Being on top of your opponent is an easier place to be – than underneath. I distinctly remember Leo Negao emphasizing to the class, over and over again in early 2009, when I first started training with him – ‘don’t lose your position’ – and this is something I’ve never forgotten and always think about when I am trying to dominate my opponent in the top position.
Passing Guard is critical to success and it’s true to say that you will often find yourself in your opponent’s Guard, as that is where he has been taught to put you. We will practice passing Guard endlessly and once past, will work hard to make sure that we don’t lose position – on our way to Mount.
In 2009 I worked a lot on sequences. With a couple of training partners we practiced the same Guard pass to Side Control, to what I call ‘Reverse Upright Side Control’, to Mount and then finally, finished with a choke from Mount – a choke Leo had taught me. We practiced this for 40 minutes most lunchtimes for months on end. I put together a sequence that I believed would be the most incapacitating for an opponent – and I wanted the sequence to be simple, too.
My ability soared and I was able to apply my ‘sequence’ to lots of the people I was sparring with in London with great success. My approach was inspired by watching Roger Gracie and reading continuously about his ‘simple’ Jiu-Jitsu. Leo Negao also has very dominating Jiu-Jitsu and I have watched him many times, destroying people with his pressure passing and technically heavy game. He very often manages to mount people and submit them. Leo received his black belt from Fabio Gurgel in Sao Paulo who also is very well-known for his phenomenal Guard passing. Lastly and also a big influence, is Xande Ribeiro. Xande is a monster Guard passer and he believes that a key measure of someone’s Jiu-Jitsu is their ability to Mount their opponent.
Lots of what I teach will be taught as a sequence – we will work towards defining our pathways and practicing set routes. We will build our sequences up so that everybody has spent many hours practicing positions that link together.
The BJJ Lifestyle Team will strive to fight from the top. There is no better feeling in Jiu-Jitsu than dominating your opponent with a high degree of technical skill – and I hope the team will become known for their technical ability rather than their physical prowess.