Abstract: All matches observed of Keenan Cornelius, used in this small sample, occurred at IBJJF events, inside his weight division, and in the years 2013-2014. Only techniques, occurrences, and outcomes that were recorded are displayed in the data below (i.e. if no butterfly sweeps occurred, there will not be a representation of that in the sample data charts). Matches were selected at random based on freely available matches. This is a limited sample – but given the estimated amount of matches in this time period – it is well above the percentage necessary to create a scientifically validated trend sampling.
There may not be a more powerful figure that has entered the BJJ competition scene in the last 10 years than Keenan Cornelius. Cornelius gained significant attention several years ago when he achieved the self-titled – now famed – accomplishment of weight class and absolute “grand slam”; a series of tournament wins in the largest events of the year. Since this accomplishment, Keenan’s stock has been on the rise.
With that in mind, Keenan’s time at black belt has been both short and dense. Cornelius has missed very few major IBJJF events; giving us a phenomenal sample to study. Contrary to just about every one of our previous study subjects, Cornelius has a very diverse portfolio of techniques that he utilizes in competition. We generally see the winningest competitors use a very short list of techniques in competition; however, Cornelius has been able to muster a winning percentage of 73% using a much more complex strategy.
In addition to a strong winning percentage, we see a positive submission percentage in our data of Cornelius as well. Keenan finished his opponents in approximately 55% of his matches, and his average match length was 7 minutes and 48 seconds – both statistics that match-up almost identically with the data we have on Rodolfo Vieira and Guilherme Mendes. What’s most interesting about all this is the difference in which Cornelius achieves these results.
To continue reading the rest of this article, please check out the November issue of Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine
It is often said that the guard is the secret to jiu jitsu. Well, often secrets are hard to keep. In the case of the open guard, many of the techniques have extrapolated out over time into incredibly complex systems due to the collective improvement of jiu jitsu over the same span. So where does it end? What has the open guard become, and how should someone navigate it in light of these new evolutions?
Imagine every jiu jitsu player as a unique jungle. Each jungle has it’s own climate, flora and fauna, and treacherous ends. The open guard has evolved well beyond a set of specific techniques, and is now a lot like the jungle. It is a full-fledged ecosystem consisting of a blend of multiple singular positions. We are all built differently; however, certain elements of the open guard are present in all of us. It is up to each guard player to build their jungle accordingly.
The key is making sure that your ecosystem does not lack a critical component for life. For example, you may have trees, beasts, and a warm climate, but if you don’t have fresh water nothing will survive. Open guard is a lot like this. If you have developed a strong understanding of spider guard and lasso guard, yet lack competency in de la riva and x-guard you may find your ecosystem insufficient at times. Although it is not required that you be perfect at all forms of open guard, it is necessary to understand the basic components of all positions so that your system can fully-develop.
In fact, the key is not to fully-develop every open guard position; rather it’s most important to understand how to properly return to the positions you are most comfortable with. For example 80% of your open guard may consist of setting up single leg x-guard; however, it may be necessary to use spider guard to set it up, or use de la riva to defend against certain passes. Without this extra 20% your tailor made guard may have difficulty gaining momentum. So what are these key positions to understand (these are the bases – obviously there are a lot variations)?
- Spider Guard
- Lasso Guard
- De La Riva Guard
- Reverse De La Riva
- Sleeve and Collar Control Guard
- Situp Guard
The best open guard players typically select one or two of these guards and build close to 80-90% of their open guard game around those specific positions. However, as mentioned above without a full understanding of each position there will likely be some form of deficiency. So which is right for you? What should you build your open guard ecosystem around? Let’s start with a few examples that may help you.
Players with a strong Spider guard ecosystem base:
Players with a strong Lasso guard ecosystem base:
Players with a strong X-Guard ecosystem base:
Marcelo Garcia (duh)
Players with a strong De La Riva guard ecosystem base:
Players with a strong Reverse De La Riva guard ecosystem base:
Players with a strong Collar and Sleeve guard ecosystem base:
Players with a strong Situp guard ecosystem base:
Ruben “Conbrinha” Charles
… But as mentioned above, the ecosystem is continuing to evolve. New guard players like Leandro Lo are forcing the community to re-evaluate some of these open guard positions.
Check out the video above and learn triangles from side control, lapel sweeps from de la riva, 50/50 armlocks, and back takes from reverse de la riva.
Recently, two of our guests on the BishopBjj.com podcast, Rafael Lovato Jr. and David Adiv, both mentioned how important ownership of a persons personal jiu jitsu can be. David describes how important you treat something that is yours. By developing a style of jiu jitsu that works, you can create a very close connection between you and the technique. Lovato Jr. describes the love that he actually has for his game, in part due to the amount of time and energy he has invested in it. How are you taking ownership of your jiu jitsu?
