I'm questioning Saulo's wisdom

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by JosephDredd, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. JosephDredd

    JosephDredd Gold Belt

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    So I'm a bluebelt who's probably going to get my purple belt soon and I'm starting to think I did blue belt all wrong.

    I followed Saulo's advice and concentrated mainly on keeping myself safe and escaping, which he says in his book should be the goal of white belt and blue belt respectively. He says not to start worrying about guard until purple belt.

    So I've got a functional closed guard, but the moment it's broken I get passed pretty easily. My open guard gets passed easily, too. I've never really bothered to get good at closed guard attacks like armbar, triangle, etc. I know them, I can drill them perfectly, but couldn't really get them to work in sparring and when I got Saulo's book I made a conscious effort to prioritize other things.

    My closed guard is pretty effective against people up to and including some purples. I've even surprised myself against a brown once or twice. Basically my entire closed guard game is to pass their arm across me a la Trumpet Dan and take their back. If that fails I'll go for Saulo's scissor sweep or a flower sweep. If they sit back into posture I'll hip bump or kimura. I do okay against a fair number of people around my skill level in class with my current closed guard game.

    However, now I'm kind of freaking out that I'm about to become a purple belt and I can't hit the basic closed guard techniques (armbar, triangle, kimura, omoplata, guillotine) on blue and even some white belts. I don't know how I'm ever going to develop them rolling against purples.

    In comparison, some other blues have some killer attacks from their guard and you're constantly in danger of armbar, triangle, omoplata, etc.

    Thoughts?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Codger

    Codger Brown Belt

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    I didn't take that belt thing in the book literally myself. You learn what you learn in the classes and that covers everything so it's impossible to follow anyway. I always thought it was a vague guide rather than any kind of absolute instruction to not bother learning certain things until a certain belt.

    But even not following that advice, I also have trouble hitting many guard attacks on good people, so maybe it's not just that book

    Not that it matters because you can't go back in time so all you can do is to stop holding onto your current game and work on those other things for a while.
     
  3. lechien

    lechien Gold Belt

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    Yeah. I read the book and did not really understand why he wrote it that way.,

    You have 3 games.

    Against lower bets and/or smaller training partners.
    Try your new moves. Worst case scenario you fail and you can easily recompose.
    Or just put yourselves in bad spot and see from there.
    Against same level, bring your A game and see how you fare.
    Against higher level, well just bring your a game and survive.
     
  4. DrJitsu

    DrJitsu Orange Belt

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    I second this. I'm a fresh blue and have fallen into this mentality. It's served me well so far.
     
  5. Headkicktoleg

    Headkicktoleg Yellow Card Yellow Card

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    I think he is talking more about what you should be proficient in rather than only focusing on those things. For example a blue belt should at least be able to know escapes from side control that he can try against people of all belt. He won't necessarily get them, but at least know them and try them.
     
  6. The Polish Pounder

    The Polish Pounder Excellence of execution belt Platinum Member

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    I'm pretty sure he says in the book that isn't even how he teaches in his own academy and it's just a general rule for how that person would be spending their time in a fight with someone of a higher belts. IE whites need to survive cuz everyone on the mats are better than them so they are in bad positions a lot. Blues are escaping because they've learned to survive vs. the higher belt and so on.
     
  7. Irenaeus

    Irenaeus Black Belt

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    Between the WR posts, you training BJJ, and referencing 2000AD and Arrested Development, I'm going to have to conclude that I think you're a cool guy.

    I've never bought into Saulo's stuff myself. I love the book and the techniques, but the belt-division of the curriculum seemed kind of weird to me from the get go. I don't have a solution for you, but you just have to keep developing, don't you? You can't go back to fix things anyway.

    I'm sure we all have stuff we'd take back when regards to what we've focused on in training. One of my trainers started without an instructor way back when and dedicated a few years to developing his turtle. He regards this as mostly wasted time nowadays.
     
  8. berimBOWLoh

    berimBOWLoh Silver Belt

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    you took it way too literally. i train at a saulo affiliate and he comes in and thats not what whites/blues train exclusively by any means or when he isnt around either.

    imo if you dont have a good open guard you dont have a good guard, period. good players wont let you get closed guard that often.
     
