Good end to the week and a new Brown Belt!

Finished the week working on open guard -working on some x guard options.

Also big congratulations to Ruben on his much deserved Brown Belt!


Defence and Escape Considerations…

We spent the last two weeks focusing on defending and escaping from bad positions- namely mount, side and back. At a MINIMUM you need one solid go to escape from each of these and ideally two or even three so that you can cycle between them.

This is probably one of the least popular topics to cover in training and doesn’t seem as exciting as sweeps, passing and submissions but is probably one of the most important. Most of us do a martial art to be able to defend ourselves should the need ever arise and our ability to survive and escape bad positions on the ground is a big factor in this ability.

Also being confident in your defence I believe will add confidence to the rest of your game as you won’t be apprehensive to attack and open up your game, knowing that if you get swept or passed you will defend and get back to a control position.

Give your defence the attention it deserves and try to link it to the rest of your game – for example work escapes to your preferred guard so that you get straight back to your game.

Next week we will do some open guard – butterfly and x-guard.

Game Plan Design Keep It Simple

A few training partners have expressed that they find it difficult to know where to start with regards to putting together their game plan. I am a BIG believer in keeping it simple. It doesn’t have to consist of 100’s of techniques and options for every situation – rather have a solid grasp of a handful of techniques and work the heck out of them and get to the point with them where you start to see entries and opportunities to use them from everywhere. Having less options makes this process much easier as there is less to constantly process while rolling. You will also develop a deep understanding of the concepts of the techniques that will then affect the rest of your game.

“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

-A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes Book 1)


Drilling with limited time 2 – Options

Now that you have decided WHAT to work on it is time to get to work and actually implement it!

Try and keep things simple, we are all very busy and have lots outside of Jiu-Jitsu we are trying to keep track of and manage on a day to day basis. So trying to develop, implement and drill a detailed and complex game plan can just wind up undoable and frustrating.

One option is to keep a basic record of your techniques drilled for at least one month. You can use your phone and make a note in your calendar or use a basic note keeping app. You can also go ‘old school ‘ and get a notebook, put the date, the techniques and how many reps you did. Writing has benefits, you can add sketches of the techniques and it has been shown writing notes can improve retention of information.

WhiskeyWolf has these cool notebooks, that come with a sticky label, in stock, and I find them very useful for recording my own drilling and reflections on what I am working on or feel I need to work on.

If you can stick with this and maintain the discipline for the first month the second and third usually become a little easier as it becomes habit.

Decide how much time you have before or after class, or wether or not you have access to open mat time or even have a few mats at home or work and someone to train with and get started.

Start with something manageable, even if just 10 reps of each at each training session (if you are at class 2-3 x a week that = 40 total reps, 10 of each of your 4 techniques, per session = 80-120 reps per week. If you have the time bump that to 30 of each = 120 total per session and 240 – 360 extra reps a week!).

Encourage a training partner to work on his techniques and you can alternate back and forth for sets of 10 for each of your 4 techniques and get a lot done in a small amount of time.


I notice a big difference in my own game development when I stick with this basic method.

Get started and let me know if you have any questions.

Drilling with limited time – What to work on?

Drilling and developing a game plan is important to help improve your Jiu-jitsu.

But life is busy and many of us have families, relationships, study or work full time jobs. We want to improve and evolve our games but don’t have the luxury of training full time and being professional athletes. As a result we need to carefully analyse our training time and give thought to what we need to work on, consider how much time we have and then plan how to go about implementing a plan for improving.

First- we must determine what do we need to work on?

Escapes, a submission or getting to a dominant position such as taking the back?

Think this over and also consider asking training partners or a coach for feedback. Perhaps use your phone and providing your coach and training partners don’t mind-record your rolling. After training and thinking about these details and reflecting on your game start by deciding on TWO techniques from the top (pass/submission/transition) and TWO from the bottom (sweep/submission/escape) that will fit into your existing game/ the positions you find yourself in commonly.

Don’t go overboard and design a huge elaborate game plan- start with the 2 top and bottom techniques that you can start to implement.

Get started- knowing how to drill and for how long and how much is pointless unless you know WHAT you are going to be working on!

Decide on WHAT and I will put up some suggestions and a basic drilling plan outline tomorrow to help with HOW.

How to improve your techniques

To improve your techniques/positions in jiu-jitsu requires effort both physically and mentally.

Addressing mindset can sometimes be the toughest part as we can sometimes be our own worst critic. The critic that pops up on the mat-usually when you are having a tough time-struggling to pass or defend your guard or getting smashed on the bottom.

The way to deal with this is to work on not only your strong positions but areas you know you are weak in-put time into your weak areas and importantly be aware of your self talk.

Here is a simple formula to improve:

1. Drill the techniques you are working on! Not just in class, try get in some reps before or after. Try get in 750-1000 reps (over a few weeks) and you will notice a difference!

2. Work from the position- either in situation/positional training or by actively seeking the position while rolling.

3. Mentally focus on seeking the position out in training. I will do this on my walk to and from training- I will tell myself I am going to get to the position I want in training and work to hit the position I am working on and think through ways to get it. After training I will trouble shoot the position in my head- what worked and what didn’t and I need to adapt next time on the mat.

Finally work on your mindset- positive self talk is powerful and will help make BIG changes in your game.

“I will pass…I will escape this position…I will hit my sweep/sub…”

I hope this is useful- it definitely helps me in my game development.