What is your approach to BJJ/grappling

Discussion in 'Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' started by icefield, Mar 2, 2023.

  1. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Other than trying to not get tapped I mean :)

    What is your approach to your grappling game, specifically guard play.

    What is your gameplan (I don’t mean do you break your game down to numerous attacking systems with 500 principles for each, ill leave that to Danaher) but what is your approach to guard, half guard, your approach to open guard seated and standing?

    How does your approach differ from Gi to No GI?

    For me my training is mainly no gi (with some gi work) and as such I look for guards and positions which work equally with minimal changes required if one puts the pyjamas on.

    I also look for positions which complement each other, and which share the same principles, movements and attributes.

    For example, my half guard game is based a lot around half butterfly, not because I feel it’s the single greatest half guard there is, but because I play a lot of butterfly guard as my open guard and with limited training time its easier to switch between the two as they both share the same techniques and principles.

    My approach to a standing opponent is looking for shin to shin in order to enter single X, again not because I think it’s the greatest open guard against a standing opponent, but because it links well with butterfly guard and also with how I approach my leglock game.

    From the above its pretty obvious I prefer a foot inside game to a foot outside (as in K guard, knee shield, z guard etc) this fits in with my body type more and the fact I prefer to hide my feet from leg lockers and also carry my opponents weight on my shins more than my upper body frames. I also prefer to seep toi get to the top, arm drag to get to the back or attack the legs and these positions for me allow this.

    Its probably also obvious from the above that I am old, slow and started grappling before some of the guys in my gym were born :( and when I started guard meant closed guard or butterfly guard……
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  2. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Pretty much the same as you,
    I like to focus on the sweep/tranSition/standup bits of my closed and open guard, as this fits my "not getting crushed" game plan, and I'm trying to get more experience in limb control jiu-jitsu (so leg engagements, kimura trap and arm in guilotine material) as well as the standard postitional control approach.

    But really nowadays I show up, try to not get injured and then, if I'm lucky I'll fit in a part of a Lachlan DVD in between classes.
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  3. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    For me the kimura/gift wrap positon has always been a big part of my game coming from a shooto background, with the advances in the position with the use of the trap etc I use it a lot to control my opponent especially no gi.

    In terms of control on top I have found myself lately working a lot of wrestling style rides and leg pins and kabib style hand controls (as well as cradles) they are simply but really effective in stopping the opponent moving their hips.

    Single X has always been my go to move to enter the legs (even before it was called single X lol) but I favour advancing to Giles's 80/20 or 90/10 over inside triangles these days.
    Mangosteen likes this.
  4. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    I also really like shin to shin or butterfly into single leg x/x guard.
    I have a nice bunch of switching options (switching the leg i attack or isolates and how i attach to the leg) from grounded single leg x.
    shin to shin has good bail out options (coming up on single legs or de la riva) and butterfly can force sweeps to open up the legs for entanglements but i avoid butterfly with heavy lads as i struggle carrying their weight.

    Its dependent on the opponent for me. For heavier opponents, I go with leg entanglements to keep their weight off me.

    For people smaller, ill work new stuff or my wrestling. My wrestling is still bad.
    Of the guards im working on my half guard variations e.g. deep half usually. Deep half is going to get me killed one day.

    People my size are where I try to put stuff together and push the pace more.
  5. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    Cos I'm a whitebelt, the leglock game is super limited :(
    Competitions are weird when you can only do variations of the straight ankle with no reaping. Controls and entries matter more than the options for subs because I'm so limited.
  6. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    In the gi I favour half guard (because it’s really easy to get into and is pretty much always part of your bottom escapes if you’ve screwed up), closed guard (because I train under Roger Gracie and it’s a strength of the academy) and for open guard its sleeve collar & de la Riva
    I’ve always shied away from any guards that are clearly no good for self defence which rules out a lot of open guards & inversions unfortunately

    In no gi it’s more limited, mainly because I’m old and need to focus on slowing down my opponents. Half guard doesn’t require much adjustment, on closed guard I’ve found the overhook shoulder clamp to be very reliable and it takes out the option to strike too. Open guards for me are very brief and transitionary in no gi apart from leg entanglements for foot locks
  7. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    @Dunc - the self defence filter is pretty great! Its a good consideration considering how quickly bjj and mma grappling strategies are diverging (a blackbelt polaris competitor and 10th planet dude i used to train under recently got TKOd from guard at Bellator because jiu jitsu folks are so specialised that they're not used to dealing with hits).

