Finding Your “A Game”

Photo by: Kitt Canaria

I always like to ask students who have been training for more than a couple of years “What is your A game?”

I am surprisingly often greeted with a quizzical look, as if they are asking, “What do you mean?”

Your A Game is your strategy based around your best positions and often dictated by your body type.

In some sports there is a saying “Anatomy is destiny.” For example, 7-foot NBA centres are born to play that position.

A long, lanky, wiry BJJ player will naturally take advantage of his long limbs and gravitate towards a D’arce chokes and a triangle-centred game.

One of the coaches at my old academy had such proportions and most of his technique sequences culminated in a triangle. I used to joke with him that in his jiu-jitsu game “All roads lead to the triangle.” I said that partly out of envy as my own short, Hobbit-like legs prevented me from ever reaching triangle greatness.

A shorter, stocky, muscular build might find butterfly or half guard to be a better position. He may not be able to snatch D’arce or triangle chokes, but you had better protect your neck around his guillotine and fear his double leg.

Another factor involved in how your A Game develops can be prior training experience.

College wrestlers and judo guys will develop a preference for a top game as they can more often obtain the top position.

Conversely, a lighter BJJ guy may be forced to the bottom position most of the time and will consequently develop great spider guard and sneaky back takes.

Usually one’s A Game will reveal itself “organically”. By that I mean in the utterly practical world of rolling, the stuff that works for you will rapidly become evident to you.

Now that you have identified what works for you, you need to set about investigating and drilling those positions that will be your A Game.

There are certain positions and submissions that are linked together.

For example, look at the awesome Marcelo Garcia, who has strengthened the techniques that suit him best and discarded the others that he didn’t like.

Marcelo’s game shows that those strong techniques connect well to other positions. For example, a strong butterfly guard will combine well with a 1 leg X and X guard.

Once you identify these positional connections, then you are on the road to developing your “A Game”.

Jiu-jitsu Times will feature some upcoming articles on HOW you develop your best positions.

You should also read on Jiu-jitsu Times: Have a Training Focus – Get Obsessed for 1 Month!

Have a Training Focus – Get Obsessed for 1 Month!


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