One of the most beautiful things about BJJ is that there will ALWAYS be something new for you to learn. You could be a multiple world champion or red belt grand master, but the game will continue to evolve and you’ll need to study new positions – or run the risk of being left behind.
The solid fundamentals we learn from day one cannot be neglected or forgotten, as they will act as the foundation used to shape the rest of your game. We will always celebrate the effectiveness of the jiu jitsu fundamentals, but this is our homage to the innovators out there!
Here are what we deem to be four of the most innovative jiu jitsu techniques of recent years.
#1 The Berimbolo
Right at the top of the list has to be the berimbolo. Though the actual “creator” of the berimbolo is still in question, there’s no doubt that the position has been recently championed by two sets of brothers: Joao and Paulo Miyao and Rafa and Gui Mendes. Rewind five years and Berimbolo would have been considered a dirty word, but enter any jiu jitsu academy around the world and you’ll likely find a fresh-faced blue belt inverting and looking to secure the position. Many purists question the berimbolo, sighting its effectiveness in “real” fighting or MMA as a major negative. Whatever your opinion, if you want to succeed in modern sport jiu jitsu, you’d better at least learn how to defend it.
#2 The Worm Guard
Keenan Cornelius’ worm guard is probably the most current of all innovative techniques to have hit the competition scene over the past 12 months. Though Keenan is the flag bearer at the black belt level, it has become an increasingly fashionable position on the academy mats – and for good reason. With the innovations surrounding the worm guard comes a whole host of new passing techniques being developed. Keenan’s worm guard is close to impassable, so you can expect a whole host of new passing styles being developed to counter his frustrating lapel grips.
#3 50/50 Guard
For many, 50/50 guard represents stalling, for others it represents leg locks – which ever side of the fence you choose to sit on, there’s no denying the 50/50 guard is another example of an innovative, modern jiu jitsu adaptation. Recent changes to IBJJF rules support the argument that 50/50 is a position which can be used for stalling, and perhaps there’s a legitimate argument there. However, sport jiu jitsu is just one part of the puzzle, and try telling the likes of Ryan Hall and Dean Lister that the 50/50 guard cannot be used creatively and as an attacking platform. Heel hook connoisseurs will know the 50/50 guard well, and the position is perhaps best suited to ADCC and MMA environments.
#The Rubber Guard
10th Planet Jiu Jitsu founder, Eddie Bravo, has long been an ambassador for nogi jiu jitsu and reiterating its importance for MMA. The rubber guard is not a position for everyone, as it relies on flexibility, but it has proven to be a very useful platform from both an attacking and defensive perspective. The rubber guard is not a regular occurrence in gi competitions, but there are many notable MMA fighters in particular that have used the rubber guard to great effect, solidifying it’s place as a useful technique within the jiu jitsu arsenal.