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Make Your Own BJJ Game
These days with so much content available on the web we see people trying to emulate other peoples game all to often. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but there are better ways to improve your bjj. Having access to all of this content is the best thing in the world, it allows us to see different aspects of bjj that we would have otherwise not been exposed to. We can see different styles and pick up on habits.
All that said, it is still better to develop your own game instead of emulating somebody else's. This is because if you are just a reflection of someone else's game, people will probably be able to know what you're going to do and it will be hard to have your own bjj. The other problem with playing someones game is going to be the fact that you are limiting yourself.
There is nothing wrong with learning someones game but you have to be able to add some of your own tweaks to it. This is because everyone is different and there is no way you are going to play someone's game better than them. For example, if you want to learn from Rafa Mendes, and just mimic his game that is great, but you will never play it better than him, that said, you should still learn it and add your own tweaks.
Making Someone Else's Game Your Own
Making someone's game your own is an important thing. For example, lets go back to Rafa Mendes, let's say that you want to learn his game and you are becoming really good at a sweep he does and he always goes to the leg drag. Maybe you get really good at this sweep and then instead of going to the leg drag, since you have a different body type, you find a way to go to the Over/Under. Now you're mixing up different styles and developing your own game.
The best way to progress is to just get as much mat time as possible, but that is the obvious way to progress. Are there anyways to progress if you only train a few times a week? Yes, the trick to getting good at bjj quickly is to develop a game. What does develop a game mean?
Developing a game means getting good at a specific set of moves quickly and focusing on a few things. Basically, you want to adapt the philosophy Bruce Lee implements, “I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times more than the man that has practiced a ten thousand kicks once.” Basically work the same positions over and over.
Finding your game can be the most important part of BJJ, but also the most difficult. When you are a fresh white belt you don’t know much so it is difficult to progress quickly, you can start to see a more rapid progression in the blue belt level because you can pick and choose what moves are working for you and constantly use them.
Let’s look at some examples of high level black belts that have very specific games that they constantly implement. Bernardo Faria is a 5x Black Belt World Champion who has a very specific set of techniques that he uses over and over again. His opponent’s know what he is trying to do but still can’t stop it. Bernardo likes to play half guard and use his trademark over under pass.
Another legendary competitor who is famous for his simplicity is Marcelo Garcia. Marcelo always plays butterfly guard, X-guard, and single leg x. Although his opponent’s know what he is doing, they can’t seem to stop it. This is because he has done these positions so many times that he has seen every reaction possible. This is the trick to advancing fast.
Developing a Unique System
Perhaps the hardest part of learning bjj is creating a unique system that is your own as we mentioned above. This is not something that is going to happen over night by any means. This takes years to do. BJJ is a very slow progression. In regards to learning quickly this means that in 3-6 years you develop a unique game that is essentially your own set of techniques. When we say your own set of techniques we do not mean that you are going to invent your own moves and be some guru. This simply means that you will have a different chain of attacks than someone else.
Chain attacks is one of the most important things in bjj. You want to have moves that you do all the time and you will start to learn different reactions you get and put together a sequence of moves that only you do. For example, you look at a guy like Marcelo Garcia again. Marcelo developed a set of moves that he does. There are hundreds of people in the world that can learn these techniques, but maybe for them, they will not go from one to the other. Maybe they do some moves Marcelo does, and some Rafa Mendes does, and some that Bernardo Faria does. Boom. They are developing a system that works for them.
Maybe you like the way that marcelo passes but you like the way that Bernardo Faria plays guard, this is how you start to do your own bjj and with that said, even then, you will probably apply the techniques a little differently. For example, I bring up the example of Marcelo Garcia because he is my idol. I play a lot of his game, single leg X and X guard, but that said, I am a brown belt and have learned that him and I are different and that there are somethings I like to do differently than he does.
For example, I like to go from the single leg X sweep into the leg drag. Marcelo never really liked going to leg drag, it was just not his style, but for me, I have probably done the single leg X basic sweep directly into leg drag over 1000 times, so this a game I do and I have seen reactions. Sometimes when I do the sweep and try the leg drag my opponent inverts and I hit a long step, sometime they try and guillotine me and I hit a jump over pass, and sometimes they try to turtle and I am able to get the back or an Ezekiel from an arm triangle.
That got a little complicated, but you get the jist, I have a system from there and I have seen bunch of my opponents reactions and I am able to do have answers for them. So with all of the online content available these days, people have the opportunity to learn world class bjj from different people and put together a severely complex game piece by piece with elements from so many different guys. It is pretty incredible how much things we have access to these days. IF you are reading this blog then you are on bjj fanatic and you know that we are the number one distributor for online instructional videos.
Just look around our library and you can find anything you want, berimbolo’s, rubber guard, pressure passing, spider guard, etc. There is a wealth of knowledge available these days and it is your for the taking.
If you always try and play a specific guard you will see all of the reactions to it from different people. So with all of the free content available you have the ability today, more than ever, to learn a bunch of different styles from top level guys and combine them to make your own game.