Advanced Basics – Knowing The Basic Techniques At A Black Belt Level

I have observed something curious in many BJJ guys after they achieve their black belts.
They start to simplify their game and return to concentrating on those basic techniques that everyone knows.

Those same basic moves (ex. mounted straight armlock, kimura, scissors sweep) that you may have learned in your very first jiu-jitsu classes.

It doesn’t make any sense. A black belt with more than ten years on the mats knows and is able to use advanced positions and fancy submissions. So, why is he working on perfecting his cross collar choke from the mount?

Once you are a black belt, aren’t you able to employ super advanced techniques and tie your opponents in knots in a virtually continuous highlight reel of crazy subs?!


Many world class black belts use incredible strategies and complex positions that you need to watch and rewatch to even comprehend what you just saw in a blur of action.

Some elite level bjj competitors – most famously Roger Gracie and Kron Gracie – are successful with a game that many bjj guys consider “basic”.

Roger Gracie famously won a Mundials title in the black belt division by cross choking all of his opponents from the mount!

One of the greatest BJJ competitors and teachers of all time, Jean Jacques Machado, has one of my absolute favorite quotes on jiu-jitsu:

“…the more you learn, the less you use. But in order to use less, you have to learn more.”

To use the basics effectively against other experienced grapplers, you need to know those basic techniques at a BLACK BELT level!

For example: ask a bluebelt to show you an armlock from the mount and he has 5 tips for you.

A purple belt has 8 details and a few combinations. The purple can hit the armbar with both speed and smoothness.

A blackbelt belt knows WHEN to use it, HOW to set it up, how to completely control the opponent from start to finish, where to place her weight and precisely where to grip, how to recounter and prevent the opponent from defending.

Quite simply, when you have solid understanding, the basics WORK!

Let’s see an example.

The first video shows a method to teach beginners the most basic armbar from the mount. This is how I learned my first armbar from mount.

Beginning Jujitsu Moves : Armbar from the Mounted Position in Jujitsu

Now let’s see how Renzo Gracie black belt, Shawn Williams, teaches that same mounted armbar with loads of advanced details (Advanced Basics):

Shawn Williams Armbar From Mount Mega Details

The difference in the depth of knowledge and sharpness of execution are profound.

Next week, we will talk with some of the best minds in jiu-jitsu about “Advanced Basics” and how you can use in your jiu-jitsu.

On Jiu-jitsu Times : Henry Akins on Principle or Concept Based Approach To Jiu-jitsu

Principle or Concept Based Approach To Jiu-jitsu


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