The Fundamentals Class – Not Just For Beginners!

Gracie Barra introduces students to jiu-jitsu through the Fundamentals class. After several months of training the student may then attend the Advanced classes.

Some students are eager to start the Advanced classes, excited to learn more advanced moves. But not so fast…the Fundamentals is NOT just for beginners!

You might be surprised to see several colored belts on the mats at the Fundamentals class.

As a brown belt I went to the Fundamentals classes as often as the Advanced classes. Why would a brown belt with 10+ years experience in jiu-jitsu want to attend a class that showed basic techniques?

Because it is the basic techniques that we use in EVERY roll. The mastery of the basic techniques is what being a skilled jiu-jitsu student means.

Most of what you use throughout your jiu-jitsu life will be from the Fundamentals classes. Every roll you will :
~ replace the guard
~ escape from side control or mount
~ attack with arm locks and triangle chokes

As a brown belt I was refining my basic techniques with details that I was not aware of as a lower belt. That very same triangle choke that the new student struggles to learn is the move that the black belt has honed to a razor sharpness.

Jiu-jitsu legend Jean Jacques Machado (who was an instructor in the very early days of Gracie Barra in.Brasil) said “The more you know, the less you use.
To use less, you need to know more.”

The basic techniques are VERY effective when applied with precision, the correct timing, weight distribution and proper control. It is a mistake to dismiss the basic techniques for more advanced sports positions.

One of my favorite quotes by Master CarloS Gracie Jr. illustrates the lifelong usefulness of the basic techniques.

“This new acrobatic guards are efficient for sure, but your body can’t withstand them for too long. The lumbar region, for example, as strong as it may be, will never be armored against the passage of time. You can rest assure that the basic techniques, like the closed guard or the open guard with the hand on the lapel that I like to do will never abandon us. At 70, we’ll still be capable of performing them with plenty of mobility. That can’t be said of the berimbolo or the tornado guard.”

See you in the Fundamentals class!

See also on Gracie Barra : GB Techniques: Partner Drills

Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam
Twitter: @MarkMullenBJJ