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SBGI >> A question for Matt Thornton


3/29/09 10:07 AM
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JJK
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Edited: 03/29/09 10:07 AM
Member Since: 9/25/07
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Hi Matt, firstly I'd like to start by saying Im a huge fan of SBGi and everything you've done to promote the truth in fighting. And secondly this thread is in no way intended to be disrespectful to those who have posted on the BJJ forum about Rickson Gracie. It is just a srious attempt at extracting some useful information that may help all jiujitsu students an grapplers!With that out of the way, I'll ask my question. Matt, what do you think it is that seperates Rickson Gracie from other top Brazilian Jiujitsu black belts and competitors? I realise with all the talk at the moment about Rickson's recent seminars, his out of this world skill and technical knowledge that noone is able to quantify what he teaches, why he is so good and what makes his technique so much more effective apparently than everyone elses? I am fascinated by the subject and was hoping you could offer your ideas and viewpoint on the subject?Thanks,Felipe
3/30/09 9:31 PM
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Matt Thornton
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Edited: 03/31/09 1:18 AM
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That's a question that everyone who meets Rickson eventually asks. My opinion is that Rickson is set apart due primarily to his understanding of the fundamentals of Jiu-Jitsu, and secondly his wisdom regarding how to train those fundamentals. There are a lot of world class competitors who truly have no idea exactly how they got "good", beyond the obvious of lots of hard mat time. In Rickson's case I think he has a deeper understanding. I think he knows exactly how BJJ works, starting with the number one concept of posture.

All good BJJ coaches focus on fundamentals and avoid teaching a style. But even with fundamentals there will be variations amongst competitors. You might divide techniques broadly in terms of high percentage and lower percentage moves. With higher percentage moves being generally simpler, lower risk, and based on leverage. However, what may be for most a low percentage move may be for any given individual a high percentage addition to their individual game. There is however one consistent core principle to all of BJJ, and that is the concept of posture. Proper posture in guard, on bottom, on top, the start and finish of serious BJJ understanding is posture. And to me that is where Rickson sets himself apart, and that is why so many black belts walk away not with a new move, but with a much deeper understanding of movements they have been doing every day for decades. And that is gold! Obviously there are a lot of people who appreciate that info.

Secondly, Rickson knows how to train. He isn't the type of instructor who shows 6 moves and then everyone touches hands and rolls to win. And he isn't the type of instructor who has people repeat a move without resistance a million times. He advocates drilling for the majority of class time, and his drills are always alive. IE: they incorporate progressive resistance as applied to isolated postures. 

That understanding of what makes BJJ a science, posture, combined with an understanding well beyond most of his peers related to how to drill makes Rickson the coach he is. As for his personal ability, factor in training since birth, good genes, a consistent commitment to his own fitness and health, and a very intelligent mind (Rickson is no meat head jock, and never was), and you have have a pretty incredible combination.

www.straightblastgym.com 
3/31/09 10:54 PM
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mongrel 911
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"WOW". This is printed and going into the training notebook. Thanks Matt.
4/3/09 6:04 PM
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JJK
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Thanks Matt, a fascinating insight. You never fail to impress! By far the best description of why Rickson is so effective with his Jiu-jitsu that I've ever seen. Reaaly appreciate it and will look strive to emulate some of these concepts!
Thanks,
Felipe
4/3/09 7:00 PM
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Matt Thornton
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No worries.
4/8/09 11:38 AM
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zeerebel
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Awesome insight!!!
Like what mongrel 911 said -- this 1 is going into my note book. In my case my web site... since I use it as tool to sort out my thought on martial arts, training, etc.

http://www.fusionmma.com/about/instructorscoaches/good-teacher/

I hope to expand on it, in the near future.

Mong
4/11/09 11:34 AM
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LEMon
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I've seen this question answered by matt before and 100% a great answer.
4/18/09 4:10 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Great answer from Matt. Just wanted to add.

There are a lot of people training bjj and grappling and though it's a great system, it is still possible to train it wrong. People can develop adequate skills but they might be based on strength or endurance or pain tolerance or 'tricks'. But as Matt says, there are definitely ways to drill and ways to roll which are superior.

These are things like his concept of slow-rolling, and things like 'game-development' (see Eric Paulson), and Roy Harris' 'BJJ over 40'. All of these are methods of training, and they emphasize a thinking man's game, utilizing posture, leverage, timing and precision and sensitivity and above all a type of cooperation. You can't train when you're hurt and going 100% is not always the best method.

You have to learn to allow people to try their games and their best moves against you and allow them to tap you and pass your guard. Being open and kind, you're not basing your game on shutting down all opponents and you don't just hold on and stuff everything. Catch and release, give and take, low ego and slow rolling all pay off benefits in an environment of cooperation (which is not the same as pre-arranged).

Get your partner to let you try various moves, especially those based on posture and various non-attribute based methods. Look for positional advantages and keep trying over and over while your partner gives you various levels of resistance and see if you can find places to tighten up your game. This is, in part, what Rickson must have done in his development. He was lucky to start early, to internalize his game and to have high level partners at all stages of his development. In addition he has some genetic gifts of visualization, imo.

These are all things Matt has said before, so just clarifying and emphasizing.
4/20/09 5:35 PM
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zeerebel
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Great Post WidespreadPanic. I will also include your post on my blog, in the grappling section.

I will post the link here when I post it
4/20/09 6:16 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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z,
That's fine. I stole most of the concepts in that post from others, anyway. :)

The idea of allowing others to work their best game against you is taken directly from Pedro Sauer. From watching that and the one showing one instructor working guard passes using only his legs and feet and a type of x-guard, dela-riva guard it occurred to me that constantly preventing guard passes isn't that great an idea after a while. It's much better to allow your guard to be passed (with varied resistance, of course), and then work on recovering it.

In addition, if you can let your guard be passed, and the opponent is using energy, then you adoitly recover it, that can have a demoralizing effect. If you work it right you can even make them gas and then slap on a submission without much difficulty.

Research on what makes people make mistakes and what mistakes specifically. Draw on your own exerience. Then set up those conditions and use them against your opponent.

In fact those very things which you find difficult are gold mines. You take those and hyperanalyze and experiment. It's similar to the idea making things that are weak in most people, strong. Paradoxically, some people will avoid those difficult areas, and miss out on valuable discovery. Obviously, we can't always figure out the answers on our own, but if you work on it, especially in an art like grappling, you can eventually find something that works.


4/23/09 11:08 AM
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zeerebel
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Hey WidespreadPanic,
Great follow up
4/24/09 8:49 PM
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JJK
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Nice!

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