Saturday, July 21, 2012

The State of Small Man Jiu-Jitsu

Reality check from Dan Faggella of MicroBJJ
However, as we've seen, there's a big trend in this
direction for the small man BJJ competition game, 
and generally nobody wants top because you're 
over 4 times more likely to be swept than to pass.

(You can read that and pretend its not a big deal
if you want)
and what he calls "Dan's 'One Day This Will Be Famous' Quote":
Neither player wants to take top positions unless it
means he's going to end up on the back or in side
control, so neither player chooses to leave their hip,
and instead fight for very difficult transitions and
otherwise occupy themselves with random leg-lock
 There are a lot of ways of dealing with this if you are part of the under-160 (or, as I like to think of us, the "pound for pound" crowd).  At first I was reluctant to admit that this was the reality of small man jiu-jitsu.  As some one is under 160, but has a very big man jiu-jitsu game based on top control, mount rather than back, and a relatively static approach to transition and attack (more phalanx than Blitzkrieg), I had invested years in a style that had served me well enough.  It was heavy, and it was mine, brother.

But over the past year or so of training against bigger and better challenges, a lot of what brought me here isn't keeping me here.  And no where is this more apparent than in the guard, where length and size have made my customary options incomplete.
I'm not about to start playing the dueling squid game that has made so much under-160 jiu-jitsu almost unwatchable at the highest levels.  But I do need to adopt a more kinetic guard, if only to better deal with the challenges that are increasingly commonplace.  And the source of that kinetic energy has got to come from more dynamic leg work, the kind I'm seeing out of the de la Riva and Reverse de la Riva (both outside and inside grips) guards.  

These "half guards" which similarly focus on isolating one side of the passer are probably what I can benefit most from the contemporary small man jiu-jitsu game.   And even if the de la Riva complex is mostly used as a set-up for the berimbolo - a great transition I'm nonetheless ambivalent about learning - there are still aspects of the position that may help revitalize my work from the bottom.