BJJ / Grappling Tips: Creating Your Own A-game

The above is my own jiujitsu / grappling A-Game.

1 A5 page. That's it. Obviously, I do other techniques but this is my core jiujitsu / grappling game*.

If you don't have an A-game, then you are going from grappling position to grappling position, rolling at least 2 gears too slow. I'm not referring to speed of movement, but reaction time.

You don't get to point B after leaving point A on your pre-chosen path. You simply find yourself at point B.

Here you see Gracie Barra black belt Brandon Mullins discuss gameplans with Stephan Kesting:

Creating an A-Game is not hard. It's not time consuming. It shouldn't be, at least.

On a small piece of paper, A5 or smaller, write the following areas:



Bottom Game:

Closed Guard:


Open Guard:


1/2 Guard:

Top Game:

Side Control:**








In Closed Guard:


In Open Guard:


In 1/2 Guard:

Now, go back to each section and write 1-3 techniques. In face, 3 is often too many but some positions (passing the guard, closed guard attacks..etc.) are very rich so allow yourself 3 techniques. If you want, you can group 3 techniques under one name (e.g. arm wrap series, triple attack...etc.) but no more than three!

The hardest part is choosing which techniques to include because the ego keeps telling us:

1. You're good at many other techniques. Why should you limit yourself?!
2. You suck at every technique from every position. You're not ready to choose.

Both of which are true and untrue if we want them to be.

Just choose. If you change your mind in a month, write a new list.

Everything else you like playing around with will still be in your General-Game.

Jiujitsu is huge. It's endless!

Start somewhere. Start now.

One of the best lessons I had when I went to art school was:

You don't start drawing the tree leaf by leaf. You draw a naked trunk and roots, add some branches, create a simple appreciation for the whole magnitude of the tree then slowly and carefully add in more, smaller branches and finally leaves. You always draw in pencil and you never hold the pencil vertically or otherwise press it too hard into the sheet. Gradually, let the tree take shape.

*I lie. I also have another A5 with my Defensive / Escapes A-Game.
**If you like to play from the knee on belly position, you can either incorporate it as a side control or mount subcategory, or give it a subheading of its own.


Check for more resources on

1 comment:

Kenneth Brown said...

So I'm curious. From your experience, how much do you think outlining your A-Game has helped you in training and competition?