BJJ / Grappling Tips: Delivery system first, techniques second - Pablo Popovitch shows the way

I was talking to a student last Friday (during Open Mat at Fighting Fit Manchester) about a certain technique from stand-up. He was moving well and had a tight delivery system but wasn't getting much luck with this particular sweep. I watched him spar with at least a couple of different opponents to make sure the issue wasn't to do with a specific opponent's game plan, strategies or attributes.

I pulled him aside and showed a couple of very small technical details regarding where his foot and hips should be facing which I knew would help and lo and behold he sent me a message later that evening saying the tips I gave him fixed the problem and his success rate with the sweep skyrocketed.

Why did my advice work? Would that same advice benefit another athlete who might be having the same problem?

While a good technique is a good technique is a good technique, the extent to which fixing details helps really relies on one very important factor: is the learner ready for the information?

The reason my advice helped wasn't because it was anything special. Anyone watching from the outside who's had some experience with that technique could have told him the same (which is why many avid YouTube watching white belts have a lot of advice to dish out). The reason my advice worked and worked so well is because I could recognise that he had the delivery system* that could:

1. Get him to that position safely
2. Get him to that position repeatedly
3. Get him out of that position safely

Basically, I could see that he could get there and get out without getting smashed or injured and he could do that often and from multiple angles.

Why is that relevant? Because nothing means anything without drilling and repetition against progressive resistance. If you don't have the skills that would facilitate repetition and drilling, all you have is something you "saw" on YouTube but could never get to work against anyone except your grandma...when she's asleep. If your mount sucks, a million tips on improving your armbars from mount won't help.

With that in mind, watch these two videos (courtesy of BJJ Weekly) of the amazing Pablo Popovitch. See how he emphasises the finer points of control from the half guard first before going into what you could do from there and if my point wasn't clear before watch the two videos in the wrong order and you should immediately get it.

Video One: Pablo looks into the elements of control from the half guard

Video Two: Pablo talks about how to create space with the top leg and free up your bottom leg to retrieve guard from the half guard / pass

*Matt Thorton talks about the concept of Delivery System in this video.

Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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Brendan said...

As soon as you started using the phrase 'delivery system,' I thought "Holy crap! This guy reads Matt Thornton's stuff too!!"

His work on the Aliveness 101 blog is fantastic and I have it saved multiple places just in case he ever takes it down!

Liam H Wandi said...

I know. I love the things I learn from Matt's teachings!