World Champion Hannette Staack On Your A Game

“Even if the person knew I was good at some position, they still could not defend the move because the technique was applied with perfection.”
– Hannette Staack

Hannette Staack is one of the most successful BJJ competitors of all time, having won eight Mundials and 3 ADCC gold medals.

Hannette runs the Brazil 021 BJJ Academy based in Chicago, USA.

Jiu-jitsu Times: When we talk about having an “A Game” in jiu-jitsu, what does that mean? How does a student identify what should be their A Game? How important is their body type and athleticism in creating their jiu-jitsu game?

Hannette Staack : Of course a more athletic person will have an advantage, but that alone doesn’t mean he will be successful in the competitions.

Hard work always beats talent or athleticism, but if you combine these two elements, it is for sure a great combination and a hard one to beat.

I truly believe BJJ is for everyone, but you can’t expect that an ultra heavyweight practitioner would have the same game as a featherweight practitioner. Everyone is different and learns differently. The most important thing is, first, building a strong and solid foundation.

Not jumping steps is important to develop your own game. A lot of people who don’t have a solid foundation may develop a game with a lot of “holes” in it. They may be good at some things (specific positions), but outside of the positions that they feel mostly comfortable, they will be lost.

In a competition you don’t want to have your opponent take advantage of this and knowing your weakness.

Jiu-jitsu Times: At what experience level should a student be looking to develop their A Game positions?

Blue belt? Purple belt?

Hannette Staack: I don’t think there is a specific belt to start developing your game. It will start as a natural process as you evolve in the sport. With your progress in BJJ, you will start going for some specific techniques and putting yourself in the positions you feel more comfortable playing.

There is no formula. Like I said on my previous answer, each one of us learns and evolves differently. It will depend on your commitment and dedication.

Jiu-jitsu Times: Once a jiujiteiro has selected some positions that they want to specialize in. How would you recommend they start to develop those positions? For example, should they research the positions, ask their instructor, take privates, or watch videos?

Hannette Staack : Private classes are a great way to improve faster, since you have one-on-one attention, but not everyone can afford it. So, I would say asking their instructor first and practicing countless times the technique until it becomes muscle memory.

You are going to be able to apply without even noticing that you are applying. I am not a big video fan for beginners because they tend to watch a lot of videos and it may confuse them.

Jiu-jitsu Times: Can you describe the process and methods behind developing your best positions? From the time you decided that you wanted to get really good at flying armlocks (or whatever position) to achieving a higher level of understanding and ability?

Hannette Staack: The key to perfection is practice. There is no other way to get better.

If you watch a technique today and don’t practice, tomorrow you may still remember, but in a couple of days it will be gone.

For me doing a lot of circuit training with some specific techniques helped me get my game to the next level.

Even if the person knew I was good at some position, they still could not defend the move because the technique was applied with perfection.

I always tell my students about repeating the techniques over and over and even if they already know the move, they might find a detail, something that could make the technique better.

It is all about repetitions. It is all about practicing.

Jiu-jitsu Times: What advice do you have for competitors who want to develop their best positions to prepare for competition? What advice do you give competitors on their strategy in competition?

Hannette Staack: The best advice is practice, practice, and practice. Even if you know the technique, drills are always the best way to improve yourself as a BJJ practitioner and a fighter.

To prepare for a competition you don’t have to watch all your opponents matches. Some people do, but mostly important, drill your moves, the ones are part of your game and of course don’t forget to cover the holes you may have as well.

Try to be a complete BJJ practitioner and and for all the positions you may see yourself in, you will have a counter or an escape.

Be open-minded to keep on learning always. This way, your game will never be outdated.

Hannette Staack
Brazil-021 School of Jiu-Jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt 3rd degree.
Website | hannettestaackbjj | Email


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