What Is Your BJJ Kryptonite?

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Do you have a guy in your BJJ school who you hate to roll with? I don’t mean in the “stinky gi guy” way or the guy who is all knees and elbows and lumps you up.

I’m referring to the training partner who gives you hell on the mat each time you roll. Where before you roll you need a couple of deep breaths to steel yourself for the onslaught on your body and ego that is going to take place in the next five minutes.

I’m talking about the guy who may be roughly equal to your experience level or even a belt level or 2 below you. The guy who should not be much different to roll with than any other opponent with a similar size and level of experience.

But this guy seems to have your number!

There’s a reason for this, and no, it’s not because you suck at jiu-jitsu and need to throw your belt in the trash.

There is something called MMA math.

In the prefight talk, the matchup is analyzed and predictions are made based on the following: Fighter A can beat Fighter B, and Fighter B can beat Fighter C, so Fighter A should easily beat Fighter C, right?

Although that conclusion is perfectly logical, it often falls apart when the cage door closes and the fight starts.

Fighter C may well defeat Fighter A!

Why? Because as the old saying goes, “styles make fights”. The opponent’s strengths may exploit your weaknesses. Their physical attributes (like long arms and legs) may make it difficult to execute your best positions. The game they like to play is foreign to you and you can’t find an answer.

A few training partners come to memory who were lighter guys but really wiry and flexible. I outweighed some of them by 20 kilos.

But no matter how much pressure I applied when I tried to pass or how tight my side mount control was, they seemed to find a hook out of nowhere and start to replace the guard. They were squirming and moving and constantly threatening to take my back.

By contrast, I found the heavier, strong guys easy to deal with. Their energy was straight forward and predictable. I could move around their strong grips and pressure and get to my best positions. These same bigger guys seemed to give a tough time to those squirmy guys, but I couldn’t do it.

Those 150 to 170-pound guys with strength and ability to move their hips are my jiu-jitsu kryptonite.

What style of BJJ game is your kryptonite?


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