Advice From A Champion
Posted: April 19, 2017
I was reading through the new issue of Gracie Magazine and found a short article where Roger Gracie explains how he became so much better at bjj than everyone else. For those of you who do not know who Roger Gracie is I’ll tell you a bit about him so you understand why you should listen to anything he has to say about training and progressing in bjj. He has 15 world championship medals with 10 of those medals being 1st place. He is also the only competitor to win the Absolute Black Belt division at the Worlds 3x. To top that off he won his division at the 2005 ADCC submission grappling tournament submitting all 8 of his opponents-a feat that had not been previously achieved. To top it off Roger won the 2009 Mundials (Brazilian for World Championships) super heavyweight and absolute divisions by submitting every one of his opponents from mount with a simple cross choke. Most of the top bjj competitors consider Roger to be one of the, if not the, best bjj competitor of all time.
Now that we have introductions out of the way we will dive back into the main point of this article:
The first thing Roger spoke about was the importance of defense and watching how your opponent uses his defense. If you watch any of Rogers matches you will see he can escape any position making him impossible to submit (Although Roger has a few losses in tournaments he has never been submitted in a BJJ competition). He also explains that whenever he competes or spars he pays particular attention to his opponents defense against his attacks. If his opponent effectively uses a move to stop his attacks repeatedly he takes note of that technique and will incorporate it into his own bjj game. This is a really interesting concept in bjj since most of us do not think in this way. Most of the time when a competitor finds their attack is not working they quickly decide that the move does not work at a high level of competition or completely focus on figuring out another attack. If you could instead focus on what your opponent was doing to block your attack you could start using it in your own game and become instantly better than you were. If all of us focused in this way we would learn a lot quicker and have a much better understanding of jiu jitsu. Roger also does this with his opponents attacks. Every time his opponent manages to break through his defense he tries to take note of the move his opponent did. He will then incorporate that attack into his game increasing his repertoire. This is also the exact opposite of how most of us train. In general when an opponent breaks through our defense we focus 100% on trying to figure out how to make our defense better rather than trying to learn the technique used to defeat our defense. I am by no means saying you should not try to increase your defense but I am saying you should try to learn the attack used against you while trying to increase your defense so you can kill two birds with one stone and learn quicker.