    Open guards played in modern jiu jitsu (especially gi) don't lend themselves well to mma unless you're really focused on off balancing and monitoring your opponents strikes. One of my coaches has said in hyperbole "every hit will knock you down a belt level in jiu jitsu".
  8. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Carlson Gracie would have mad ea fortune if he had patented that particular saying lol
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  9. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    Haaaaa I had no idea it was plagarism
  10. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    I've seen it attributed to Rigan, Rickson and a few others but I believe the quote belongs to the greatest MMA coach the Gracie's ever produced, the legend that is Carlson Snr.
  11. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    Thought I'd add my input now in back to full sparring.

    Apart from not getting injured (again) i moved away from my usual passing game, knee cut focused pass from head quarters, usually forcing hq start if they try to pull guard from knees.
    So because of my knee I've gone back to over under from top. Usually progress to mount to attack, but I'll take a few sub opp from side control on the way.

    Guard I often start in butterfly, but recently working knee sheild half. Most of my guard plan is working sweeps primarily then I can attack from top. Submission from bottom don't seem to come as readily for me as sweeps.

    This year I had plans to work on front headlocks more, and leg locks, but as a blue belt in the gi leg locks are fairly limited, but the entries are still a good option to work on.

    We have a regular number if competitors, which means we get reasonable training from standing for the comp focused lessons.
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  12. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    It's funny I know this one well because though I've never done BJJ, I've definitely boxed with BJJers, and they almost all will quote Carlson

    The verbatim quote is "Punch a black belt in the face, he becomes a brown belt. Punch him again, purple...”.

    Though it's really not true when you ponder it. Belts don't give you extra shield layers from head trauma. From experience, I've seen quite a few purple, brown, and black belts melt into first day white belts with one good punch. :D. BJJ is definitely one of the most hardcore arts and those who train, especially no gi, have a good standup clinch in the ring, but the head being the head, one good knock...

    If I were quotable I'd tell people "punch a black belt in the face...belts don't matter anymore".
  13. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Carlson made that quote within a specific context

    context is everything without understanding his context quoting him over and over, or even worse coming up with a similar quote is redundant
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  14. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    I'm assuming the context is an VT/MMA fight, so a white belt in BJJ facing a black belt, on the same physical level as yourself, you'd need to punch him/her clearly in the head multiple times to make it an even match.

    It's not saying that bjj makes you better at striking, it's implying BJJ doesn't make you better at striking, but that BJJ still provides an advantage in MMA.

    Which is a pretty nuanced view for a bloke from Brazil in that era.

    Edit afaik, I could have this backwards
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  15. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    It's also coming from a guy known for being one of the very first coaches to specifically train students for VT/MMA matches, students who could strike, grapple and defend grappling.

    If you are an VT/MMA guy fighting against a pure bjj guy who is a higher grade in BJJ than you but with little striking or VT experience the quote applies,

    If you are a boxer or striker with zero grappling trying it against a BJJ guy with MMA experience in an MMA environment or the street it really doesn't apply to you as countless early MMA and VT matches showed us.

    And if you are a part time boxer talking about all the BJJ guys you have boxed and hit on the head in boxing :rolleyes: you are totally missing the point
    Dead_pool likes this.
  16. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    What was the actual point/context then? MMA and VT don't have belts right? So I don't see how it follows he would have been referring to that, but maybe there's some video or article out there? Was he critiquing "pure BJJ" people who don't cross train?

