What I call Junk-Jitsu ????????
Playing the game of transitions and concepts you will find different sweeps that will resemble sweeps you have drilled. This is something I picked up watching Cobrinha and may have hit years ago. After being asked what to do from De La Riva, I poked around and a variation of the @cobrinhacharles sweep shook out. Was it perfect? No, but in Junk-Jitsu usually you only need 3/5 of the concepts to make something viable. If its shutdown you have another track to transition into, like inside X or single x. Getting your opponent moving and defending your attacks sets up this 80/20 concept that seems to carry over across all things, as well I believe also with Jiu-jitsu. This doesn’t mean to not drill to get everything done correctly and efficiently but be open to taking the opportunity when opportunity presents itself.
During the holiday season and the approach of the New Year, I am one of those people who tend to
become introspective. Just like in my Jiu-Jitsu classes, I make honest assessments, but at the moment
I’m focused on what I am doing, how I am instructing, and how I might can deliver something better
than the norm. I thought I’d share my teaching philosophy and my plans.
I spend a lot of time with my students and athletes. Of course, I am often teaching so this is not
surprising. But to a larger extent, it is because I am very invested in their success. I have been lucky
enough to have inherited very intelligent and talented students that are passionate and strive to be their
very best version of themselves. They study when they are not training. They bring so many different
styles, games and questions and I am tasked with studying their games so they can improve. Now at
times this can be a daunting task (unless you are on my team, you can’t really appreciate the skill level
and hunger for learning so many of my students have). Their passion for BJJ is exactly what drives me
and keeps me studying.
I have been to my share of unexceptional classes in early days of training where I didn’t learn much
more than what my own roll and study taught me, but if I learned just one new applicable detail, for me,
it was world-shaking. I want that feeling for my students, not just once in a while, but all the time! How
amazing would that be!
I do not slavishly follow the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class model in all classes. In my higher level classes, I have
replaced the warm-ups with drilling because that not only warms students up, but forces them to start
thinking immediately. Sometimes the drilling is specific and sometimes I let my students explore
positions and techniques that they have been working on or mulling over. My class time is too valuable
to lose 15 minutes to running and rolls. I can institute this in my basic class where this is still valuable
I teach from my own training experience, but I know there is no absolute in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, instead
there is efficient and less efficient, as well as risk vs reward. I know once you know the rules we can
bend them. I teach my students something I termed “Junk Jiu-Jitsu”* – see below. I recently discussed
“Junk Jiu-Jitsu” with Keenan Cornelius and he confirmed my rationale. This applies to situations where
you need most of the principles covered in order to attempt it, but not all. As long as you have the concept of the techniques moving parts in play you can find success. Kazushi when describing a failed Junk Sweep or Pass that leads to an opportunity I like to borrow the Judo term Kazushi which the act of unbalancing an opponent in the Japanese martial arts, In my term it is to get a sweep or pass started or the ball rolling on another attempt.
I teach from my continuous study of the best in the world. Every event an extraordinary player seems to
have success with something maybe they hadn’t implemented before but is now hitting it against every
high level opponent. For example, Meregalli’s Deep De La X kickstand sweep or Leandro Lo’s Leg wrap
Tomoe Nage sweep. I also study my students and look into their games and try to find the best possible
route to make their game successful. Figuring positions out is truly what I love and truly what I believe is
my talent. I absolutely know how to make your pass 10% more effective or teach you a detail to add
when you encounter an obstacle to your sweep or submission.
I encourage my students to think and I want to know what they think. When I was back working at
American Top Team Headquarters and would visualize my future academy, I would envision it as a
university, not a sensei says is the law-of-the-land and shall never to be questioned kind of place. I truly
welcome questions. I always hated what I called Kool-Aid academies (drinking the Kool-Aid, Google it)
and have no respect for a “Boys' Club” Jiu Jitsu. If that’s what some desire, fine, but there cannot be true
growth in these establishments. I believe that you become like those associate with – for better or for
I am grateful for what my instructor, Master Ricardo Liborio, did for me and a few lucky others, and
determined I would attempt it on a grander scale. I would make the “Liboratory”
(Liborio instructing us and exploring through positions and finding our game and fixing and fine detailing
it) into an actual class. Of course, with any grand new vision there are bumps to work out, but I believe I
have come far in achieving it. Now, I don’t settle. So in 2017, I plan on putting in a lot more work on
how a class functions and how the students’ games are overall effected by each slight modification.
Make no mistake in Charleston, South Carolina we are operating on an Ivy League University level of BJJ.
My students come to me with questions that challenge me. When they question my reasoning on a
position it is well-thought out and the questioning has extreme merit. My students’ skill level is beyond
what I could ask for and not a Kool-Aid in anyone’s hand, yet they desire more which is extremely
gratifying. The great artist Michelangelo is quoted saying "Lord, grant that I may always desire more
than I can accomplish." I have students with this mentality. And the students I spend a great deal of time
with fine tuning and answering questions are in-turn helping the lower belts fine tune their skills. It is
Is there more to aspire to? For sure. This is why in 2017, I will be introducing something called "The
Lab.” Many hours of planning have already been put into creating this. I believe when ready to reveal
and I have a solid set of lessons for of "The Lab" the vision for my students will be a few steps closer.
I will always believe that with hard work that nothing is impossible. I have learned that every hour of
focused effort takes us closer to mastery – mistakes included. I have learned from every miscalculation I
have ever made. Every mistake takes us closer to mastery. But then it us up to us to define what
mastery is to ourselves so it is an intangible and we are lucky it is.
Strive forth. OSS
*”JUNK JIU JITSU” IS A PHRASE I CREATED. It covers those techniques that while based off of essential concepts and principles are not generally practiced in training. Applying “Junk Jiu Jitsu” requires knowing the fundamental principles and concepts stone cold, but not being rigid in your application. “Junk Jiu Jitsu” takes flexible innovation.