What Is The Weakness In Your BJJ Game?

No. I’m not asking if you can not resist your cravings for chocolate or are poweless before Latinas with legs from here to Tijuana.

What is the weakness in your jiu-jitsu game?

Most of us have an area of our game that lags behind the other positions. One of my instructors had the philosophy that your jiu-jitsu should be equal on both the top and the bottom: a dangerous guard to complement your heavy top game.

Some common weaknesses we see in the academy:

The Big Guy Or Former Wrestler

If you’re like this guy, you have a good crushing pressure game but next to nothing off of your back. If you are a superior wrestler, you will more often than not be able to achieve the top position against your opponent’s.

But when swept for confronted with a larger opponent, you are like a fish out of water!

I recall reading how UFC Champion Randy Couture trained his bottom game before a title fight with wrestler Kevin Randleman. Couture said that he wanted to prepare for the situation in the fight where if he were taken down, that he would be able to defend. And he was in fact taken down by the powerful wrestler Randleman and nearly submitted him with an arm lock from the guard.

Later in the fight, Couture got the takedown. Randleman, in contrast, had not prepared to fight off of his back. So accustomed to winning the wrestling battle and fighting from the top, Randleman was like a “dead bug” off of his back and Couture got the stoppage to win the UFC title.

Guard Puller With No Takedowns

This is very common in BJJ schools that seldom train takedowns. You become accustomed to pulling guard and playing guard from the bottom position, and you might even develop a dangerous guard and triangle game.

However, as months and years go by, your jiu-jitsu game gets further and further out of balance. You are a purple belt in spider guard and deep half guard sweeps, but wouldn’t know the difference between a double leg takedown and a double cheese burger!

What if your opponent is unwilling to go to the ground voluntarily? Heaven forbid you need to use your jiu-jitsu outside of the academy! What if your opponent pulls guard on you?

As MMA developed and evolved from the early days of fighters coming from a single martial arts style, we saw the dominance of BJJ fighters diminish. Sport jiu-jitsu champions who did not have takedowns at the same level as their ground game due to sports BJJ rules found themselves in MMA fights where they were unable to get the fight to the ground.

I asked an old school black belt what the legendary trainer Carlson Gracie Sr. would have thought of a BJJ guy with no takedowns and a weak top game?

“This is not a complete fighter!” he replied simply.

What is the weakness in your own BJJ? What are you doing to correct it?


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