How you think is affecting how good you can be.

A change in perception.

The primal nature of combat sports has a tendency to bring out our competitiveness. Forget about football, if you really want someone to bring serious effort and intensity to the table punch them in the head or try to bend their arm the way it doesn’t go.

It’s important to understand where that competitiveness is aimed. For the vast majority it’s aimed at the external; we are comparing ourselves to our team mates and opponents. In the gym this tends to create an environment where we have a food chain. There are guys who you can handle and other guys who can ruin you with ease.

This can be disheartening in the beginning as you will inevitably struggle with those who have more experience than you. A more useful mindset is to focus internally and concentrate on winning the small battles that occur in training everyday. Escaping that big blue belt’s side control or checking all leg kicks for example. When you focus on your own development training is more enjoyable and productive.

If you concern yourself too much with the “result” in sparring you may find that you are distancing yourself from the guys who cause you problems to preserve your ego. To the detriment of your own development.

You will only ever really be as good as your training partners. Top class coaching aside, an abundance of technically excellent training partners is perhaps the Griphouse’s biggest resource. If you are not taking advantage of this you might not be as great as you could be.

I’ve seen the destructiveness of this mindset many times. A guy who has the food chain in his head takes some time off and the order has shifted. Guys whom he could dominate now start tapping him or using his head like a speed ball. These guys will sometimes quit as the effect on their self esteem is too great.

The guys who are focused on self improvement and posses a solid work ethic always outshine those who are trying to protect their position in the gym environment. The tough guys make you tough, iron sharpens iron. If you want to get better, grab your most feared sparring partners and work to get to their level.

Lets face it wanting to be better than others is a fundamentally bankrupt concept. There will always be someone better than you. If you derive your sense of purpose and happiness from being better than others then how can you possibly be truly content.

So what’s the alternative? It’s pretty simple, compare yourself to yourself. If you can consistently kick the arse of yourself from 3 months ago you are on the right track. Competition is great, but the best indicator of success is how much you have improved.

If you understand that your goals should not be dependent on how you compare to others, then you will find them much easier to achieve.

At the Griphouse this is a culture we encourage and it’s probably one of the reason we have the country’s top athletes in a whole host of combat sports.

Paulus Maximus

JT Torres De La X Guard

When it comes to watching Jiu Jitsu matches I always tend to pick a specific athlete and watch a crap tonne of their matches as opposed to simply watching  full events. When focusing on a certain athlete you start seeing the type of positions they favor and the go to techniques that they prefer.

I watched an interview with JT Torres a few weeks ago and he had a great attitude to competition and training. That is what encouraged me to have a look at some of his matches in depth. . Initially I was looking at doing a breakdown with his awesome leg drag passing, but then I noticed the De La X Guard appearing time and time again, seriously like every match and with a freaky high sweeping percentage as well.

The frequency with which JT goes for this position and the success he has with it says a great deal about its effectivness, and when guys like Michael Langhi are getting nailed with it you have to respect it.

At the lower levels of Jiu Jitsu mastery we have a tendency to abandon positions when we come across obstacles. At the higher levels the athletes know the positions they are great at and consistently find a way to get to those spots. From these strong positions they are ready to implement their attacks based on how the opponent responds. As with everything in jiu jitsu you earn what you have got. JT has certainly but the time in with his De La X Guard and has a tonne of faith in this position.

The De La X Guard

The deep DLR hook on the hip and the lower leg hook effectively ruins your opponents ability to  move laterally. Using upper body grips and the powerful leg pressure of this position the bottom guy can effectively tilt their opponent to either side depending on their objectives.

If the top man drives forward or is pulled forward in this position he can expect to be on the bad end of the dump sweep shown in the first section of the video. If the top man keeps his weight back he is susceptible to single leg attacks.

One of JTs most common ways to get onto the single leg occurs when his opponent hides the far arm. This effectively prevents the dump sweep as the top man has a hand to post with. By switching to a collar grip and attempting the dump sweep JT can collect the posting arm and complete the initial sweep or use the momentary lack of forward pressure to come up onto the single leg take down.

Finally if the top man avoids the dump sweep and drives back into the single leg JT will sit back into the single leg X, very much like Torquinho would, but instead of heel hooking somebody’s leg to pieces he quickly changes to the full x guard and completes the sweep from there.

All in all there are not a great deal of fun options for the top guy when the De La X Guard is latched on and its a great way to deal with the combat base position.

The Lapel grip.

JT will change the nature of his grips depending on what he is trying to do. He is always going after the far arm to complete the dump sweep. But if thats not available he may go to the collar to help load his opponent onto the hips as mentioned above or grip on the lead leg to secure it.

One of the really cool grips he utilises really well is a variation on the lapel wedgy grip. I am sure there is a better way to describe this but my inner child have prevailed, he passes the far lapel to his outside hand behind his opponents knee. This kills the top mans posture and forces him to the inside and towards the dump sweep which is the first link in a chain of great positions JT uses really effectively.

Let me know what you think of this breakdown and if you would like some more,

Thanks

Paulus Maximus