Whatever skill level you are today

Whatever skill level you are today will be 70% a reflection of your training behavior over the previous five years and 30% a reflection of the previous three months. Failure to apply yourself well in either category can have serious ramifications for your performance here and now.

Want to learn to deal with scary situations?

Want to learn to deal with scary situations? Put yourself there often until it feels at home.

What opportunities do you see in this moment?

What opportunities do you see in this moment? Could act upon them in the time available? In any neutral situation in Jiu jitsu both athletes have opportunities for advancement or even outright victory. The first step is visual/mental. You have to SEE and IDENTIFY an opportunity before it becomes possible for you to go to the next step which is physical/skill based, that is to ACT upon that vision with sufficient prowess to get the job done. Every physical action begins as a recognition in the mind. It’s no good recognizing the opportunities but being to slow or unwilling to pull the trigger and take the physical action required to make it happen. Developing both aspects is crucial. Skill without vision will never be utilized. Vision without skill will achieve nothing. Train yourself to see opportunities and act on them and you will be on the way to superior performance.

When the pressure is on

When the pressure is on: How many moves do you REALLY know? We all think we have a good idea of the size of our skill set. In truth however, the only time you find out is when you play under pressure. ONLY THE MOVES YOU WILL USE WITHOUT HESITATION IN THE BIGGEST MATCH OF YOUR LIFE ARE YOUR TRULY KNOWN BY YOU - everything else can be considered only as moves you are familiar with, but not truly known. Your job is to slowly build upon that small set in two ways. First, refining still further the moves already there. Second, adding a few new ones every year to a level where you would pull the trigger with them without hesitation in a high pressure match against your toughest rivals with everything on the line. In championship training this is the acid test to see how big your skill set really is.

The power of escape

The power of escape: When we think of powerful moves in Jiu jitsu you typically picture a slamming takedown or a bone crunching submission hold, or perhaps an immovable pin or unstoppable pass. We don’t typically think of escapes as demonstration of power - but they are - in a different way. Those typical power moves, hard takedowns, crushing submissions etc are all demonstrations of power over the opponents BODY. Escapes exert their power on an opponents MIND. Imagine working hard to take an opponent down, pass his hard and get to your favorite finishing position and then have an opponent repeatedly escape. Worse still, every time he escapes he immediately counterattacks and almost catches you as you are forced to flee and start all over again. Hard work is tough, but repeated hard work with no forward progress and no prospect of it finishing is hard for the mind to handle. That’s exactly what unstoppable escapes do to an opponents mind in a match. If you can send a clear message to an opponent that he has no means of controlling and finishing you - the longer that match goes the worse he will begin to feel inside. Every escape brings your confidence up and his down. In a long match where points are not a consideration this is a huge factor. There is no lonelier feeling than being fatigued and disheartened by repeated frustration of being close to victory but never able to secure in a match that goes until one of you quits and you now know you have no means of making the other guy quit because he can escape all your best positions without a problem. Here Garry Tonon launches into a strong kipping escape out of mount, about to be followed by a devastating heel hook follow up. There is a reason why he attacks so fearlessly and without abandon in his matches - because he fully believes in his ability to get out of any hold should his attack misfire in any way. The power of Escapes is thus not over the body but over your mind and your opponents mind - now THAT’S real power

Getting out of trouble - and putting the other guy into trouble

Getting out of trouble - and putting the other guy into trouble: If there is one skill in Jiu jitsu that NEVER goes out of style it would be getting out of bad position. I don’t care how talented an athlete is - we all make mistakes and at some time we all find ourselves fighting for survival out of pins. My approach to pin escapes is a little different from most. I train my students to work in two phases. First the escape itself - then to develop a sensitivity to when the danger is past and then AN IMMEDIATE AND AGGRESSIVE COUNTERATTACK THAT FEEDS OFF YOUR OPPONENTS DESIRE TO REGAIN THE PIN. This takes the humble art of defense into the devastating art of counterattack. Most athletes are satisfied with just getting. I teach to go the extra distance AND FINISH EVERY ESCAPE WITH SUBMISSION COUNTERATTACK WHENEVER POSSIBLE - and in MANY cases it is possible. Take this approach and you’ll soon find that your submission percentages double. Tomorrow I will release my NEW WAVE JIU JITSU escapes into counterattacks instructional video and showcase this attacking philosophy into your defense.

