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Bernardo Faria’s Worst Position to get Stuck In



Everyone who is into competition jiu jitsu knows that Bernardo Faria has taken his seat as the king of IBJJF competition, winning several absolute titles over the past few years and truly cementing himself as an all time great.  He is known for his pressure as well as his effective guard game, an all around menace to those who have to step on the mat with him.  Recently he put together this video explaining what his worst position to get stuck in is…

When it comes to Bernardo’s game, it’s all about control, pressure, inflicting misery upon a trained opponent so that they feel they have no choice but to make their own situation worse.  It’s an effective game highlighted by his many major victories over the past few years.  So what makes this position so powerful?  Why is it so bad?

For starters if you look at where pressure is being applied when stuck in this position, it becomes apparent that the only way out is to sacrifice position even further.  Very often when assessing the power or efficacy of a position one should analyze exactly what it takes to escape that position.

When we look at Bernardo’s worst position, most of the pressure appears to be on the tricep and in the armpit, from where most people cannot generate much explosive force.  The arm is pushed across compressing the chest, and hip movement will likely be futile in trying to negate the effects of the position.  In fact if the person on bottom doesn’t have great shoulder flexibility, there’s a chance that an explosive movement will dislocate their shoulder.

Looking from Bernardo’s perspective on top in this position, he is open to set up a variety of attacks including but not limited to arm locks, chokes, and various paths to advance his position. If the opponent starts to lose their cool, it can potentially make the position far more dangerous, and even if they keep their bearings, the position can consistently be made tighter and worse.

As the position gets progressively worse, one’s ability to escape diminishes.  Really the best time to get out of this position is before it is ever secured, but once it’s on there’s a reason that Bernardo has labeled it his worse position.  For starters, it is a position in which weight is distributed in a column right over the chest, so there is no good way to turn out.  Shrimping, which tends to be one of the best ways to get out of situations from side control, will only make this position worse, tightening the grip on the tricep and arm.  It’s bad.

At the black belt level, there is very little room for error, and if you are put in a position like this by any black belt worth his or her salt, chances are you’re in for a bad time.  Most practitioners will not know how to escape, and even those who do will have a hard time doing so because of the complexity and difficulty of the position.  However in jiu jitsu there is always SOMETHING that can be done, even if you are far gone in a position and will likely lose.

Because of his understanding of how to inflict misery on his opponents, Bernardo Faria also knows how to get out of bad spots, including (but certainly not limited to) his worst position.  In fact, Bernardo’s ability to evade bad positions is so finely tuned at this point that the last time he lost a match was in 2014.   Given the high level of competition that Bernardo faced leading up to and after that point, and given the tear he has been on since 2014, that’s an impressive feat.

If you want to learn how to evade and escape bad positions like this awful side control position that Bernardo has shown in the above video, check out this DVD set outlining and exploring exactly what Bernardo has done to be so effective at escaping bad positions.  In the set, you’ll find escapes from everywhere, and remember if you can escape your opponent’s worst positions, you can come back and win the match.  Check it out here!

Escapes from Everywhere by Bernardo Faria – 4 DVD Set


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