This article was written by Nick Mullins from JiuJitsology.
Are you unhappy with your BJJ training progress? Most people are. You've only got so much time to devote to jiu-jitsu and you want to make the most of it. But how? Where do you start? You're in luck. A landmark, first-of-its-kind study from 2012 may hold the secret. It shows how anyone, regardless of skill level, can improve their chances of winning more matches. Whether they are starting Brazilian jiu-jitsu or are a seasoned competitor. And you'll do it with math! (Don't worry, you won't need a calculator).
What The Evidence Shows
If you're a BJJ white belt looking for beginner tips or you've been training for a while everyone is looking to save time and learn as much as possible. What better way to skip to the head of the line than to study what the best in the world do and follow their lead? That's exactly what this study has allowed us to do.
The research found that the winners of most of those matches had the following in common:
- They scored first 75% of the time.
- They usually scored those points with a sweep or a guard pass 73% of the time
- In total, they were 89% successful with either take downs or guard pulls leading to that sweep or pass
- And they did this, on average, within the first 60 seconds of the match
These four traits lead to a very simple conclusion: Based on the available data, the most effective way to fight is to get to the ground fast so you can score points first with a guard pass or sweep. Well, duh... Do you need a research paper to tell you that it's easier to win when you score points? How does a regular person use this information to win more matches and maximize their BJJ training?
We can take that conclusion and go a little further... The most effective and EFFICIENT way to win a fight is to get a takedown that immediately creates a submission attack opportunity.
Putting This Into Action
If your BJJ training goal is to be able to win more matches with minimal training in a competition setting you'll need to rethink how you look at our sport. You'll need to focus on the most important aspects of the research:
- Training a takedown that leaves one of your opponent's arms vulnerable
- Controlling how your opponent lands and stays on the ground
- Finishing fast
Anything that you focus on will improve. The more consistent you are, the bigger the improvement. Using this strategy will have you focusing on something that most people ignore. Are you daring enough to take that risk?
Brazilian jiu-jitsu dominates on the ground. It's not that good at getting there, though. The fight may end on the ground but it starts on the feet. We've seen in the research that a takedown gives you an early advantage and improves your odds of winning. The average BJJ school does not focus on this. And you can take advantage of this flaw right now. We'll focus on judo takedowns like foot sweeps and body throws. Their sleeve and collar grips allow you to isolate someone's arm and control it from start to finish: the armbar. Some techniques to consider:
- Deashi Harai (advancing foot sweep)
- Osoto-Gari (outer leg reap)
- Tai-Otoshi (body drop)
This phase should be somewhat automatic. The throws we're discussing should end with the following position: You have strong control of their elbow and collar. Your hips are very high up on their chest to isolate their shoulder with your knee against their ribs. This puts you in an ideal position to make your armbar attempt.
At this point in your fight, you've managed to surprise your opponent with your standing grappling and gotten your throw. They weren't expecting to go for a ride and the landing dazed them a bit. But now you're back on the mats where they feel the most comfortable and they've realized what you're doing. *SPOILER* You're running out of time before they escape, time to finish. Something to keep in mind: if they don't land the way you want and/ or you can't go straight into your attack, let them go and start over. There is NOTHING that requires you to accept a bad starting position. Let them stand back up and try again. Assuming that the referee won't let them keep butt scooting around the mats...
Now for the Hard Part
There you have it, folks. You've gotten a glimpse into what may be the quickest path to winning more matches. By focusing on a few things you'll be able to spend more time training them and get better faster. Make no mistake, it is an “all or nothing” strategy. You're forgoing being well-rounded so you can be razor-sharp at the standing phase of your match. The most important part, according to the research. If you chose to use this information to test yourself against advanced belts (as it's intended) failure will be a very strong possibility. Of course, it is! You may be fighting people you have no business competing with. But (and it's a big but) they've spent around a decade becoming a grappling generalist. It's very possible that they've spent most of that time only doing the things they're good at or comfortable with... on the mats. That's why you won't be fighting them there. Play by their rules and lose. Play by science and win.