    And doesn't it still apply to any trained boxer vs. pure BJJ (ie newbie striker) too? It sure seems to, I've seen very tough hombres with BJJ black belts but also new to striking arts come in tough guy mode, and they are quickly humbled even in the clinch. Although anecdotally, usually it seems to be due to a lack of overall strength training (read as plenty of BJJ guys don't come in conditioned for rounds, they seem to gas out early just from movement). 3 rounds can be a lot of anybody not used to it.

    Very few of the guys in my boxing gyms did MMA, they were I guess what you call "pure BJJ" people who wanted to pickup boxing too. They had high level grappling ranks but basic mistakes like no guard, exposed chin, etc.

    The best counterexample I can remember was a guy who already knew That style boxing, and he could take licks, had well developed guard reflex etc. I do think he had some MMA experience based on his overall skill level, but it can be hard to tell sometimes. Some people are fish out of water if they're not used to taking a glove in the cheek now and then.

    Aren't the vast majority of BJJ players "pure", and not MMA fighters? I've always been under the impression BJJ schools, even elite ones, don't train hitting (or defending from it) nowadays.

    So if that's what you mean by context (ie he's talking about trained combat fighters who happen to be ranked), then it makes more sense. But you typically don't see that context spelled out, the quote is all over "pure" BJJ schools and websites.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2023
  17. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    All I know is people who have grappling experience and but are new to the gym love to drop that quote when the topic of head strikes come up, as if implying their black belt skills diminish per strike. IMHO, it diminishes a lot faster than that for the vast majority of people.

    I've developed a decent right cross over the years, and if I fell to the ground with a "pure" BJJ black belt and got a single good shot off, I'm just not convinced they'd be at black belt grappling condition. They'd probably be napping.

    I mean honestly, most people in general have never even been punched lightly in the face, let alone by someone who trains on a 100lb bag daily (with wraps :) )
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2023
  18. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    ^ random world class BJJ and MMA coach from a long time ago says BJJ people aren't punch proof and striking training is good.

    Random boxing guy online, "actually I'm better then that, and I think I can one punch ko a blackbelt in a sport I dont train in"

    I wish I had your confidence mate!
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  19. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    I wish I had the same confidence as well.... especially if I had by my own admission (when I joined in 2014) only done a few years off and on of boxing before my gym had to close.

    I'm struggling to think how many bjj black belts I would have met in those few years if I'm honest.

    Anyway as someone like you Deadpool who HAS actually been around BJJ black belts the only two I can think of who had no real striking skills were judo black belts and British squad members who then transferred into BJJ.

    That's simply because a lot of judo guys didn't care about martial arts they cared about the Olympic sport of judo then when they got older moved to bjj. And they are also way tougher than most boxers I know because judo is probably the toughest combat sport you can do as an adult

    Every single other black belt I personally know had either a striking or MMA background (usually very very extensive )to go along with their bjj black belt because the reason they stayed in bjj so long is because they have a love for martial arts in general.

    Carlson's quite was probably aimed at BJJ clubs (like some of his cousin's) who didn't specifically train for MMA and who thought being a BJJ black belt meant they would win like his guys did in VT and MMA or would stand a chance against any of his MMA trained students (on both counts looking at his record he was right).

    A talented BJJ and MMA specific coach saying this is one thing, someone who has never done MMA or grappling thinking it applies to them when they meet a BJJ black belt is quite another.
    Dead_pool likes this.
  20. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    Both yourself and the "pure" bjj guy would probably flail when it came to striking on the ground.

    I always interpret the Carlson quote in relation to grounded striking.
    You can create a lot of panicking in higher bjj belt levels with grounded striking but its nothing like boxing.

    Additionally your average boxing dude who is used to taking a couple on the chin wouldn't know how to deal with the positional control of grounded striking and would probably gas out faster than the pure bjj guy.

    Its almost as if MMA is its own skillset and sport that only partially overlaps with boxing and bjj... hmm...

    Icefield is totally correct - theres a huge controversial Carlson interview where he talks about how he hates the development of sport jiu jitsu from away from MMA.
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