The Cauliflower Chronicles: A Grappler's Tale of Self-Discovery and Island Living

Guard Passing Drill

I listened to The Fightworks Podcast episode 227 with an interview of Marshal Carper, a blue belt in BJJ and the author of a new book “The Cauliflower Chronicles” about dropping everything and moving to Hawaii to train jiu jitsu as a white belt at BJ Penn’s Academy.

The Cauliflower Chronicles: A Grappler's Tale of Self-Discovery and Island LivingIt sounds like a cool book, not just because of the idea, but because of the writing. It seems that Carper tells a good story.

Anyway, one thing he said stuck in my mind. He described what a typical day at the academy was like and one thing he mentioned was that every single class (afternoon and night) involved about 20-30 minutes of guard passing training. Basically, you start in close guard and go until the guy on the bottom gets a sweep or the guy on top passes. This is just one of many types of positional training, but it was very interesting to me that instead of going for variety, they really emphasized this aspect of jiu jitsu in every single class. Perhaps such focus on a particular position (in this case, an extremely common position) for a prelonged period of time is very effective at elevating the skill of the club as a whole in that position. Everyone builds off of each other’s growing expertise in the position.

Obviously this is an extreme approach, but it also reminded me that I do very little positional training myself and that both Xande and Fredson when they visited emphasized the importance of this kind of training.

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