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Fundamentals & Concepts

Fundamentals & Concepts


Fundamentals and concepts may be the most important elements of improvement in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  To learn the fundamentals and develop concepts will assist you exponentially in improving your over all bjj game.  To be able to understand the fundamentals at a high level is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. 

Fundamentals and concepts go hand in hand and are quite similar.  There are subtleties between fundamentals and concepts, fundamentals may be referred to as specific techniques where concepts may be more philosophical.  For instance, to have posture from closed guard may be a concept but how to have posture would be the fundamental. 

There are so many fundamentals and concepts that can change your game and help you to develop your Jiu Jitsu at a faster rate. Knowing what to do in specific positions will assist you in having a game plan and having a game plan is one of the most important things to have when training bjj.  Lets take a look at some fundamentals and concepts from some popular positions.

Concepts and Fundamentals for Closed Guard

Closed guard is one of the most popular positions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Closed guard is one of the first positions ever developed in bjj and it has been one of the most utilized and taught positions for over a decade.  We have seen high level competitors use this positions with great success, we have seen self-defense videos of the closed guard being used well, and of course we always see the closed guard in MMA.

So what are some fundamentals and concepts for closed guard?  Well, let’s start with top closed guard.  When you are in someone’s closed guard there are two easy concepts to remember that can help you elevate your game.  The first one is to hand fight, and the next is to use posture.  When you combine these two alone, you are a danger.  Having good posture in closed guard can nullify so many of your opponent’s attacks, whether it is in MMA, self-defense, or bjj.  How does someone arm bar you? How do they finish the triangle? How do they guillotine you, kimura you, and sweep you?  These moves, for the most part, start with breaking down your posture, getting your butt off your heels.  So just keep posture and grip fight.

So what are the fundamentals for being in someone’s closed guard?  Well, they are how to have that posture, and what a good place to grip is.  These are more specific, so for example, to have posture you want to push your hips into your opponent, keep your back strait, look up, and keep your but on your heels, while off your toes.  These are the finite details to having good posture, as far as grips, it is always wise to keep one hand on their knee or leg and the other near the waste.  There are hundreds of different grip combinations that you can use so this is up to where you train.

So what about bottom closed guard?  What are the fundamentals and concepts for playing bottom closed guard?  Well, you want to do the opposite of what you should while on top.  You want to break down your opponent’s posture and keep it broken.  This can be done using your legs, creating angles, grip fighting, and other ways.  But this is a good example of way concepts are phenomenal to learn quick.  Let’s say you take a beginner or blue belt and just tell them, look, when you are in closed guard keep your back as strait as possible and have posture, watch how much harder they are to sweep or submit, and then tell them while playing closed guard just focus on breaking down your opponent’s posture to start, then work.

Just to be clear, these are just scratching the surface on concepts, we can dig much deeper on fundamentals and concepts from the closed guard depending on the level of understanding, for example, a purple or brown belt may be better suited to understand more technical concepts, today we just want to give an overview of how concepts can be applied.  Check out this video below with US Olympic Silver Medalist in Judo and a person who received a BJJ black belt in just 3 years showing some concepts from closed guard.

Defense Concepts

Defense concepts are so important to learn, especially when you are just starting out.  This is because, so many people quit Jiu Jitsu out of frustration because it is such a difficult learning curve and they have no idea how to defend themselves.  Defensive concepts can make learning bjj so much easier.  So what are some defensive concepts? 

Let’s take a look at half guard.  When you are learning bjj they will teach you to play half guard and they will probably teach you some sweeps from the position.  The problem with learning sweeps is that there are so many details, instead we could teach fundamentals and concepts.  So what are some concepts for playing half guard.  First off stay on your side, and second, get an under hook on the same side of your outside leg.  Just getting an under hook and staying on your side are so important.  These concepts can make your half much harder to pass and make you harder to submit.

If you are able to get the under hook and stay on your side, now all you would have to do is block the cross face, these three things combined are all you need to tell a beginner to perform better. Beginner’s know nothing, so if we just tell them three things to do every time, they will do those things with 100% of their focus and determination.   This is why concepts are so good to learn as white and blue belts.  The beginner who is told, “hey, when you’re in half guard, just get an under hook, get on your side, and block their cross face.”  They will only have one goal in mind but that one goal is much better then not having anything.  These are excellent defensive and offensive concepts to have.

Another place you can teach defensive concepts from is the turtle, side control, mount, or any position that beginners will find themselves in often.  For example, a beginner will get their guard passed, they will get mounted, they will turtle.  If we just teach them some fundamentals and concepts like keeping your elbows very tight, protecting your neck, not extending, and being patient, they would be able to see micro progressions.  So many beginners get submitted because they relentlessly escape and give opening.  They extend, they bridge, and they open their neck.  Enough talk though, lets take a look at Travis Stevens again showing some fundamentals and concepts on being defensive.

If you want to accelerate your growth exponentially and take your bjj to the next level, check out Judo Olympic Silver Medalist Travis Stevens new DVD “Fundamentals and concepts.”  Travis received his black belt in just three years, that is unheard of.  We know what you are thinking, he was a high-level judoka, that is true but he was still able to implement concepts and fundamentals that allowed him to grow as a bjj practitioner at a rapid pace. Check out his DVD today and stop stunting your bjj growth.  IF you are an instructor or a teacher, this DVD will help you show your students some excellent fundamentals and concepts.


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