How do you invest in your techniques? Are you researching others performing these techniques, what alterations have you tried making to the technique, have you discussed this technique with your instructor? All of these questions should spark a drive that compels you to develop your jiu jitsu in a personal way. Lovato Jr. recently mentioned the benefit of coming up as a black belt in middle America was that he had to take a close personal ownership of his style, because there was very others around him that could do so. This kind of focus is what we should all attempt to employ in our training. What techniques are you developing this week? Use the video above to gain some new perspectives.
Note: Make sure to utilize the powerful tools around you such as: black belt instructors, and healthy relationships with your training partners.
We don’t really put out a lot of “technique videos”, mostly because the internet is saturated with them, but the feedback we’ve been getting has been asking for a little bit more of this kind of stuff. So we’ve decided to put a few videos up here and there for those who are interested. We decided to keep it primarily focused on unique techniques that we have proven in competition. This 50/50 armbar from a failed omoplata fits the bill pretty well, so we will start with it.
This technique is actually pretty hard to get because 90% of it depends on your opponent. If he doesn’t react by grabbing your collar and pressing into you once you’ve established 50/50 you have to switch to a different technique. We hope you enjoy.
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Hey guys, check out our second podcast. The quality is much improved, and the cast is pretty lively in this episode. We discuss everything from Rickson Gracie to why Benjamin Franklin was histories ultimate “baller”. See what our thoughts were on the most recent Lloyd Irvin video, and much more. Also, you won’t want to miss Phil’s stories from working at the casino. Unfortunately, David Adiv was unable to join us again this week, but we expect to have him on again soon.
Welcome to another episode of “It’s Science”. We are going to continue our 2013 season with a quick look at Rafael Lovato Jr.
Abstract: All matches observed of Rafael Lovato Junior used in this small sample occurred at IBJJF events, in his weight division, and between 2009-2013. Only techniques, occurrences, and outcomes that were recorded are displayed in the data below (i.e. if no butterfly sweeps occurred, there will not be a representation of that in the sample data). Matches were selected at random based on available matches via YouTube – selected using a random generator from 20 total available IBJJF matches matches between 2009-2013. This is a limited sample – but given the estimated amount of matches in this time period – it is well above the percentage necessary to create a scientifically validated trend sampling.
So what did we learn?: Rafael Lovato Jr. is a tale of two different approaches. One trend that we have noticed when doing these “It’s Science” studies is that most players have a very defined game. There are usually a small set of techniques that tend to crop up over and over again. In the case of Lovato, he both reinforces and bucks that trend. From his guard, Rafael Lovato showed greater variance in techniques that were executed than any other player we’ve seen. He applied multiple types of guards and sweeps successfully. He never stuck with a particular guard that wasn’t yielding positive results very long before he would switch to another variation. However, when passing the guard he executed the direct opposite strategy. All of his passes in this small sample occurred from the half guard, and from the half-guard only 2 different passes were used. The other real difference we noticed in Lovato’s game – from others – was his lack of attention to first points. His opponents pulled guard on him in over 2/3 of his matches, and often he was not the first to score (only scored first in 60% of matches won). This did not largely effect his results. As out studies have shown over and over again, most of the time scoring first directly correlates with winning (Kron Gracie was the only outlier). Rafael Lovato seems to be heading in the same direction. It will be interesting to see how this trend develops.
- 6 of 10 sweeps observed came from different positions
- He submitted his opponent in 40% of his wins
- 100% of his submissions occurred from mount
- His opponent pulled guard on him in 69% of matches
- 57% of his passes ended in mount, rather than side-control
- His average match length was 8.50 minutes
- Scored first in 60% of matches
|Top Competitor||**Rafael Lovato Jr.**|
|Top Technique 1||Half-Guard Pass To Mount|
|Top Technique 2||Collar Chokes From Mount|
|Number of Matches Observed||13|
|Wins by Points||6|
|Minutes of footage watched||113|
|De la Riva Sweeps||1|
|Sit-up and overtake opponent||1|
|Collar Drag/Arm Drag||1|
|knee up, from hg to mount||4|
|Taking the Back|
|collar choke top||2|
|neck choke (Guilitine, Brabo, etc.)||1|
|Start of Match|
|Executes A Throw||1|
|Pulled on by opponent||9|
Since early this year Tyler has only been able to label the above sweep one way, “it’s the Tanquinho sweep”, said Tyler. “I watched Augusto Mendes execute this sweep flawlessly in several matches last year, and decided to make it part of my game. Since then, I have never thought of another name for it. Since I learned it from watching him, I decided to simply use his name to reference it”.
The above sweep is simple, easy, and effective. You might want to try adding it to your game. Try to think of other techniques you’ve seen in competition and would like to learn, and send them to us on Facebook. We will break them down and post them on our site. If your submission is selected we will send you a free copy of Jiu Jitsu Magazine featuring our most recent article.