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How to build a great Jiu Jitsu fighter?

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by Matt Thornton, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. Matt Thornton

    Matt Thornton Amateur Fighter

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    Hey guys -

    So last night I was talking to a kid on my wrestling team, Jigar. Jigar came to the U.S. from India about 2 or 3 years ago, and I don't think he spoke a word of English before he came. He's also really small; he says he's 119 now but I remember him barely making it to 100 pounds. Now, one reason I hate high school is because kids in Jigar's situation get made fun of. Not always up front and clearly (though it does happen), but even just mocking him without him knowing about it.

    Jigar is a really nice kid, but skinny as a wire, not strong at all, and pretty unathletic. Wrestling is really not his sport. Still, he comes every day, and shows dedication.

    So last night I was thinking about getting him on the mats for some grappling. The more I thought about it, the more Jiu Jitsu with a gi sounded like the perfect sport for him. After all, I've gotten my ass handed to me by smaller people with no wrestling experience because they had more skill than me, and this was with no gi.

    I showed Jigar a copy of Grappling Magazine and showed him some pictures of JJ with a gi. I explained BJJ to him and MMA, and asked him if he'd be interested. He said yeah, he would, and he's coming to my MMA gym with me on Sunday.

    I want to get this kid lifting some weights, and doing some BJJ. Even if he decides to keep wrestling after he realizes BJJ is a better sport for him, the strength and grappling will boost his confidence for wrestling. High school wrestling can be a really shitty environment, and extremely unforgiving. The smaller, weaker kids get picked on, and the cocky assholes are the ones who get all the praise. I've always loved BJJ and MMA because people are more mature and you can make really good friends.

    I would love to see him get into Dragon Lair, NAGA, maybe some day Pan Ams. You can tell he wants to be an athlete. He gets picked on a lot, too. BJJ is so perfect for this kid.

    Anyone have any tips so I can help Jigar out with BJJ? What should I teach him first?

    Oh, P.S.: I hope BJJ guys here didn't take offense from this at all. I'm not saying wrestlers are athletic and BJJ guys aren't. I'm just saying wrestling relies more on strength and natural athleticism, but while these things help in BJJ, it's truly skill and dedication that makes you a great fighter.
     
  2. sakufan

    sakufan Purple Belt

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    Get him to fall in love with it. The rest will take care of themselves.
     
  3. deadlyshaolin

    deadlyshaolin euphoria

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    You are a good man, Iceman. Jigar's lucky to have a friend like you.

    I'd recommend starting with basic drills (e.g. shrimping), then work on escaping from the bottom as the initial step.
     
  4. Joey Guidice

    Joey Guidice Green Belt Professional Fighter

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    yea basics, escaping from bottom, opening the guard, mabey a basic armlock or something
     
  5. Jiu-Jitsu Cop

    Jiu-Jitsu Cop Green Belt

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    I agree with everyone start with the basics and the kid will love it. Although I am all about no gi fighting, I think in this case the gi fighting might be better for him. The BJJ way of fighting is all about technique and not strenght. He can use the gi to his advantage. I hope he does well and learns to love the sport.
     
  6. Soulfly

    Soulfly Guest

    Thats really nice of you, Iceman. I was in his same position when I was in high school... It sucked.

    Is there anyone else at your club around his weight level? If not, then I'd show him mostly guard work (after the basics of shrimping, etc.) Go over some sweeps, maybe the triangle choke, and the standard armbar from guard. Also show him that some wrestling moves (ala sit out, power 1/2 nelson, etc) are applicable to grappling and can help the "little guy" when he faces larger opponents.
     
  7. Placebo_

    Placebo_ Yellow Belt

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    Completely focus on the basics for now. Once he masters them everything else will come easy. Make sure that he is eating correctly along with the exercise.
     
  8. LCDforMe

    LCDforMe Purple Belt

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    There needs to be more people out there like you...

    Anyway, just bring him to the gym and work the basics like everybody says. If he likes it, he'll like it and take it as far as he can.
     
  9. Matt Thornton

    Matt Thornton Amateur Fighter

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    Thanks for all the replies guys. Keep em coming if you can, I want Jigar's experience with BJJ to be the best possible.

    And thanks for the kind words. I really hate seeing smaller kids getting picked on, even though I've never been the smaller kid. I watched Jigar get pinned by a girl in his first home wrestling match and get ridiculed in the locker room. First off, the girl was definitely bigger than him, but he's totally new to the sport, is not stong at all, and was outclassed. What is that supposed to accomplish by making fun of him? I think wrestling is a great thing to have but there's so much negativity surrounding it.