  9. sb413197

    sb413197 Red Belt

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    I think he means that you are expected to get pretty good at those aspects of BJJ at that particular belt level, not focus on those aspects of BJJ at the exclusion of all else. I know guys that trained under Saulo and they certainly don't advocate excluding all else to get good at survival (whitebelt), but rather as you leave whitebelt you should be pretty good at survival. As you leave bluebelt you should be getting pretty good at escapes. Etc
     
  10. dmwalking

    dmwalking Sapateiro Belt

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    I'm going to throw out a thought that may not be popular.

    BJJ is not a religion. Black Belts are not sacred mages. Thinkers are not always doers. Doers are not always thinkers. Just because a man is a high level black belt doesn't necessarily mean that his philosophy is gospel. And just because a man hasn't gotten his black belt yet, doesn't mean his philosophy is trash. My favorite (Marcelo) says things I don't agree with. And even before he became a black belt, Danaher was already dropping gems on us from a philosophical stand point.


    In the end, you have to be your own person and figure out what works for you.

    For example: I think we had a thread here about how the Mendes bros don't really teach half guard as a strong position. Not that it doesn't work. But it is not strong in their game. But other players are killer with their half guard. Why is that? Because that's THEIR game.

    My point is that you're probably going to learn 1000000 techniques by the time you get to black belt, if you make it. And out of those 100000 techs, you're only really going to keep maybe 100. Probably less. I don't know. I'm not a black belt. So learn everything. Anything that a tried and true black belt is teaching is stuff that is proven to work....for them. It doesn't mean you have to treat it as gospel. If it doesn't fit your game, cool. At least you know it so you can defend it even if you don't adopt it.


    Pardon the rant.
     
  11. DonkeyKong

    DonkeyKong Frazier > Ali

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    Congratulations on your achievements, I can tell you're a fighter who cares, but if you don't dominate those essentials then you're not ready for purple.
     
  12. The Apostle

    The Apostle Green Belt

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    I would say that now I hope your submission defense is on point, damn near unsubmittable, like your training partners know if they roll with you, they can bank on you escaping a bunch of times and that their submissions better be tight and locked in properly.

    So what is the goal of the purple belt level in Saulo's book? Becoming better in the guard? Why are you choosing to abandon it now? Also I think you need to remember the author and his mentality regarding bjj. It isn't fancy, it isn't flashy,they are fundamentals.

    Also practice your submissions from guard on whites and blues only, at first. Continue your defense and survival against killers or higher belts. Once you start hitting the attacks on the people below you, start experimenting on purples and browns with your techniques. Did they work the same? Why not? What adjustments do you have to make to even set up a purple for your closed guard attack?

    This is coming from a guy with no closed guard game.
     
  13. smart.feller

    smart.feller Beer Drinker

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    So...maybe I took the book differently.

    I took the book as building blocks for a strong foundation, and not "at this colored belt, you need to be able to do this".

    Just imagine for a second that we don't talk belts and we talk about it as building a house. The fundamental thing you need to learn how to do is to survive. If you can't survive you can't escape...so we're going to focus on survival techniques. This will be leveling our dirt and laying our cement foundation.

    After that foundation is laid, we are going to start building our support structures. Your ability to escape becomes your support beams. Now not only do you have a solid foundation for a place to live, you are starting to see the frame work of your house. You are learning your key movements that the rest of your house will rest upon.

    Once you have the foundation and the framing/support done, we can start to focus on the actually making it look like a house. Focusing on our positions is like running all of our wiring and piping, and installing our interior and exterior walls. Your guard is your fundamental position, and once that is growing, your house will actually look like a house.

    After that we are going to start looking at our guard passing techniques, or for our analogies, this will be all of our appliances, tiling, and carpet. This is what makes a house start to feel like a home.

