High Level Fundamentals
In Jiu Jitsu, we cannot stress the importance of fundamentals enough. Knowing the fundamentals may be the single most important thing to being able to perform at high levels. There is no point in knowing all those fancy sweeps and back takes if you don’t know the fundamentals behind back control and pinning. Why do a flying arm bar if you don’t understand the fundamental mechanics of finishing an arm bar?
What are the fundamentals? This is an extremely difficult question to answer because there are fundamental positions, fundamental pins, fundamental sweeps, etc. Today we are not discussing fundamentals for beginners, but for high level practitioners. For beginners, check out our article “Developing a Path” or “Having a complete BJJ Game” to get some tips and tricks. When you are an upper belt and want to implement high level fundamentals we discuss more conceptual approaches to things like posture, and base, and timing.
Fundamentals of Posture/Base
When we are discussing passing guard or having high level fundamentals, we want to discuss the mechanics behind things. Posture is one of, if not, the most important thing to passing the guard and being comfortable in someone’s guard. Posture is important from any guard and differentiates from many positions so to get deeper we have to find similarities in all different types of posture.
For instance, in closed guard you want to keep your back strait, in open guard like De La Riva, Reverse De La Riva, and Spider guard we want to also keep our back strait. So being able to keep your back strait is very important for posture. When defending a triangle or arm bar, keep your back strait. This is a high level fundamental of passing several guards.
Good posture will lead to good base and good base will make you an extremely difficult adversary to deal with. Recently, the only two ten time Black Belt World Champions, Roger Gracie and Buchecha had a match. Roger Gracie won by submissions crowning himself greatest of all time. Roger has the best fundamentals in bjj and he displayed the effectiveness of them in the match. His base made him next to impossible to sweep, takedown, and submit. Check out this video of Gregor Gracie showing us a very technical approach to passing closed guard below.
Fundamentals of Timing
Timing may be the most important factor to differentiate the elite grapplers from the ordinary grapplers. For example, a recreational black belt may have the knowledge of a world class black belt but they don’t have the timing. Bernardo Faria is a 5x Black Belt World Champion and is notorious for his simplicity. Everyone knows what passes, guards, and sweeps he loves but no one can stop them. There may be many bjj practitioners that know the same moves as him but they can’t implement them as well because his timing is impeccable.
Timing is important in every aspect of bjj. You need timing to hit sweeps, submissions, passes, and everything in bjj. Timing is one of the highest level fundamentals and is next to impossible to master. Check out this video of Gregor Gracie showing a back take from closed guard and listen to how he discusses the timing.
If you want to take your fundamentals to the next level, get your hands on Gregor Gracie’s DVD Set “High Level Fundamentals.” Gregor has an unbelievable understanding of the fundamentals and this is a great resource for anyone who want to work high level fundamentals.