View Full Version : Positional Grappling

Daniel Christensen
05-31-2007, 02:17 AM

I'm looking for recommendations on DVDs with quality tips on positional grappling and transitions.

For background: I'm a BJJ player, and I've recently got the John Will/ David Meyer Mastering Chokes & Armbars DVDs. I found these really good - logically presented, same technique shown from different angles in slow-mo and at full speed, and mostly simple techniques with a lot of pointers, rather than 38-step submissions. One of the things I enjoyed in these DVDs was the "BlackBelt Tips" they give for each position - a few tips on how to play each position (guard, mount etc.) effectively.

What I'm looking for is more of the same, but with more of a positional/ movement focus rather than focused on submissions. I don't care if it relates to BJJ or another style of grappling, so long as it is well-explained, with a focus on principles...

Derek Simonds
05-31-2007, 05:01 AM
Brad trains with Roy Harris and I found his DVD's to be very well done. They definitely highlight positional grappling. I have all the BJJ 101 series as well as the Takedown from the Knees DVD.

Robb Wolf
05-31-2007, 07:49 AM
I second the Harris recommendation. Also, all of the curriculum from Straight Blast Gym is excellent and presented in this positional/concept format.
You'll love them.

Daniel Christensen
05-31-2007, 09:03 PM
Will check it out, thanks.

Neal Winkler
06-01-2007, 07:50 AM
Check out Marcelo Garcia stuff.

Robb Wolf
06-01-2007, 09:12 AM
Check out Marcelo Garcia stuff.

Glen Cordoza is actually at Marcello's this week shooting video fro a new DVD...I think they are doing a book soon as well (victory belt pubs). Super good stuff.

Sam Cannons
06-03-2007, 02:00 AM
I liked the Macelo Garcia dvd's, but wait a bit more and get the new Bravo dvd set.

Sam In Aus

Daniel Christensen
06-04-2007, 12:49 AM
Sam, have you got/ seen any Bravo DVDs? I bought the Jiu-Jitsu Unleashed Book, but I didn't really relate to the material - I learn in baby steps, and it was probably a bit too different to my usual game for me to integrate it.

I actually found the advice I read in Stephan Kesting's tip of the week...
actually made 1/2 guard clearer to me than Bravo's book (no disrespect to Bravo, but Kesting's starts with much simpler material, and I'm a slow learner).

Robb Wolf
06-04-2007, 06:33 AM
Keep tinkering with the Bravo material...particularly the half guard, lock-down, snap up sequence. It really helps you to secure that half guard position and turn it into an offensive situation. Check out www.victorybelt.com and you might be able to get a few questions in to Eddie. If you have specific questions throw them on here also.

Daniel Christensen
06-07-2007, 02:23 AM
I get the lockdown, but does snap up go by another name?

Robb Wolf
06-07-2007, 09:32 AM
I might have the name wrong. Once you have the lock down you position both your arms to an underhook position, then brace on your partners ribs with your hands, use the lockdown do drive him back while pushing him back with the arms, you will sit up slightly with this movement. yo9u then whip him forward and escape to the side you have the lockdown. if you really whip the person you can end up with their back but more often you will be on their side.

Let me know if that helps.

Daniel Christensen
06-08-2007, 03:04 AM
Thanks Robb

One of the young whippersnappers at training gave me a quick demo last night. Between that & your description I've got a start. When I get some time I'll see if I can find some clips on the net as well. I'll report back when I've played around with it for a bit - although I had instant success in setting up the lockdown.

An aside, what are peoples favourite positional games?

From head to head, I usually let the other guy pull guard, and back myself in that once I get good grips & posture I can't be broken down (I'm longer than most other guys I roll with, so I seem to be able to post out rather than be swept). Then it's a grinding battle for the pass. Othersise head-to-head I like to shoot low and see what happens, although that leads to a game which is physically taxing for me.

In my guard I like to break the other guy down, and keep his posture under pressure utnil something opens up (preferably a sweep so I can get on top).

In mount I like to initially get high and post out &/or grapevine... let the other guy tire out and then go for something.

Side control and knee ride I have a lot of trouble holding, although now we are back to pyjama season I'm having more luck in side control with the grip where you reach under your partner's legs to grab the side of the hip away from you. What troubles me in setting up these positions is that:
a) I don't seem very good at dealing with a stiff-arm on me when trying to consolidate from passing guard.
b) The whippersnappers are much quicker and more explosive than me and I feel disadvantaged
when it becomes an unstructured scramble.



Daniel Christensen
06-08-2007, 03:27 AM
More thoughts on my positional game...

I've got, I think, a good idea of posture in the guard - both from bottom and top position in terms of what I want. From top I concentrate on establishing grips inside biceps, then around belt, the move to attack the legs, the onto passing. From the bottom I'm basically trying to prevent that and set up my attacking grips.

For the other positions my picture of good posture isn't so clear - something I can pick my instructors brains on.

Josh Whiting
06-08-2007, 03:53 AM
Talking of Mr Bravo does anybody have any good stretches to help someone who has problems getting into rubber guard?

Daniel Christensen
06-08-2007, 06:18 AM
The Content's of Eddie Bravo's 2nd book shows it's got a few stretches...
Otherwise I'd suggest whatever hip, thigh & hammie stretches you know, plus, work rubber guard into your game wherever possible - in warmups, rolling with beginners, any time you can - if you can't grab your own leg just 1 climb leg as high as you can. Working the guard is going to give you more dynamic/ specific flexibility than stretching will anyhow.

Robb Wolf
06-08-2007, 03:01 PM
Most of my positional games involve rapid, very nearly constant, tapping.

That appears to be my strategy at the moment.

