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Complementing Your Jiu-Jitsu

I have been to a lot of Jiu-Jitsu schools in my day and most of them stick to the same format. You hit your jiu-jitsu warm-up and then you go to the ground and start learning about the wonderful art of jiu-jitsu. We learn transitions, submissions, and escapes. But for me, it always came back to the one question that has to be answered. How do we get them to the ground to do this awesome martial art? Most curriculums in jiu-jitsu do not cover down on advanced takedowns and throws. I find that most instructors stick to the basic throws in the self-defense side which include the hip toss (O Goshi), double leg (Morote Gari), and the single-leg (Kuchiki taoshi) or at least variations of these throws or takedowns.

I was blessed early on in my training to train with one guy that was able to put everything together from his years of training in several martial arts that made the transitions between the arts flawlessly seamless. Jeff Jimmo, who runs Gym-O, a training facility in Gastonia, NC, is an absolute fighting guru. He can take a striking technique and use it to set up wrestling and when you work to defend the technique he hits you with some jiu-jitsu or judo. This opened my teaching style to trying to mimic what he is doing. There is a reason that Jeff trains some of the world’s best fighters today. You can go down on any given day and you will find the likes of Chris Weidman, Ricky Rainey, Chase Gamble, and the list goes on. It is a smorgasbord of the best fighters North Carolina has to offer to developing the most complete fighters.

With Judo in mind, you want to improve your jiu-jitsu to compete in competitions around your local area. Judo is the ying to Jiu-Jitsu’s yang. When you start a Jiu-Jitsu match you have to remember that all fights start in the standup position, which is where the points begin in taking down your opponent. I like to think of a perfectly executed Judo throw as a knockout punch. Even when you land on mats it hurts. It can take all the fight out of your opponent. This is an awesome tactic, right? Well, let’s say he does not collapse from a separated rib or getting the wind knocked out of him but now you are on top of your opponent and that is where we want to be in a fight. Having an awesome guard is great but if I had to use Jiu-Jitsu in a street fight I want to be on top where the dominant position is located.

I am ranked in Judo under Eric Jordan. He is an MMA fighter that is a black belt in both Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. He made me start training Judo after I had the pleasure of getting rolled up by him. We would start standing and as I am getting thrown through the air and hitting the ground he is already catching me in a submission. It is like I tell my students, make jiu-jitsu uncomfortable so they are not thinking about the submission. Distract them with X and hit them with Y. When I say he made me start training I do not mean he said do this or I’ll kick your ass. I mean it as, I could not train Judo after being swallowed up by him and could not do a damn thing about it. So now how do I run my Jiu-Jitsu program? We start with a series of throws or takedowns that immediately go into a ground technique. Also, I tell my students all the time, what is the point of learning Jiu-Jitsu if you cannot get your opponent to the ground. I have seen even at the higher level at competitions people avoiding the initial hand fighting for grips and drop to their butt. Do not get caught up in that game because you make your stand-up game weak. If your opponent does drop and you must engage, make them pay for forcing you to lose out on your takedown points and smash them from the top. Trust me, you do not want to be that guy that has to use your Jiu-Jitsu for self-defense and when you drop to your butt in a street fight you get an old-school pride-style soccer kick or head stomp straight to your dome.

In closing, if you have a judo program at your academy or even a wrestling program, go check it out. It is the best thing you could do to complement your Jiu-Jitsu game and you can thank me for it later.

Stache Actual out.

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