How to Really Geek Out on Jiu Jitsu

     Talking about, and being, a jiu jitsu nerd is a fairly simple thing to do. Sometimes, a simple thing to take overboard. Many jiu jitsu practitioners have found themselves guilty of getting a little too into a jiu jitsu position, an athlete, a type of gi, or anything else jiu jitsu related. That is a good entry onto the jiu jitsu nerd scale, but I will teach you how to really geek out your jiu jitsu to ensure you’ll keep the title, ‘BJJ geek’, for life.

      First, you will need a topic to fully geek out on. It can be a position, a submission, a competitor, or a match. We will fully geek out on the ‘omoplata’ submission, as an example, in order to keep this simple. Now that we have a topic, we will need to get our hands on some materials. We should start with the old stuff, the hard copy materials. The stuff that the dinosaurs of the sport keep hidden away in closets and dusty attics. Jiu jitsu magazines will often do studies on positions like the omoplata. They will also, often, feature athletes who specialize in a submission like the omoplata. A quick perusal of my personal library of jiu jitsu magazines yielded omoplata specific articles in issues of ‘Jiu Jitsu Style’ (Issues #17 and #27), ‘Jiu Jitsu Magazine’ (Issues #10 and #15), and ‘Gracie Mag’ (Issue #186). I am certain there are more magazine articles that you can find in a deep dive before you move onto the technique books. 

       You may not be able to find a technique book dedicated specifically to one submission, though you might get lucky. You can find a technique, like the omoplata, in any technique book on the market. You will probably be able to find multiple versions of that technique, too. Find an instructor that excels at the omoplata and check to see if they have published a technique book on the subject. Don’t you worry, younger readers. A quick trip to the local library may help you locate some of these hard-to-find materials.

      Once you have located all that you can on the printed page it is time to go back in time, technologically speaking. The relics that are VHS tapes can provide valuable information, if you can find them. Unfortunately, you will have to locate a VCR in order to mine that information. A step up would be to locate DVD’s and a DVD player. There is a ton of information to be found on the omoplata in DVD form. There were many great instructionals and instructors putting material out in the DVD age. DVD’s eventually led to the digital instruction explosion that we currently enjoy. If you type ‘omoplata instructional’ into a search engine, then you can find instructionals taught by Bernardo Faria, Clark Gracie, Rafael Lovato, Jr., Karel Pravec, Jeff Shaw, and more. You can also find omoplata techniques, in the hundreds, uploaded to YouTube. The digital hole can be as deep as you dig it.

      Now that you have gotten your fill of technique videos, it is time to see it done in practice. An account with FloGrappling will give you the opportunity to watch competitors, from white to black belt, across the planet, hitting various omoplatas in competitions. A true jiu jitsu geek will study the matches of Nino Schembri, Clark Gracie, and Andris Brunovskis to see how the experts set up omoplatas, lock in the finishing details, troubleshoot the problems their opponents throw at them, and get the submission. Some true jiu jitsu geeks, like BJJ Scout, have even put together studies on how competitors hit their favorite submissions. To earn the crown of greatest jiu jitsu geek a dive into competition omoplatas is necessary.

       The final phase in your quest for jiu jitsu geekdom is the physical challenge. The practitioner needs to drill omoplata setups, entries to attacks, the attacks themselves, the counters, and the counters to the counters. The practitioner needs to get a feel for the submission from all positions and find strategies to put themselves into the best positions possible to hit the submission. After the practitioner drills the omoplata to near perfection, they then need to perform the move in live rolling. As they find that they can hit the move with consistency on white belts it’s time to move up the chain to the blue belts and beyond. Take this newfound expertise to the competition mats and become an expert that is world-renowned for their superior omoplata game. Full jiu jitsu geekdom is now accomplished.

      Being a nerd in jiu jitsu is easy. It’s hard NOT to become a BJJ nerd. It takes the true ‘super nerd” to fully geek out and take their jiu jitsu obsession to the next level. The challenge is set.

Daniel Frank

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