Anton Emery
09-20-2007, 11:06 PM
That move after the Lockdown is called the Whip Up. Its a good technique that has helped me alot. We were drilling it in class and one thing that we realized was that to whip the guy up you have to turn yourself into a ball. Alot of times with the lockdown guys will get it, stretch the top guy out, and then try the Whip Up. That doesnt really work because the bottom guy is flat and you cant get any momentum. What the bottom guy needs to do is keep the lockdown, but bring your knees up towards your head as you elevate the top man towards your head with your arms. Now you can get out to the side and attack.

It took a bit getting used to for me on bottom to assume to the balling up motion. Getting the Lockdown and then stretching the guy out really feels you are hurting him, but its usually just annoying pain, and you cant be offensive flat on your back.


Sam Cannons
09-23-2007, 10:06 PM
I find with Barvo's work you must drill it for a while especially the basics like halfguard-lockdown-whip up-dogfight-sweep to side control........ just drill the shit out of those transitions, then work on mission control. Once you start to get it, its very valuable stuff. Personally i like side control and half guard. I cant wait for the Rubber Guard DVD's to get here.

Rob Harris
09-27-2007, 08:10 PM
I like to use the lockdown to neutralize an aggressive attempt to get to my side or mount, but I don't like to hang out there. I use it to take their base and then unhook to sweep or recompose. I think it is probably the most useful part of Eddies System. Rubber Guard for the most part will destroy your knees and only bugs the posture of those that have never dealt with it before.

Good thread.

Anton Emery
10-03-2007, 10:52 AM
Yea, i used to play rubber guard quite a bit until my knee started hurting after practice. I would make the mistake and try to hold it on a guy with big shoulders as he tries to posture up really hard. Plus i think the other types of guard (closed, open, spider, butterfly), are better at making you improve your hip movement, which is key in BJJ.

I do like alot of the other stuff Eddie offers. his half guard game is great, as are some of his stuff from the Oomaplata position.


Sam Cannons
10-03-2007, 03:38 PM
I have to disagree with you there Rob, i have never had any knee issue with rubber guard nor have any of the guys i train with and we have been using it quite a bit lately. Our instrucotr is a fairly small guy about 60kg and he makes it work on a lot of big (90-100kg) guys at training. Each to their own i guess.

Yael Grauer
10-03-2007, 10:57 PM
working on
1) wide base
2) digging elbows in the femoral artery area, which is about a zillion times more effective than digging your elbows into their thighs or knees.

Derek Simonds
10-04-2007, 11:46 AM
working on
1) wide base
2) digging elbows in the femoral artery area, which is about a zillion times more effective than digging your elbows into their thighs or knees.


Daniel Christensen
10-20-2007, 10:50 PM
Working on... moving as soon as I change positions, rather than trying to sneak in a quick rest, and using movement to break down opponent.

I rolled with a mate who has good half guard skills, and he was able to tie me up every time I had top position... gotta get some of that stuff in my game.

Derek Simonds
10-21-2007, 06:01 AM
I was having trouble with half guard and I had a private with my instructor to get a handle on it. I will try and find my notes and link to them. It might have been when I wasn't keeping detailed notes unfortunately.

Once you get the feel for how to move in the half guard it isn't so bad. BJ Penn doesn't call it half guard he calls it half mount. I did however get choked right the heck out in half guard in a position that I thought was absolutely impossible to get choked from. Guess I was wrong about that.

Anton Emery
10-26-2007, 08:14 AM
To the OP's original question about videos. I have been watching Matt Thortons Functional JKD vol.2 and have really been enjoying it. I guess it helps that i train under him, but i like how he goes into positions and concepts rather than tons of submissions. One of my mistakes my first few years in Jits was focusing to much on submissions and not honing my positional skills more. I am trying to make up for that now...


Sam Cannons
10-27-2007, 01:47 AM
Probably a really dumb Q, but are Matts video's good ? Can you recommend one ?

Anton Emery
10-28-2007, 12:00 AM
I have been borrowing Matt's Function JKD Vol 2 from a friend and like it alot. Mostly all basics and fundamentals. Fundamentals are big here at SBG, Matt really concentrates on them and tries to avoid stuff that is "style" specific.

I really enjoyed the clinch DVD in this series. It goes over hand fighting, pummeling, underhooks/overhooks in the clinch, a few simple takedowns, and alot more. I tend to like stuff that is simple, and at this point in my game am still working on refining the basic things i need to be doing in each position. Matt's DVD's are good for that kind of thing.

I have not watched any of the other SBG tapes, so i can't comment on them. I would like to check out the JKD vol 3


Ben Langford
10-28-2007, 05:18 PM
I have to say that, both as a coach and as a student, Matt's JKD vol 3. dvds are very, very good.

These dvds are principle based which, I feel, is a much better way of teaching/learning bjj than simply going over tons of submissons or moves.

The material covered includes guard (including de la Riva, mma and X guards), top controll, escape, clinch, half guard + harness and their version of Sprawlin' and Brawlin'.

The dvds demo lots of drills and clearly outline the theory/principles sbgi is using to develop these drills. Everything is very clearly explained and easy to understand.

If you are looking to improve your postional dominance, general skill and understanding of bjj these dvds are great. If you are looking to add moves (eg. sweeps, subs, passes etc) to one of your already established games you would probably be better off looking elsewhere as only the primary moves from each position are covered.

Daniel Christensen
10-30-2007, 07:31 AM
Hi Ben

If you are looking to improve your postional dominance, general skill and understanding of bjj these dvds are great.

That's me...

Theres a truckload of material available at the Straight Blast Gym. You think JKD Volume 3 is the best fit?