Styles Make Fights And Jiu-Jitsu Math Doesn’t Work

Jiu-Jitsu Math

Ever notice that in jiu-jitsu, just because you can beat someone, it doesn’t mean that your friend that can beat you can beat them?  Styles make fights, and jiu-jitsu math doesn’t work.

If one practitioner favors a specific kind of guard or passing style, and that guard or passing style isn’t in the repertoire of another practitioner, it can be problematic.  The game an individual plays will inevitably determine with which practitioners they will match up well, and with which they won’t.

Another crucial factor in determining the likely outcome of a matchup is a rule set.  If, for example, a practitioner does very well against a specific opponent under EBI rules, there is absolutely no guarantee that they will do well under ADCC or IBJJF rules.  If one practitioner’s submission defense is amazing, but their ability to obtain and hold good positions isn’t, then sub-only may be the rule set in which they shine.  People they can beat 100% of the time in a sub-only match will demolish them in a points match.

Body type is another factor that people often do not bear in mind when considering matchups.  One practitioner may be better suited to deal with taller, lankier practitioners, whereas one may find that specific body type to be daunting.  Body types can pose unique challenges.

The setting in which a roll or a match takes place can play a huge role on the outcome.  Some people are innately better at competing than they are at the gym, and for many it’s the exact opposite.  Also the size and prestige of a competition can play a role as well.  Some people rise to the occasion better than others. For some, the pressure is too much.

Another major factor is gi vs. no-gi.  A gi world champ will have a different skill set than a no-gi world champ, and both will have different skill sets than someone who trains and competes under rules that allow for reaping and heel hooks.  Very often the best no-gi practitioners train in the gi, but there are some who only train the way they compete.

Styles makes fights, and every individual is going to have people who shouldn’t be able to beat them but can, or those who should be able to beat them but can’t.  Perspective is crucial when assessing potential matchups.

What are some examples of unlikely matchups that yielded unlikely results?  Is there anyone in your gym that you can beat, but who can beat people who can beat you?


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