    I truly believe the martial arts are for everyone, even (and especially) if they don't like fighting. I was an absolute nerd when I was younger, I was overweight, was not the least bit athletic, and I hated football players. Then I picked up martial arts and wrestling when I was around 12, and in my transition from TMAs to RBSD to MMA, I have completely transformed. I get (good) remarks from girls all the time about my body, I'm known as a "cardio machine" in my gym, and I always have confidence in myself. I owe it totally and completely to martial arts, especially MMA, where I can actually see my hard work reap benefits.

    I see kids like Jigar, who although they're not saying it, and may not even know it, they're begging for something like that. I don't care who you are, NOBODY deserves to be walked all over and disrespected. When you can't stand up for yourself, and you have to endure being ridiculed and disrespected, you need something to change that.

    I just have a gut feeling about this. I just want to get him to the point where he gets his first ever submission while rolling. I have no doubt he'll be hooked after he sees what he's capable of.

    Also, to the person who agreed with me about the gi, I thought gi would be perfect for that exact reason: it takes even less strength. My first ever time rolling with a gi (I'm a wrestler and no gi grappler when it comes to ground fighting), I got absolutely destroyed. One of the people who beat me was my gym's owner's girlfriend, who's a blue belt. She's much smaller than me, at least 30 pounds lighter, but as soon as the gi went on, we were pretty much even. I found that things I could usually apply with speed and strength were not working; guard passing was much harder, and I was constantly defending collar chokes.

    I'm going to help him put together a solid weight training program outside of BJJ training. I would really love to see him a year or so from Sunday with a blue belt, 25 more pounds of muscle, and a grin on his face. And then I'd like to see how he reacts to people trying to step all over him.
     
  10. Matt Thornton

    Matt Thornton Amateur Fighter

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    I'm thinking of renting JJ Machado's "Heart of a Champion" and the Gracie Jiu Jitsu in action DVDs to sort of introduce him to the world of BJJ.

    I'm a firm believer in showing people what they WILL learn before showing them the basics. For example, demonstrating a flying triangle choke or a rolling kneebar before teaching shrimping. You could spend a half hour correcting someone's shrimping technique, but if they don't know why they're even doing it in the first place, they'll lose interest fast. So I want to show him a video or something of BJJ in action, and tell him he can do this, but he'll have to learn the basics first.

    Here's my first lesson plan for him. Keep in mind I'm a complete beginner to gi grappling, so I'm just going to show him the basics.


    -Warm up with some light running and Bas Rutten's "Japanese Warm Ups"
    -Stretch
    -Teach the basic positions of guard, mount, sidemount, and back mount; teach him how to escape these positions, but don't spend too much time refining it
    -Collar choke; I figure this is a good one to do since it can be applied almost all the time
    -Rear naked choke
    -Guillotine
    -Extremely light rolling, let him get the submissions and escape the positions to boost his confidence
    -Let him watch rolling between me and other people, or if he wants, have him keep drilling what he learned

    I think chokes are best suited for him right now, especially since I have 35 pounds on him. That way he can see that even when he's outweighed by a bigger, more athletic guy, it's still possible to beat him. Chokes take pretty much the least strength to use.
     
  11. lethalweapon

    lethalweapon Blue Belt

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    Right on,
    Nice job Iceman!
    It's awesome you're putting out all this effort for him.

    Just make sure HE's into it and likes it, rather then him doing this
    to please you and keep you as a friend -does that make any sense?
    It's like, if for whatever reason, you're not around anymore, will he
    continue his bjj training?

    Regardless, it's a kind gesture helping another human being out:)
     
  12. aircal

    aircal White Belt

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    Iceman your in highscool still? You really show alot of maturity for someone your age - congrats.

    Im a small guy too and what really got me hooked is the first i pulled of a sub rolling against someone significantly larger than me. Make sure you keep your friend going to Bjj/subwrestling until that point no matter how much he gets his ass kicked at first.
     
  13. Matt Thornton

    Matt Thornton Amateur Fighter

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    I know what you mean, I put some thought into that. But it seems like he'd be interested in it for a couple of reasons:

    -This is his second year of signing up for wrestling, his own decision, but he didn't start wrestling until halfway through this year. He ended up working as a manager; just following the team and doing all the chores.

