Intermediate Jiu-Jitsu: Building Your Game

For the first year of BJJ, you will learn an arsenal of basic moves in all of the ground positions while drilling the proper mechanics of those techniques.

After months of sparring, the bigger picture of jiu-jitsu will become clearer. You will start to experience success with certain techniques while other basic positions can be frustratingly ineffective for you.

The truth is you can’t be great at every position, and even top-level black belts admit a preference for certain positions over others. This is how you shape your game out of the mass of possible jiu-jitsu techniques.

Today I want to talk about those techniques that feel right to you, perhaps the techniques with which you experience your earliest rolling successes. These favorite positions will soon reveal themselves to you quite naturally when you are rolling.

This is the start of building your game around your strongest positions. I recall one World Champion black belt talk about how the strong positions that he was known for now were the same positions he was using to win as a blue belt.

How about your own jiu-jitsu? What are the positions you are confident with? What are the  moves you know you can get against training partners of a similar experience level?

These are the moves you want to start building your game with.

Look at the example of the guard. There are a lot of different guards out there worth trying, so which guard should be yours?

I would start by asking, “What is your best sweep or submission weapon from the guard? Which technique seems to fit your individual body type the best?”

If you tell me “the triangle choke,” I will recommend looking at guard styles, such as spider guard, that complement the triangle choke. If you can’t seem to get much success with the triangle but find yourself catching kimuras from your closed guard, I would look at the closed guard and techniques like the hip bump, techniques that work well in combination with your primary kimura attack.

Using this way of looking at your earliest jiu-jitsu strengths, you may begin to build your own game.


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