Organize Your Training

There are some very different approaches to training and learning jiu-jitsu.

There are the BJJ nerds (and I don’t mean that in a negative way) who study videos, take detailed notes, and can tell you the result of every time Cobrinha and Mendes met in competition in the previous decade. This is just their personality and learning style.

Then you get what are called the “kinesthetic” learners, who don’t need to hear an exhaustive description of every detail of a position. They want to watch the move a couple of times and then hurry to a corner of the mat and try to do the move themselves. They learn by doing.

Whatever your style of learning BJJ, one of your most important early steps is to organize that enormous mishmash of awesome moves you know into a coherent system. This will also make it easier to remember and recall all of that information.

I present to you the Positional Hierarchy:

Rear mount
Side control
Half Mount
Guard Top / Guard Bottom
Turtle Top / Turtle Bottom
Half Guard Bottom
Side control Bottom
Mount Bottom
Rear mount Bottom

This represents, in descending order, the major ground positions in BJJ. Anytime you pause the video of a match, you should be able to identify the two combatants in one of the above positions.

Now you have a checklist of your basic ground positions. Take a look and ask yourself, “Do I have solid technique for every one of those positions?”

If not, you have some holes in your jiu-jitsu game.

In going over the list, let’s say you see that you don’t know what to do when you are caught inside your opponent’s half guard.

Ask your instructor two important questions:

1) “What are the two best moves from half mount?”

As you learn BJJ, you will learn a great number of techniques, but to start two solid, basic moves are enough.

2) “What am I trying to do from here? Submit, pass, or defend?”

Each position has a battle. The top is trying to get what they want and the bottom is trying to achieve the opposite goals.

In the case of half mount for example, you are trying to :

~ Keep your opponent flat and get an underhook to prevent the back take.
~ Escape the leg that your opponent has trapped and progress your position to side control or mount.
~ Avoid being swept or having your opponent progress their own position (replacing the full guard) to the next better position on the Positional Hierarchy.

This is a really useful way to organize your jiu-jitsu.


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