    -Because he keeps coming back, it seems like he wants to be part of this, but he's not totally into the sport of wrestling itself. It seems like it's more the idea of combat sports in general that catches his attention.

    -He has very little self confidence, and people know he won't stand up for himself, so they push him around.


    Enter BJJ. A combat sport for the thinking man/woman that, for the most part, negates size and strength and favors training, dedication, and intelligence. The only martial art proven to enable a smaller, weaker man to defeat larger, stronger opponents, both trained and untrained. A martial art that allows you to use it at full speed and power at the end of every class, so you get to apply the techniques constantly, which is both fun and boosts confidence every time you get a submission.

    That's why I think it's perfect for him. But thanks for the concern, now that I think of it, I'll make sure to let him know there's no pressure from me to do it, I just wanted to make the offer.
     
  14. NeelyWCU

    NeelyWCU Brown Belt

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    also...break down the positions first off...explain to him what the hell shrimping is, because when i was brand new i got jumped into that, and i thought about quitting because it didnt make sense to me and i felt like a retard floppin around the mat like that...little did i know what it was actually for and how important hip movement is


    I know positioning is the most important aspect for beginners...but it wouldnt hurt to show him all the submissions just at a glance so he may then be like "i want to learn this stuff"
     
  15. Soid

    Soid Renegade of Funk

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    Good shit man.
     
  16. Matt Thornton

    Matt Thornton Amateur Fighter

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    Ahh see? So I am right! If you read my post right before yours, I talked about this exact topic. Drilling someone with bare basics before showing them the cool stuff.

    Shrimping and drilling can come once you have a desire to learn and progress in the art. You can't start someone off with footwork and shrimping.
     
  17. Jimmy Cerra

    Jimmy Cerra Amateur Fighter

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    You are a good man. I was also like Jigar a little in high school until I walked on the wrestling team. You and he should consider weight training in the off season as well as BJJ. Once he is hooked he'll be a beast.
     
  18. Xiandi

    Xiandi Banned Banned

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    If you want to get him really interested show him some clips from BJJ tournaments in the absolutes where smaller guys beat the crap out of bigger guys.

    For myself, BJJ was godsend. I'm 6'1" and played basketball alot, and football too as a wide receiver, but I was really to small and weighed too little. I often got made fun of for that, I think I was around 140 (O_O) lbs for much of the last three years. When I started BJJ in July I weighed around 150 lbs, but I loved it so much I finally wanted to put in the work and dedication to get good and in shape. When I wasnt with my friends I was rolling in jiujitsu or working with a friend who's training to be a powerlifting coach. Now, after this half year or so, I'm 180 lbs but with the same bodyfat percentage and waist size I had when I was 150, and I love BJJ more than ever. And I've seen the effects it had on a friend of mine who was 220 lbs before he started BJJ and then dropped to and maintains 185 since starting BJJ.

    It's like one of my jiujitsu teachers said, "You need to be a little weird to do Jiujitsu but it changes lives. Shit, look at me man, I make a living choking people."

    Good luck with your friend, I'm sure with the right encouragement and if he starts taking pleasure in submitting people, he'll be on the top of the game in no time. It's really the best sport I can think of and I think it's wonderful that you're introducing him to it.
     
  19. aaron_mag

    aaron_mag Purple Belt

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    You're a good man. Just keep encouraging him to stick with it. I remember when I went out for football as a freshman I was clueless. I had never played before. People used to make jokes that I was the unheralded water boy because I never got to play.

    By my senior year I was one of the starters. You just got to get the skills and that doesn't happen unless you stick through adversity.

    On Sherdog there is this attitude of machoness. You've got so many beginners who claim the never fricken tapped in their lives. It is all BS.

    Tell your buddy this: on my first day of Sambo I got rear naked choked by a woman! And I'm not a small guy. I'm around 200 pounds and have been competing in athletics all my life. I'm a fricken black belt in a TMA (yes, everyone chuckle laugh and ridicule). No one can expect to know anything about something they have never done before. If he sticks with it he'll be the one pinning other people.
     
  20. Sherdog_Mutt

    Sherdog_Mutt Purple Belt

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    It's refreshing to see this much maturity from someone your age on these boards. Always remember that your maturity, discipline, and kindness towards others will guarantee you success in the future.

    Good luck with the situation with your friend. My only advice to add is to make sure that, no matter what Jigar chooses to do, he has fun doing it.
     

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