Styles Make Fights

Like a million commentators have said before, and like I just heard Bill Cooper say on a This Week in BJJ interview: “styles make fights”. He was referring to the fact that there is a triangle in his gym where he’ll sometimes beat Jeff Glover, Jeff will beat guy #3 (didn’t catch his name), and guy #3 will beat Bill. And on other days, this “triangle” will be reversed.

I’ve noticed the same pattern in my own training and competition. There are such triangles all over the place. I’ve beaten a bunch of guys in competition that were then beaten in a dominant fashion by guys to whom I’ve lost. Styles make fights…

Guys that are good with the takedowns and heavy top passing game might struggle against a smaller opponent who is a quick guard puller and arm-drag back taker. And so on… The bottom line is that many of us have an “A game” and if your opponents game take you away from your game, it may be a tougher match for you than someone else.

This is why is its incredibly impressive to me when someone can win a bracket of 32, 64, or even 128 people, not just once but several times over. An example of that is Keenan Cornelius but there are many examples of this especially at the higher levels. I think what makes these guys special is not their ability to respond to a lot of different games, but their incredible ability to make all of their opponents play their game.

On the other hand, some people find success embracing whatever game is thrown at them. Guys like Jeff Glover seem to embrace the chaos of the scramble, and are able to successful come out on the other end the winner against a variety of styles.

For the amateur competitor such as myself, this is one of the things that makes jiu jitsu exciting. Every new match is a puzzle, many of which you might’ve only seen on YouTube or never seen at all. Wristlocks, footlocks, bicep crushers, crazy sweeps and backtakes, submissions from bad positions, and frustrating stalling strategies. Jiu jitsu is like a box of chocolates…

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