Are You Guilty of This One Major BJJ Sin…

In my many years of training and coaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I can tell you that the one major thing that holds so many back is the lack of encorperating elements from other grappling styles.

That major sin is not looking outside of BJJ for new ideas.

Styles like Judo, Wrestling and Sombo have plenty of not only techniques but also concepts that any BJJ’er could use.

The sad truth is that most BJJ students hate the very idea of working on stuff like Wrestling takedowns, or Sombo leg locks. Whether people admit it or not, there’s useful stuff to be found outside of the BJJ universe.

I think those who make it to the top are the ones always looking for that edge in their training. Lot’s of times that edge is found by going outside of your comfort zone and trying something new.

I know for me when I first started learning Judo I was anything but good. Terrible would be a good work one could use for my overall skills in Judo.

However, although i sucked, that Judo training did open my eyes to many new things I hadn’t thought of in terms of technique, training, mindset and so on.

If I hadn’t checked out Judo none of that learning would have taken place. Then who’s the real loser? I would’ve been.

Grappling is grappling. You’ve got different styles and all sure but at the end of the day they all complement each other in some way, shape or form.

A good example of this would be BJ Penn. When he was competing in major tournaments down in Brazil and around the time he won the worlds, he was training on the side with the local college wrestling team.

It showed because he used lot’s of fast and effective single leg takedowns from the De La Riva guard. In fact, if you watch his matches from the 2000 worlds you’ll see the use of wrestling skills throughout.

After he won the title he credited the training in wrestling as a huge contributor to his success.

You’re goal of course shouldn’t be to replace your BJJ game but rather use stuff like Wrestling and Judo to complement your already established skill set.

That’s my rant for this fine Sunday night. As a bonus, I’ve included some pretty kick-ass wrestling and Judo videos you should check out.

Remember, the day you stop learning is the day you die. Otherwise, keep your eyes (and mind) wide open :)

Which Styles of Guard Go Hand in Hand w/ The Turtle Guard? My Thoughts…

If you’re anything like me you use the turtle guard quite a bit, nothing wrong with that.

So here’s my question to you: what style of guard do you use? And what do you feel works best with the techniques used from the turtle?

I’ve talked to people all over the world about this subject and I can assure you everyone’s got a different take on this. It’s pretty much all over the board as to which is best.

To be truthful there really isn’t a “best” type of guard game to use. It’s more a matter of what fits your body type, abilities and overall skill set.

What I (Danny Ives) Use For The Guard Game…

I use butterfly and Half Guard as my go to skill sets when I’m on my back, aka in the guard. My body type just leads itself nicely to these particular types of guard.

It’s no secret to anyone that my short stubby legs don’t allow for a whole lot of closed guard to take place.

I’ll usually try to make use of the techniques from the butterfly guard first because I’ll be honest, everything from the half guard takes a lot more energy. I’m too old for that game. I avoid if possible.

I like butterfly guard because the techniques used are pretty low risk but with high reward. If you miss a move from butterfly guard more often then not no big deal.

The trick with butterfly guard is movement. You need to be able to go from side to side, forward and backward at the drop of a hat.

That type of movement won’t be mastered overnight. It took me years to get good at butterfly guard.

How Bout That There Half Guard? Where Does That Come Into Play?

The only real issue with half guard aside from what I was saying about being more of a high energy sweep series is that if you get stuck or pinned down from bottom half guard it can be pretty difficult to escape to turtle guard.

That and if you do escape it’s a lot of energy spent doing so.

I don’t wanna sound like I’m ragging out half guard or anything because it’s still one of the best guard games in the world. It’s just one of those things you need to understand, it takes more effort to make things work.

I don’t have time to write about all the different types of guards and how they tie into turtle guard. I wish I did have that kind of time cause I need it!

I use butterfly and Half Guard combined with my turtle guard game and that’s worked for me as well as guys like Lucas Leite and Eduardo Telles.

Keep training and sooner or later you’ll find that secret sauce that works for your style. Below I’ve included some techniques I use from both types of guard. Study up!

Learn By Watching – A Great Way To Pick Up New Ideas

So this morning I was teaching a mixed level BJJ class here at my academy. After we finished up with teaching/drilling we then moved into the live rolling part of class, which I normally take part in.

Today I decided to to sit the live rolling out and just watch the students. As I was watching I started to remember just how effective observation can be.

I’m glad I sat out because I picked up some great ideas that I’d either had forgotten about or brand new concepts that hadn’t dawned on me to try.

The point I’m trying to drive home is this: You’d be surprised how much you can learn by watching other students rolling. And by watching I mean watch everyone, not just the higher level guys and gals.

I think this is really important and often times overlooked. Sometimes it’s better to just hang back and watch the others get after it and see if you notice something that might work well for yourself.

Then you take what you see and try it for yourself. Like always some things will work great and others not so much. But by watching the class you’ve sure to gain new ideas that otherwise would be missed.

Most BJJ’er only have the chance to sit and watch when they’re forced to because of an injury or something like that. If you’re anything like me the very idea of watching vs doing isn’t appealing at all.

But in the end by having to watch you sure do learn a lot. Combine watching with note taking, video study and lots of questions and you my friend are on the winning path.

Give this whole watching thing a try. I’m willing to bet you’ll learn a few new tricks that will fit nicely into your bag of tricks.

You’ve Gotta Just Have Some Fun With It. Rolling Shouldn’t Be Life or Death

This little piece of advice could very well change you’re whole outlook on BJJ. That and also make you that much better at it.

Have fun when you roll (go live). Yup, that’s it. Have fun with your training. I mean come on, otherwise what’s the point of doing all this stuff?

When you’ve been doing this stuff for as long as I have (20 years) you’ll need to have as much fun as humanly possible on the mats.

Having fun when I train is one of the major things that help keep me motivated day after day. I know this is also the case for many other black belts in the game.

When I say fun I mean just that. Having a good time rolling around, looking for different attacks and set ups or whatever else. And, if you do end up getting tapped out, who cares?

Everyone gets caught from time to time. You just tap out, tell your training partner “nice job” and go on about your business.

I’ve be honest, most people really hold themselves back by being to darn scared to tap out in class. The ego gets involved and that same ego takes all the fun out of the rolling, which is a bad thing.

I’m not saying you should like getting tapped out and play it off in a silly way. You don’t have to like it one bit, I don’t. I’m just saying not to get all butt hurt when it happens cause it will.

For me when I roll sometimes I’ll go pretty light with a newer student, other times I’ll be looking for a certain technique or series more or less playing with different things.

I think you get the idea. Always shoot for not only good solid workouts but also having fun at the same time. Don’t worry, I won’t judge you for smiling while rolling :)

I included some videos of me doing my best to have a “ball” while rolling with a close friend of mine, BJJ Black Belt Mr. Dan Faggella. Check them out.