How To Get Really Really Good At A Position

Island Top Team’s Rob Biernacki has a unique way of breaking down concepts for the thinking grappler.

Read also: Rob Biernacki Advice On Your “A Game”

This week, Rob outlines his methodology for getting REALLY good at a position that you want to make part of your “A Game”.

Jiu-jitsu Times : What is your philosophy behind drilling or positional training as a means of bridging the gap between passive drilling and being able to use it in live rolling? What training methods would you advise students to utilize?

Rob Biernacki : I am a huge proponent of various methods of situational or positional drilling and rolling. We have several methods of creating aliveness within specific positions or situations at our academy, and I’m thrilled to be sharing them on the BJJ Formula app series that Stephan Kesting is releasing through

The tricky part of sparring a position is finding the sweet spot for practical development. What I mean is that any time we restrict the parameters for success, we create the potential for your partner to “cheat” to “win the drill” for instance, if you’re working on controlling the back and your partner chooses to escape by just turning and giving you the mount. It’s important when engaging in these kinds of drills/rolls that you set parameters that allow for enough freedom to exit the position on your terms and that your partner understands not to default to “winning the drill”.

I also recommend using skill disparity as a training tool and during rolling. Picking partners below your level to develop a position you’re working on because you can dictate the direction of the roll is far, far more beneficial than running a submission clinic on a less experienced practitioner. Ultimately this will hit a ceiling as you will be vulnerable to false positives, so you have to check your development against equal or better practitioners, but initially using more advanced partners to develop offense is a recipe for stagnation and frustration.

The better your drills/situational rolls are designed, the quicker you can expect to advance, so pick your methods and your training partners with care.

How to Take the Back in BJJ 1: The Chair Sit

Jiu-jitsu Times : Can you describe the process and methodology behind how you developed your back position? From the time you decided that you wanted to get really good at back attacks to achieving a higher level of understanding and application?

Rob Biernacki : I used the approach described above, training with Ryan Hall and Marcelo Garcia as well as extensively studying and modeling their games, and then adding elements from other elite players was a starting point.

Understanding the principles behind controlling the back and transitioning in and out of the position was what I chose to focus on. I think one of the most important decision points or distinctions that every BJJ player needs to cultivate is between attempting to hold their opponent in place, and move around them. Recognizing these moments was what I tried to build my back game around and it’s what I teach in every position, not just the back. And of course any time I found success with a particular movement or technique, I immediately teach it to my best students and training partners and show them how to defend it.

I believe that as a teacher it is my job to make my students better than I am, and I pursue this end not only as a professional duty, but selfishly, knowing it will force not just my own improvement, but avoid any culty nonsense where we all pretend the instructor is invincible so we hold back when rolling with him. If you allow that, then before you know it, your academy becomes a confederacy of delusion where everybody sucks and then you may as well practice shooting chi at people.

I would say it took me about a year from beginning to focus on the back to being able to reliably get there and finish against black belts in training and competition. The steps, techniques and theory to get there are completely laid out in the Back Attack Formula app, and I can guarantee you the approach works based on not just my experience, but my students, who have achieved incredible results with attacking the back in competition, including my top student, who took the back and choked a black belt in competition after less than 2 years of BJJ training.

Of course having a prodigy employ your methods is a statistical outlier, so I won’t try to present a case based on that alone. All of my students at every rank have successfully developed very effective back attack games, and our visiting students from around North America have found similar effects after just a week or two of training with us, but taking the principles and training methods home with them to work on.

Hope that sheds enough light on the topic, thanks again for allowing me to ramble, I really appreciate the opportunity to share my jiu-jitsu concept nerdiness with your readers.

BJJ Back Attacks Formula in 30 seconds

Check out Rob’s new app on Grapplearts: The BJJ Back Attack Formula


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