Trying to expand my BJJ game, but I'm stuck in my head.

Discussion in 'Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' started by roninmaster, Dec 14, 2020.

  1. roninmaster

    roninmaster be like water

    So I train in a more oldschool BJJ academy ( or at least did before covid) . Gracie linage, self-defense first - a lot of top game and closed guard, and very little sporty guards or current competitive trends taught by the blackbelts. We still teach them, especially to the competitors but I'd say its 3:1 in favor of more old-school style game.

    Now I love the school, and there are a ton of tough dudes far better than me - but I have like idk, some internal conflict about how to best expand my game, and I think it was ruining a lot of my progress. I'm going to try and illustrate is best I can.

    So on one hand I would like to learn as much jiu-jitsu as possible, and get as good as I can. That includes learning more newer techniques than what's in the OG Gracie manuals, or whatever Rener is peddling. I don't want to just pigeon hold myself to the standard from 30 years ago.

    On the other hand I'm concerned that if I open myself up to learning a lot of the more modern BJJ games and concepts I'll end up missing a lot of strong fundamental that a lot of the bb's have to impart on me. I got my blue-belt when I was in college at our campus BJJ club which had some Gracie baja affiliation. Afterwards I fell down the Youtube rabbit hole head first and focused so much on all the new stuff [at the time] like Berimbolos, and and worm guard, that I wouldn't actually practice what our gym was teaching and ended up having to play catch up for even basic concepts like proper guard retention.

    Now more than 8 years later at a completely different academy in a different town I guess I'm fearful that I'll inadvertently do the same if I start incorporating a lot of that into my game again. Or be some guy who's got a great DLR game but can't do a proper cross collar choke.

    Has anyone experienced anything like this? I guess I've got some sort of crappy bjj ptsd or something.
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  2. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Get an modern new school instructional, and try and use those moves only on every third roll, or only on people you can already smash pass and crush easily, 80% of the benefit is from 20% of the work, so use that 20%/30% of your rolling to expand your game.
    Dunc likes this.
  3. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    A lot of the new school stuff relies on the same concepts- heck leg locking relies on controlling the hip, limiting the opponents mobility relative to you. It improves your jiu jitsu by way of allowing you to climb up or down the body as you see fit!

    No ones game should stay static, you should try new things and grow in new areas. You dont have limited memory, a good choke relies on the same concepts, regardless of the choke itself.
  4. PointyShinyBurn

    PointyShinyBurn Valued Member

    The techniques that Helio happened to favour are not the fundamentals of BJJ; base, posture and distance control are.

    The best way to expand your game is to problem solve for situations you're actually finding yourself in while rolling, rather than trying to fit yourself into a preconception of what you think BJJ ought to look like.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
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  5. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I think this is a good way to look at it

    Personally I focus on refining the foundational techniques and making sure that I can perform them against anything that's thrown at me. I'm 20 years older than most people in the academy and need a game that respects that reality

    So for me it's about going deep into a relatively small number of core techniques that don't put my body into positions that are damaging over the long term and creating options around these rather than going for a broad, dynamic game
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
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  6. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Adding that in my view, once you’ve got the basics/foundations down, you should develop a game that suits your body type, personality etc rather than trying to fit someone else’s game to you

    I don’t believe that one style is fundamentally better than another, but I do believe that having a style that is disconnected with who you are is sub-optimal

    Hope that makes sense
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  7. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    Also, like none of us will ever be world champs. We're all casual bjj folk. The pros get a lot more training in from a younger age.

    So if this is just for fun, keep it fun. Expand your game, learn new skills and enjoy the process of trying failing and perfecting new parts of your game.
    Dunc likes this.
  8. Giovanni

    Giovanni Well-Known Member Supporter

    so i first read this a few times before writing a reply because i wanted to understand as much as i possibly could what you're asking. i have a few thoughts that i hope you consider, also building on some things other people have posted but putting into my own way.

    learn enough modern "fancy" or "cool" stuff in order to learn how to counter those things. if you're competing, maybe learn enough berimbolo (i'm just picking something you mentioned, it could be anything) so you don't get surprised by someone pulling it out on you during competition. (i'm actually paraphrasing the guy i'm going to mention below)

    you will likely never be a world champion and if you actually use bjj, it's going to be in a "defense" situation. and those fancy guards could really harm you when it comes to safety and punch protection on th3 str33tz.

    my favorite bjj competitor of all time is roger gracie. that dude knows how to do the classic techniques and i guarantee you he knows how to do a cross collar choke. he is literally the greatest bjj competitor ever. don't feel like if you focus on classic techniques it's going to hurt any competition game you might want to have.

    myself, i've been doing bjj off and on for about 7 years and i'm a blue belt. i'm also 50. i focus on classic techniques. yes, i have competed and want to compete again. but i know that focusing on defense is what i am looking for, so i'm not going to pick anything that doesn't account for the distances inherent in a fight.

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  9. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    I found this video quite insightful, you want your technical selection of moves to match your overall game, and strategy. But you also want to have different options to take advantage of other people's gaps in their game.

    The basics are a great place to start, you don't have to be constrained by just doing them, but theyre definitely something you want to know well.
    axelb likes this.
  10. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    Useful video, I keep playing around with different guards, but haven't focused too much on 1 of these styles as a "game plan". Some food for thought :)
    Dead_pool likes this.
  11. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    This is something I started doing a a few years ago, there's too much out there to concentrate on it all and become good at it all, I really like Giles way of thinking about bjj and his choke game and 50/50 game have greatly influenced how I roll these days.

    My open guard game has condensed to a leg inside game for a few reasons, when I started open guard meant butterfly lol and from there half butterfly, shin to shin are natural progressions and lead into single X and the leg lock game very nicely, they also lead into my front choke and kimura game as well.
    I really like K guard as well especially as a progression from crossed guard but as a heavyweight it doesn't come as easily and I prefer legs between in order to keep the opponent's weight off me.

    Also no gi without any handles I find butterfly a better way to control but having started playing a cradle based passing system as well as a rolling kimura passing system I'm aware how easily butterfly can be passed if you don't keep good posture and base
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