Working the sidelines

Working the sidelines: The best place to train in the room is of course, out on the mat. However, life has a way of taking us off the mat, injury for example. When this happens the next best place is the sideline - training your mind. When most people sit on the sideline and watch it’s for the purpose of ENTERTAINMENT. That’s fine, but you can do much better than that - watch for the purpose of gaining KNOWLEDGE. When you watch, imagine yourself as one of the people on the mat. Try to give better responses to the second by second action than the person you observe. What is he doing? What would you do better? Why is your recommended course of action better than his? Done this way you become an active MENTAL participant in their PHYSICAL struggle. Doing this will make your mental game very sharp and make the task of coming back to the physical game much easier

The ultimate submission

The ultimate submission: We all have our favorite submission holds - in time I hope you develop at least five to six submissions that you can attack from anywhere on anyone - but never lose sight of a fundamental truth in grappling - the ultimate submission is not a hold per se - it is FATIGUE. If you can PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY BREAK an opponent with fatigue he will submit with his MIND first and then with his BODY second. A big part of your skill set has to be the skill of WEARING DOWN AND EXHAUSTING AN OPPONENT SO THAT ALL THE SUBMISSION HOLDS ARE EASY TO APPLY AND TO WHICH AN OPPONENT WILL GLADLY SURRENDER. There are ways to control and manipulate grips, stance and pace that are heavily in your favor so that an opponent is working at two or three times the rate you are. If you can maintain this the result is inevitable - an opponent who is looking for an excuse to quit - your submission hold provides that excuse. When you put hands on an opponent your constant underlying goal should be to create a disparity in work rate skewed in your favor that opens the door to submission later in the match.

Taking yourself to a new level

Taking yourself to a new level - front headlocks and the example of Craig Jones: At any given time our game is certain level. This can change a little week by week depending upon training conditions and the state of our body, but there is a rough level that can be roughly measured by your skill set/knowledge and how you stack up against other athletes in sparring/competition. Once you can to a level that you find satisfactory it’s natural to take stock of yourself and see yourself as having a certain type of game. Both you and Your classmates have a good idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are. You see yourself as being good at moves A,B and C but not very interested in E and F. You take that skill set of yours and refine it a little and that’s you. You can do pretty well with this approach - but you will never reach your potential. You have to periodically set projects to add whole new aspects to your game. This is the only way to avoid stagnation over time. Take the example of Craig Jones. Early in his career he was known primarily for his triangle attacks. When he came to America to compete in EBI events he realized he had to excel in the leg lock game. He took that project on with such gusto that he became known as one of the best in the world. Not satisfied, he went on to develop a very powerful back attack in response to opponents who ran from the pressure of his leg game. Watching his development a few years ago i talked with him about the need to develop a powerful front headlock/Guillotine game as a counter to opponents who did not want to engage his dangerous submissions game or who were faster than him in a scramble. Immediately he took the project on. Within a short time he was developing lethal variations of Guillotines, anacondas and Darce strangles. Then tying these back to his already formidable back game and leg game. Now he has one of the best front headlock games I’ve ever seen! THIS is how you keep developing. NEVER SEE YOURSELF AS A COMPLETED PROJECT. Rather than cover up and hide your weaknesses - train them to become your new strengths and ally them to your old strengths.

Identify the problem

Identify the problem: Every submission hold has an escape. Every escape involves a set of movements - but invariably there is ONE movement that does the majority of the work of escape. For example in upper body submission holds from guard involving your legs such as triangle, juji gatame arm bar, omoplata etc - most of the early escapes are postural escapes involving your opponents HEAD rising away from you to create distance and this is the core of the escape/defense overall. Once you understand this as the athlete trying to perform the submission it’s all a matter of building increasingly powerful HEAD CONTROL as the basis of your submission game from guard. Focus upon the most pressing problem pays big dividends in Jiu jitsu. In a word of ten thousand problems learning to focus on the biggest ones first makes a big difference to your performance. Under stress it’s much easier to solve one bigger problem than a dozen smaller ones simultaneously. Develop a clear idea of what the biggest threat to your success is and attack that threat relentlessly - you will soon notice the difference in your performance