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Having a Complete BJJ Game

Having a Complete BJJ Game


In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu it is vital to establish a well-rounded and complete bjj game.  What are we referring to when we say complete?  This means that you want to have a dangerously good guard, good passing, and good submissions.  You don’t want to be a one trick pony. If you want to start to develop your game as a whole, check out our article “Developing your BJJ Game.”

This is contradicting to some of the things we have expressed in other articles like “Developing a good bjj game fast.”  We stress that it is better to be good at a few things, than to be mediocre at a lot of things.  Like the Bruce Lee quote, “I fear the man who has practiced one kick a thousand times more than the man who has practiced a thousand kicks one time.”  This is still an excellent philosophy to implement into your bjj especially if you want to improve faster.

Even if you uphold this philosophy, it is still important to be well-rounded, meaning, you have some good guard passes, some good guards, and good submissions.  You don’t need to have hundreds of sweeps, passes and submissions, but a few that you have refined so that you have a “complete” game.

Developing a Good Guard

Having a good guard is essential to becoming good in bjj.  Bjj is infamous for the creation of the guard, so in order to progress, you need to have a good guard.  What is a good guard?  This means that your guard is hard to pass, that you have good sweeps from guard, and that you have dangerous submissions from guard. 

Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean that you are good at every guard; you just need to be excellent at a few.  For instance, let’s say you’re excellent at single leg X, you can use other guards like half guard, De La Riva, and closed guard to get to single leg X.  This is a good way to have a good guard. Check out this video on a single leg X sweep, it is a great position to learn.

Developing Good Passing

Developing good guard passing is another crucial element of becoming a well-rounded bjj practitioner.  You don’t want to just be a guard player, otherwise known as “butt-scooters.” You want to have a good guard and passing so that when you sweep your opponent, you can start to pass their guard. Passing is important to start early, check out our article “White to Blue, the most Important Step” for an intro to passing.

Same concept for guard applies to passing.  Let’s say you love the leg drag and knee slice, you can work sweeps that put you in a good position to execute these passes when you come on top.  You can also develop a passing system that puts you in the position to utilize these moves more frequently.  If you are excellent at two to three passes this does not make you a “one trick pony.”  A “one trick pony” means that you only play guard and go for one move the entire time you roll, or you only look for leg locks and refuse to come on top to pass.  Check out this video on a folding pass, one of the best passes you can utilize in bjj.

Developing Good Submissions

Again, the same philosophy we talked about for passing and playing guard applies to becoming good at submissions.  You want to have a few submissions that you are excellent at, but with submissions, you also want to get good at submissions that are versatile.

 Versatile meaning you can use the same submissions from several guards and passes, and that you can use them in gi and nogi. Let’s say you are excellent at the cross choke and arm bar.  These are submissions with excellent versatility, you can use them from bottom or top, and you can use them from side control, mount, and several different positions.  Check out our article on the cross choke here to see why it is such an excellent submission.  Also, check out this video on a cross choke below.

So developing a complete game is not easy to do, but it is vital to being a well-rounded bjj practitioner.  You want to have good guard passing, a dangerous guard, and good submissions.  If you want to check out an excellent resource for developing sound fundamentals and a well-rounded game, check out “Pure Jiu Jitsu” 4 DVD set by Luis Heredia. Luis is known as the great Rickson Gracie’s “hitman” and has old school Jiu Jitsu.  Simple, effective and complete, his depth of knowledge is second to none.

Pure Jiu Jitsu Luis Heredia


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