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Inside the Mind of Dean Lister

Inside the Mind of Dean Lister


Dean "The Boogeyman" Lister has built a career being one of the most feared grapplers on the planet.  As one of the pioneers of the American leg submission game, he helped pave the way for the current crop of leg attack specialists who dazzle us on the various competition stages that have come about in recent years.  Without competitors like Lister, popularizing the once dreaded and still feared lower body submission game, many of the current stars of the BJJ world may be focusing on other areas.

A great way to dig deeper into the mind of Dean Lister is to relive his legendary 2003 ADCC run for gold.  Check out this BJJ Fanatics article to learn more.  Dean was terrorizing his competition with his lower body submissions a decade and a half before the young guns who rule the competition mats today.

Lister is also one of the more cerebral of jiu jitsu OGs.  In the video below, put together by Stuart Cooper, Dean shares some of his thoughts on his approach to the game and yields us some great lessons.

Key points from Dean Lister 

Submission is the goal

In Dean's opinion, the submission is the be all end all goal of jiu jitsu.  Just like in boxing, one constantly seeks out the knockout.  Points are a fact of competitive life, but the true artist is seeking for the submission.  Dean is a forefather of today's modern sub only movement and we are left to imagine the devastation Dean may have left had he had the same number of sub only competitions to ply his skills.  His body of work is legendary and continues to grow to this day.

Do more jiu jitsu to get better at jiu jitsu. 

Dean is an advocate of additional or supplemental training to help support one's fitness and jiu jitsu goals, but he advises that the best activity to get better at jiu jitsu and improve jiu jitsu conditioning is simply more jiu jitsu.  

Quality Time Versus Quantity of Time

Another key idea from the video is that Dean warns not to get lost in keeping track of the quantity of your time training, but instead focus on the quality of that training.  If you spend 3 hours at the gym not being pushed, it is not as valuable as spending 30 minutes being crushed by training partners that can push you to your limits.

During training and competition stay in the moment

Over his competition career, Dean has matured in how he looks at his opponents.  They are not seen as enemies or someone that he hates.  Instead during competition, Lister focuses on staying in the moment and piecing together a positive game plan that puts him in the best possible positions to land submissions.  The more effectively one is able to stay in the moment and react with instinct and execute the techniques as purely as possible, the more likely they will be able to come out victorious.

Now on to some technique.  In the video below Dean shows a Corkscrew Foot Lock that will have your opponents scratching their heads about.

 If you can't get enough of Dean's masterful leg attacks, you can check out this article focusing on his breakdown of the straight ankle lock from BJJ Fanatics here.

 If there were an American grappling Mount Rushmore, Dean Lister's face would most certainly be there.  One of only a handful of leg submission pioneers who have paved the way for the superstars today who owe Dean a debt a gratitude.  Many schools are just now beginning to open their minds and course agendas to the world of leg attacks.  Dean Lister will remain a pioneer far ahead of his time and still active and innovative to this day.

 Now that you've gotten a little taste of the BJJ philosophy of "The Boogeyman", it would be a great time to check out his 4 DVD series "Leg Attacks and Grappling Hacks" here.








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