    And lastly, we are going to turn on the power, water, and gas, or in this case our submission game. You can certainly live in a home without power and water, but it's much nicer to have those things. In the same way that you can adequately defend yourself using the techniques taught earlier and you don't "need" submissions, you also don't truly "need" electricity. But in construction, it's one of the last things to be turned on.

    Now, your toilet won't flush if the piping isn't laid. The walls won't stand up without the proper framing, and the framing is going to blow over without the proper foundation. Too many people want to put the cart before the horse...you may be able to learn a super sweet no touch flying gogoplata armbar combo...but none of that is going to matter if you can't survive and escape when someone is on top of you.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  14. anaconda

    anaconda Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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    I personally hate the whole "white belt = survival" thing, and it turned me off to the book in general. Unfortunately, there's a lot of do as I say not as I do in the way many of the top guys teach - especially from the more helio gracie oriented sides of the tree.

    You don't need to survive as a white belt. There's nothing to "survive." You are engaging in sparring and you need to take risks to learn and develop. Focusing on defense and survival is very limiting and creates a poor thought process and game development.

    In our gym, it is quite the opposite. In fact, we never, ever drill escapes (apart from shrimping, if you consider that an escape.) The reason is, the mentality is to impose your game and be in control. Don't get comfortable in bad situations and think I'll be ok because I can escape well from here - fight hard to not get put into those situations in the first place. You will learn how to escape and survive anyway, but that shouldn't be your focus. Your mentality shouldn't be "It's ok to be in side body, because I need to practice my survival and escapes." It should be "You'll never pass my guard." And when they pass, ok, start over.

    I totally disagree with the Learn to Survive ->Escape -> Guard -> Guard Passing.
     
  15. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

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    Not that big of a deal. Sounds like you have a few go to moves from closed that work well for you. How many do you want? I'm a competitive brown belt, and my closed guard game (which is an important part of my overall competition guard game) is basically to either get to side guard and take the back or sweep, or to hit the arm bar. I can't recall the last time I hit a kimura, sit up sweep, or triangle from closed on someone. No one is good at everything. Sounds like you have good defense and escapes, which will always serve you well. Now develop your open guard game and start working on the rest of your positions too.

    In general I think your expectations for yourself are too high. Most new purple belts have one or two strong realms and a ton of weaknesses. I had a decent open guard game and very limited passing when I got my purple belt, I spent most of the belt working on those areas and now I'm pretty good at both. That's just the process. My submission game is still not great (also my leg lock and no gi games need a lot of work), so that what I'm working on now. But I don't think I'm a failure because all those facets aren't excellent for me as a brown belt. There's a reason it takes so long to get good at BJJ: there's a lot to learn.
     
  16. BJJ_Rage

    BJJ_Rage Gold Belt

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    well, unless everysingle person in your gym is rafa mendes in their own belt, I dont see whats wrong with teaching escapes, peopel no matter what is going to pass your guard eventually, may be not everyone, but sure some are, why start over? I like your attitude, I like your approach to the game, I dont like the whole survival white blue belt thing, but I find your gyms approach way too extreme.
     
  17. BJJ_Rage

    BJJ_Rage Gold Belt

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    This is the best approach imo.
     
  18. segfault

    segfault Orange Belt

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    Don't second guess yourself or Saulo. It's a good philosophy that he is laying out. To me, the most important thing is to keep training and the important gaps will eventually get filled in. You'll never be able to be good at everything.

    Every higher belt I know has an A game that is usually quite refined and complete. They may even have a B or C game, but it doesn't mean that brown and blackbelts don't have areas where they are weak. That's what makes it fun -- there's always more to learn.

    Also, lower belts don't see those weak spots of the higher belts because they are not obvious, but they are there.

    I wouldn't waste too much energy being hard on yourself or worrying about what other guys can do that you can't do, likely you are better at things they are weak at.

    Keep training, keep learning, enjoy the journey and I promise your BJJ will take care of itself.
     
  19. Nnedd

    Nnedd Centaur Booty Belt

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    You have plenty of time.
     
  20. segfault

    segfault Orange Belt

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    I realize I basically restated this post, but didn't read it before I posted mine. Sorry I kind of just rehashed the same thing.

    Well said!
     

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