level. Eddie Cummings popularized heel hooks so much that the whole sport of BJJ changed. Mackenzie’Dern’s Chokoplata puts fear in both her grappling and MMA opponents.
Clearly, specializing in something works. The way to achieve it is fairly straight forward. First, you discover a move you really like and fits you best. Then you go deep into it, researching everything you can on the subject. On top of it all, you make drilling a part of daily life. When you decide to be a specialist, you learn how to get your move from everywhere, not only form position people expect. When at a certain point you reach the ability to obviously go for the move and opponent’s know that you’re doing it and can’t do anything about it, you can call yourself a true specialist.
This strategy undoubtedly works if your aim is to be a competitor. What’s more important, you can become a specialist in very little time, if you train regularly. But there’s another way too.
Having A Complete Game
The other option you have is building a well rounded Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game. This approach is great for those that like comfort. Here, think more along the lines of Gordon Ryan, Rickson Gracie, Leandro Lo, Cobrinha, etc. They all have the ability to beat world-class opponents at virtually any aspect of the game.
As a well-rounded grappler, you’re methodical and have thought of everything. The whole point of this approach is to have options. You won’t ever over commit to a single move, because you do not base your game on one move alone. Instead, well-rounded grapplers are comfortable both off their back and from the top. they have options from the guard, against the guard, they have attacks, submissions, defenses, counters, and reversals. What’s more important they always have options standing as well, including throws, takedowns, and guard pulls. Whatever happens in a match, there’s a well-trained answer to it. However, it all comes at the expense of your finishing rate.
This approach is great if you like to feel secure every step of the way. It is also less frustrating and more unpredictable. It does, however, take a long time to devise, and an even longer time to really become proficient with it.
Kurt Osiander has one of the best instructionals to turn you into the most complete grappler ever. His “Fundamentals Of A Jiu-Jitsu Renegade” DVD set is crazy, simple and covers just about every aspect of BJJ.
If you ask me, I’d recommend that you start as a well-rounded grappler. Yes, it’ll take more time and yes, your game will change and require adjustments. However, having a solid foundation to work off is always a good idea. However, once you have your basics down, it is time to turn into a specialist. Choose your area of expertise and focus all your attention on it. As a competitor, this will allow you to have a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game with strong fundamentals to fallback to, while also giving you the finishing powers of a specialist. The drawback here is that building a game like this, requires longer than building any of the two separately.