Absolute World Champion Bernardo Faria : How To Train Your Best Positions
Jiu-jitsu Times : Bernardo, you are known to have some positions that you always use in competition – ex. your half guard.
What belt were you when you discovered that the half guard was going to be one of your best positions?
Who taught you the early techniques to develop your half guard?
Bernardo Faria : I learned the half guard back in 2003 when I was blue belt – 1st year as a juvenile.
My teacher was that type of teacher that he knew a bunch of techniques, but he always used to teach – his game was more like spider but he used to teach all of the types of games.
I remember really early on there was one day that he taught the half guard – I want to call it single leg half guard. He didn’t know too many details about it, but he knew the technique.
He taught me and ever since then I started doing it and I never stopped it.
I felt good in the position and I think that I always wanted to try and find one position that worked for me.
For example when I was a yellow belt, I always pull everyone to the closed guard and try to do one sweep from the closed guard.
So also when I found out about the half guard, I started doing the half guard.
I’m still doing it today.
When I was purple belt I started to do the deep half guard and after that I started combining both the half and deep half guard.
Jiu-jitsu Times : What training methods did you use to make your half guard so strong?
Positional sparring? Experimentation?
What do you think about when rolling to strengthen the positions that you are trying to improve?
Bernardo Faria : I think that what I did to help my half guard to become a good one was as I didn’t have judo or wrestling, I always believed that I had to pull guard every single roll.
Because in the tournament I would not be able to take them down.
At that time I didn’t used to train judo or wrestling so I always believed that – in every single roll I have to pull to the half guard.
Since I learned my first technique in half guard.
Another thing i think that helps a lot too is that I try to train tired. So I always try to train with the toughest guys on the mat.
And also when I feel that I am getting tired, I always do 2 or 3 more rolls. I always force myself to train tired.
I believe that when you do some position when you are tired, then when you are not tired you are supposed to do it even better.
That is why I always try to train tired and I always pull half guard every single roll since I was a blue belt.
Jiu-jitsu Times : Are there any positions / techniques that you don’t use much in your own game?
Why did you decide to avoid those other types of guards and use 1/2 guard?
Bernardo Faria : I think that in jiu-jitsu you have like 1000 techniques.
For example you can do a butterfly guard game, a De la Riva game, you can do a spider guard game, you can do half guard game, you can do closed guard game.
I always had in mind that it would be really hard to be the best one at all types of games. So that is why I focused on half guard as that was the one that I felt comfortable.
I never closed my eyes to learn anything. I always try to keep open minded to learn any type of positions, or all types of games.
Because even if you don’t use it, you know what is going on and you can at least stop it when someone tries to do against you.
I always knew that to be 100% good at every type of game would be kind of like impossible.
But I knew that I could be 100% good at one type of game and beyond the average person in all other positions.
That is what I tried to do – focus on my game but never close the eyes to the other positions.
Bernardo Faria – The Master Of The Deep Half Guard
Jiu-jitsu Times : What advice do you have for blue and purple belts who are looking for their “A Game?”
What worked for you in your training?
Bernardo Faria : My advice is to stay open minded.
Always try to learn everything.
In the same time, try to have a focus on one type of game and try to believe in yourself.
Because I remember when I started doing half guard, especially when I was a black belt, a bunch of people who say “Oh you never going to win the World’s because you always doing half guard.”
I always try to believe that I could win it. Why not?
Many people are good at De la Riva and they win doing De la Riva.
Many people are good at butterfly and they win doing butterfly.
Many people are good at spider and they win doing spider.
So why not half guard?
So believe in yourself, keep an open mind and focus on one type of game.
Sometimes I see people who are doing spider guard. And then one year later they start doing butterfly.
One later they start doing half guard and then they come back to spider.
It is going to be really hard o be a specialist in something in this way.
Focus on your game, believe in yourself and keep an open mind towards everything.
But it doesn’t mean that you need to use everything.
Jiu-jitsu Times : How can students interested to learn more about your half guard game find your website / instructionals / online training?
Bernardo Faria : Most of my DVDs and instructional
Or I’m teaching at Marcelo Garcia’s gym in New York so everyone is welcome to come here.
Also I made a blog bernardofaria.com for my website.
I post a lot of tips over there and I think that is good one.
I post a lot of tips, links for my instructional and free videos and everything.
Just join my email list on my website and you can get it all.