Thursday, February 2, 2012

Four Techniques That You Should Reconsider

Matt over at is a jiu-jitsu nerd.  That is not an insult by any means.  Anyone who blogs about jiu-jitsu is likely a jiu-jitsu nerd, and anyone who reads jiu-jitsu blogs is likely a jiu-jitsu nerd as well.  There's plenty of nerding out going on this sport, and it often yields interesting insights.  Matt's latest obsession has been an analysis of any major competition DVD that he can get his hands on.  He takes notes on each match, which at the black belt level can be horrifically boring, and tallies successfully executed techniques.  Currently, he's working his way through the 2009 ADCC, but he completed annotating the 2004 Mundials not too long ago, and the data reveals some notable trends.  Click these links for the quick and dirty summary of the takedownssweeps, submissions, and guard passes that fighters landed in the 2004 Mundials.

Based on Matt's notes, there are four techniques that you should think more about when structuring your training.

1. Single leg takedowns.  I wrote previously about how writing Marcelo Garcia's latest book made me see the potential and versatility of the single leg takedown.  While the double leg takedown for most grapplers would constitute the most "basic" takedown, the single leg is more common because it easier to latch on to a one leg (rather than two) in a scramble, whether you are starting standing, on the ground, or even transitioning out of a double leg.  If you delve more deeply into Matt's notes, you will see that a lot of single leg takedowns actually begin from the guard, with one fighter standing up and taking his opponent's leg with him, which is one of Marcelo's favorite entries into the single leg as well.  Consider incorporating the single leg takedown into your game if you have not already.

2. The toe hold.  In my experience, the toe hold is not a commonly taught attack, at least in the more traditional jiu-jitsu schools, yet Matt's notes and the accompanying footage reveals a surprising number of fighters looking to secure a toe hold when they begin to lose control of a leg spaghetti scramble.  Armbars, triangles, and chokes from the back still seem to be the most common submissions, but toe holds occurred frequently enough that you should consider refining your toe hold attacks and toe hold escapes.

3. The double under pass.  In the 2004 Mundial footage, not a single fighter completed a double under pass (or what you may call a stack pass).  This is not to say that the double under pass is an inferior technique--such an analysis is a bit beyond the scope of Matt's annotations and well beyond my limited expertise--but it does reveal two things: high level black belts are really good at stalling and defending a double under pass attempt, and if you prefer the double under pass, you should consider drilling a bailout plan that ends in a cross knee pass or an over-under pass (the two most common guard passes in the 2004 Mundials).

4. The scissor sweep.  No fighter successfully executed a scissor sweep in the 2004 Mundials.  Again, this is not to say that the scissor sweep is inferior, but it definitely has me rethinking my scissor sweep game plan.  Matt notes that the most successful sweeps are actually combinations of two or more sweeps where the fighter is able to quickly switch directions.  Marcelo is another great example of this: when he attempts a butterfly sweep, he frequently uses the hook to quickly switch the direction of the sweep as his opponent defends.  The scissor sweep does not lend itself easily to a quick directional change, which might explain its absence.

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