How to Analyze your Ground Game to Improve Quicker at Jiu Jitsu
In this article, we’re going to show you how to analyze your ground game so you can improve quicker at jiu jitsu.
Becoming a ninja on the mats isn’t easy. The amount of physical and mental training required to be a high-level grappler can seem daunting.
There are no shortcuts on the road to black belt, but there may be some routes that are better suited for you as an individual. Hard work is certainly important if you want to one day become an elite black belt, but what good is hard work if it’s misdirected?
Jiu jitsu is such an interesting martial art. Successful grapplers come in all shapes and sizes, and white belts walk through the doors to the dojo with widely varying backgrounds.
Here’s how to analyze your game, learn about how your body type relates to your style of grappling, and in turn how to improve quicker at jiu jitsu.
A Bit on Body Types
In the 1940s, American psychologist Albert Herbert Sheldon created a way to categorize people based on their physique, which he called a somatotype.
The three categories are:
Here’s how to distinguish between the different somatotypes or body types:
This person is typically tall and lean, and although they may have been given longer limbs than most, they may also have trouble gaining and retaining muscle mass.
For jiu jitsu, this may come in the form of the lanky training partner with annoyingly long arms who manages to catch you in Darce chokes from every position imaginable (and some positions that are unimaginable as well, well, at least they were unimaginable until you got tapped!).
Likewise, long legs make triangles a lot easier to finish and way harder to prevent and defend!
Long legs also make for a more dangerous guard, as well as for easier guard retention. You’ll be training with an ectomorph and think, I thought I was just in side-mount – where did that foot come from?!
The mesomorph can be considered a natural athlete. This individual has no problem putting on muscle, while also finding it relatively easy to stay lean.
The general athletic ability and favourable body composition make the mesomorph a great body type for any sport, and jiu jitsu is no different. Strong, agile, and typically with a low center of gravity, the only hope is that this grappler gasses out before they can get you in a bad position!
Shorter and stockier, this body type is muscular but also tends to hold more body fat than ectomorphs and mesomorphs.
Like the mesomorph, the endomorph has a low center of gravity and is difficult to off-balance. With shorter limbs compared to the other body types, endomorphs may have an easier time defending and escaping some arm and leg attacks. Likewise, this body type is ideal for wrestling and a grinding top game.
It’s important to realize that the categories are not cut and dry. What we mean by that is that it’s possible to be a blend of more than one body type.
It’s ok if you don’t fit perfectly into one of the categories above. What we’re going to discuss next is helpful whether you know your body type or not.
Why Analyze Your Ground Game?
Why is it important to step back, analyze, and adjust your game accordingly based on your body type?
Especially as a beginner, it can be difficult to know what kind of grappler you want to be. Obviously, it’s important to experiment with different styles, positions, and techniques, but sooner or later you’re going to have to start specializing (to a certain extent).
This is particularly the case if you plan on competing. It’s easy to get lost in the vastness of the many techniques that exist. Nobody wants to be a jack of all trades, master of none.
Developing your own style of grappling, picking certain positions and techniques that work best for your body – and your personality and background – is the smartest way to speed up your jiu jitsu progression.
The principle here is that the best way to improve quicker at jiu jitsu is to be calculated and analytical, and to use the physical gifts you came into the dojo with.
How to Analyze Your Ground Game to Improve Quicker at Jiu Jitsu
Body types are important to consider when analyzing your ground game, but this doesn’t come without exceptions. You can still have a great guard with short limbs, and you may be tall and lanky with a good base and excellent balance.
Your body type should not limit your jiu jitsu.
What we’re saying is that, if you have the exact same body type as Marcelo Garcia, it may be a good idea to study his film and see which techniques he uses most. Likewise, if you’re tall, have long limbs, and are very flexible, Keenan Cornelius is a great example of a grappler whose style you could be trying to imitate on the mats.
Considering this, here are 3 steps to improve quicker at jiu jitsu.
Find an elite black belt whose style you want to imitate. This could be because they have a similar body type, as discussed above, or because you naturally gravitate towards some of their best techniques and positions.
Watch how this particular grappler finds solutions to the problems presented by his or her opponents, and then compare that to how you might deal with the same problems.
Find the techniques and positions that this grappler is using to have success, and analyze your own game in comparison. Once you’ve identified what to work on, you can follow on to the next step.
Add your new moves to your BJJ flowcharts for the chance to further analyze how these techniques and positions fit into your game as a whole.
Likewise, this is where you’ll get to consider your opponent’s possible reactions, as well as the different outcomes of the situation. This way, you’ll be able to prepare your mind to deal with these scenarios before you even hit the mats to experiment with your new moves.
To learn more about bjj flowcharts, check out our article, How to Improve Your Jiu Jitsu and 10X Your Progress.
Step 1 is analysing your game, seeing which body type you most resemble, and finding a black belt grappler whose style you want to imitate
Step 2 is making a flowchart to plan how you’re going to use these new techniques to improve quicker at jiu jitsu
Step 3 is making sure that you’re keeping track of how things are actually going on the mats. Are these new techniques giving you immediate success? Are you struggling with the new positions, but are keeping hope because you see how you’ll be able to get better at them in the future? Or do you need to abandon your experiment and return to steps 1 and 2?
Keeping a journal is the best way to monitor your progress, so that you don’t keep making the same misguided efforts on the mats.
In the End
There are many things you can do to improve quicker at jiu jitsu. Learning how to analyze your ground game is just one way you can level up on your martial arts journey
Before all the bjj flowcharts and match studies comes a desire to improve, and that’s more important than anything else. What’s more is an emphasis on a methodical and structured approach to developing not only your game, but developing yourself as a martial artist
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