Roger Gracie on Why You Need To Be Good at Just a Few Jiu-Jitsu Moves

Roger Gracie on Why You Need To Be Good at Just a Few Jiu-Jitsu Moves

More techniques  = more Jiu Jitsu success, right? Well, legendary Roger Gracie doesn’t think so. In his eyes, becoming a great jiujiteiro means becoming very good in a handful of techniques by getting their details down.
He talks about this on a video of the Nikola Radin WAY Youtube channel.


Roger believes that it’s the details that BJJ requires that make up for such a long time to become a BJJ black belt. What this means is that it’s very difficult to get very good in Jiu Jitsu, because it’s very hard to learn all the necessary techniques and all of the details that make these techniques work.

It’s because of this that Roger asks his students to imagine the first year of their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey, and to think on how many training sessions they’ve been at during that year. If they were able to go twice per week, that’s 104 training sessions – and if they, as is usually the case in Roger’s school – learn two techniques per class, that means, hypothetically, that they’ve learned over two hundred techniques.
200 techniques! „How many more do you want?“, says Roger – pointing out that he, himself, isn’t good at 200 moves. „The ones I’m really good at, I can count on my hands.“

In other words, he explains that sure, there may be a lot of techniques you could be good at; but the ones which you’re really good in are few in number.


„All the top Jiu Jitsu players are great at a few moves“, Roger elaborates. He explains that this is quite visible when you watch them compete: you see a cycle, in which they do the same moves over and over again. This is due to the fact that BJJ is simply too broad for a jiujiteiro to aim to be good at, for example, 100 moves. Well, this shouldn’t be your goal in the first place because, in order to be successful, you really need to be good at only, let’s say, 10 techniques. „If you’re really good at ten moves, you can catch people“, says Roger.
But, in order to be that good, it takes years upon years of training. It takes a lot of dedication and practice to be good at one move!

That’s why Jiu Jitsu is so hard… Simply enough, because of the details that are involved! Roger says that there are tons of details that can make a difference on whether a specific technique will be applied successfully or not. This can be something as minuscule as the height of the placement of your collar grip.


For example, Roger asks: how many techniques for doing a Kimura from Side Control are really necessary to know? Yup, you’ve guessed it right: just one. If you know how to do one technique very well, you’ll be catching everyone with it, Roger explains. But learning the details to it, applying them consistently, that’s what takes time.

And that’s why you have to focus on the details in order to improve your BJJ! Roger says that you shouldn’t just give up on a technique when it doesn’t work and exchange it for another one; you should, instead, focus on improving it – because changing one detail can make that technique work extraordinarily well.
Just one detail can make the difference, transforming a technique that never worked for you into something that – suddenly – now works like a charm.

Watch the video below and listen to Roger Gracie’s words of Jiu Jitsu wisdom: