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Some people do no-gi exclusively.

Some folks love the gi game and spend their time training in gi.

You have guard players who rarely stand up.

People who just go for takedowns are rare in BJJ/grappling. But those who have some wrestling/Judo background may be like that right after they’ve switched to their new grappling art.

These days we have leg lock maniacs as well… they are less frowned upon than before, I guess.

Whatever they do, it’s their personal preference.

My preference?

I prefer to do everything these days.

Of course, I won’t be able to master everything, but I’m trying to familiarize myself with all sorts of positions and techniques… at least more than before.

I have some Judo background but didn’t spend much time furthering my existing Judo knowledge in the last 10 years or so. Or the takedown part of my game for that matter.

But now, I’m keen on learning more about wrestling as well as Judo, although my focus is still on BJJ and learning what works well in the BJJ context.

No-gi is cool. Leg locks are cool, too.

I neglected half guard and deep half guard for most of my BJJ career, but I’ve been slowly working on these positions for some time.

There are two dead simple answers to why I prefer doing everything these days if you ask me.

Reason #1
Practically, you should be familiar with everything that’s involved in this martial arts. Even if you don’t do deep half guard well, some of your opponents will attack you from this position.

If you don’t know how deep half guard works, you will have a hard time dealing with it. So… you should learn how it works and what deep half guard players want to make their attacks successful, for example.

Reason #2
It’s more fun that way… There will always be more things to learn for the rest of your life.

Some things you should keep in mind:
I think it’s better to choose a few things and stick with them for a while so you can be reasonably good at them in a month or two.

Don’t be like, “OK, today I’ll do this worm guard sweep, and tomorrow I will try that modified butterfly sweep”, especially when you’re a beginner. Nobody can learn a technique just by trying it three times. Spend a bit more time and sharpen your moves before jumping on to new ones.

Also, remember that some moves are well connected with others as well… so it makes sense to learn these well-connected moves together if you want to save some time.

If you practice both gi and no-gi and are interested in doing more heel hooks in the future, you can still work on your butterfly guard, single leg x, or 50/50 in your gi training sessions, for example. These guard positions are often used as entries/controlling positions for heel hooks. So, you might as well make the most out of your gi training sessions, especially if your gym doesn’t offer all-day-everyday training sessions.

Also, if you like working on the Lucas Leite style “head inside & underhook” half guard, you might as well work on a high crotch & head inside single leg takedown. They are very, very similar as far as your position is concerned. With the half guard, you’re on the ground. With the single leg takedown, you’re on your feet. If you’re comfortable in one of these positions, there’s a great chance that you will be comfortable doing the other one as well.

Jiu jitsu is fun. Make sure to enjoy it.

p.s. I think it’s pretty rad that Keenan Cornelius is learning Judo & seems to be making some steady progress. Does he talk about why he decided to take up Judo in some podcast or something? I’m curious.

There are some other folks who have outstanding achievements in other grappling sports and do BJJ as well. Like Adam Wheeler (a Greco-Roman wrestling Olympic bronze medalist & a BJJ black belt) and Matt D’aquino (a Judo Olympian & BJJ black belt).

Keep your mind open like them and keep learning. Again, it will be more fun that way!