One thing I got from Rickson Gracie early on in my career was what I call Amazing Fundamentals. His basics were advanced, so many details and facets to the structure and function of positions that in 21 years I have not seen from very many other teachers. For example Mount Bottom, Cross Body Bottom, Guard Top, 1/2 Guard Top and The Back Taken are staples that any fighter must really know and be able to escape all of them well, EVEN WHEN HE IS EXHAUSTED.
Once you are exhausted you do not escape positions because of force or simply wanting to. You escape because of how you deal with your opponents energy in every movement to establish and keep a gain. Rickson always said “Never Start From Zero”, meaning to say that if you execute an energy or movement from any position there should be a gain no matter how incremental that you do you loose and go back to where you started from.
For example if you are Mount Bottom and you frame and turn your hip and shoulder you should then maintain that. You expended energy to get there so your frame should be good enough to hold yourself turned as you continue to move to the next incremental gain. This teaching is evident in Rickson’s son Kron Gracie who continues to out perform competitors who are considered very high level with excellent fundamentals. In fact there is a video on you tube called “The Curious Case Of Kron Gracie” where you see no fancy X Guard, no Spider Guard, no DeLa Riva or other fancy things but you do see very sound fundamentals that simply DESTROY each opponents game.
From the last 21 years in my own training I too have discovered, developed and refined that both offensively and counter offensive there are certain principles of the body that one must know in order to conduct themselves properly in the fight. Counter Offensively speaking Mount Bottom, Cross Body Bottom, Guard Top, 1/2 Guard Top and the Back Taken are the positions that most talented people finish from. Therefore it is essential that you master how to destroy any offensive game from each of these positions to then escape these positions and hold your own offensive positions from which your opponents cannot escape to then submit them.
This is the mastery of fundamentals which I believe we go into at a far greater depth than I have seen in most schools. Each detail of a fundamental must be mastered with a complete understanding of the proper Jiu-Jitsu principle behind it in order for it to become so sound that no one can defeat it. For example the GUARD TOP. When you are in a master’s guard and he is aggressively, offensively attacking the first thing you must do is establish a posture that is so sound that #1 it does not give him anything while at the same time it kills his hips. You see the hips are the power behind the guard and they are what must be destroyed first if you are going to pass.
So you fight first to kill the hips, if you are pulled forward, taken out of posture whatever you recover to always come back and kill the hips. This really changes the game for anyone who loves the guard, because now they cannot be so offensive, they have to constantly deal with your attack of their hips before then can do anything. If you are dedicated and good at this, then their guard becomes a trap for them. Once you have killed the Hips effectively to where he cannot stop you, then you can mount your own attacks to open his legs, read and feel his legs to execute multiple passes based on his energy.
So for me this is fundamental. I realize that this basic may seem advanced for most BJJ students but I assure you it is worth your time. The students at my sch9ol whom have actually put the time in with me have become amazing at defending and countering the most offensive positions in BJJ. They stop the game of attackers and escape readily, then they evolve to a level where they start to prevent these positions from ever happening. My good students get such a sense of when these positions are about to happen that they are already taking away what their opponent needs to get there and the game changes.
If you too would like to learn a very sound BJJ game come in to Dauntless on Rt.896/301 just over the Summit Bridge in Middletown on Tuesday or Thursday nights at 7:00 PM to try a free Fundamental BJJ class and I know you will be very happy.
– Allen J. Sachetti