There are only so many high level wrestlers that compete in BJJ at the international level, especially in IJBBF tournaments in the gi. So, here at wrestlejitsu we’re going to start featuring new BJJ players that are seasoned wrestlers to examine how they’ve adjusted their adept wrestling game and experienced grappling background to dealing with the gi. Since my teammates and I just returned from the PanAms with one such shining example of a previous wrestler that won Pans in the Master’s blue belt division, we’ll start by breaking down his game. Check out Wrestlejitsu’s WrestleVet Jiu Jitsu Cadet: Andy King:
First let’s discuss Andy’s standing game. It is often argued that wrestlers have an extreme advantage when starting BJJ that gives them an unfair advantage. They have strong bases and often indefatigable cardio. These advantages are often exemplified in no gi competitions, hence that fact that many organizations make them start at the intermediate level of BJJ to compete to avoid sand bagging. It is often not discussed that these same attributes can also be disadvantages, especially in the gi. For example, establishing spider guard on a wrestler whose stance is instinctively leaned over is easier than on someone with straight up posture from a BJJ or Judo background. This also makes them highly susceptible to BJJ’s signature move, the triangle. To avoid problems with this Andy often pulls guard straight into a single leg. Even if he gets pressure from his opponent on the single he belly’s down and comes up for the takedown. Then there are two options, if the takedown works he comes up into a pass. If it doesn’t, then he goes for one of a few key sweeps.
Andy uses classic BJJ passes such as the knee cut and over-under with a few unique adjustments he’s made to suit his background. All of his passes are adjusted to place focus on the head lasso. The head lasso is simply “guillotine control” without of course being able to finish a guillotine. His over-under pass is a combination of the head lasso with an underhook on one of his opponent’s legs. During this pass he constantly works toward north-south.
If the takedown doesn’t work he uses a butterfly sweep and comes up into a pass. If the butterfly sweep doesn’t work he enters into x-guard often using a technical standup to secure the sweep. Interestingly enough, and quite the invention to say the least, when his opponent double guard pulls he pulls himself into x guard and waits on them to move. If they escape his x guard he switches back to a single leg and the cycle continues. If they block his x guard entry he deep half sweeps.
Andy’s constant circling to north-south usually opens up the north-south choke. If he can’t secure the choke he can maintain position by threatening it. If his referee isn’t awarding points because it seems that they’re good friends with the Mendes brothers (3 students of which Andy beat at PanAms), then he finishes with an armbar J
Andy’s technique is simple and effective. Like most technique breakdowns they don’t show the sheer power and balance exhibited by a life long and highly accomplished wrestler. At wrestlejitsu we look forward to following his progress and analyzing other WrestleVet JiuJitsu Cadets in the future.