Part 1 – How do the Rules Effect Your Game – BJJ Fanatics

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The argument has been ongoing for years now. Sub Only Vs Points…. which is the best and how do they affect your game? The answer is actually a bit more complicated than most people give it credit for.

Various rule sets all have their pros and cons, but how a rule set can affect your overall game is what you really want to consider. Because your overall game should have some sort of purpose. Most people fall into one of 3 major categories. Self Defense, Competition, or Recreation. Sometimes the categories can cross over, a recreational student may have chosen Jiu Jitsu because it could be both recreation and self defense. But there is still going to be a primary reason and choosing a rule set that works best with your reason for doing Jiu Jitsu is what really matters.

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One of the most common arguments is whether or not a rule set is beneficial for MMA because that’s the proving grounds for what works in a real fight. But even within MMA there are different rule sets that can have very large influences on how fighting is approached. During this past weekend’s UFC on ESPN 3, Damian Maia won a unanimous decision over Anthony Martin, where Maia executed a very meticulous game plan of takedowns and ground control. The tactic worked as far as winning a decision, but was it really affective in terms of fighting?

Many would argue no. Maia continually took Martin down, many times ending up against the cage, pinning Martin’s back on the cage and his butt on the mat. Maia would then maintain heavy pressure on Martin’s upper body while trying to work his legs under Martin’s legs to obtain a seated mount position against the cage. It’s a position that’s become increasingly popular as of late due to its ability to completely pin and control your opponent. But its major downfall is the lack of an ability to cause serious damage from the position. So much so that at one point in the fight the referee felt the need to stand them up even though Maia was continually landing strikes from the position.

The reasoning behind the stand up was that even though Maia was still striking, he was clearly not accomplishing anything. Even though the position is very controlling, it doesn’t allow you to rotate your shoulders when striking, because doing so would relieve pressure on your opponent and allow them to escape. So any strikes that are being fired are done so with nothing more than the arm itself, and as a result will have almost no power on them.

So what does this have to do with the rules? If we go back to the position where Maia has Martin’s back pinned up against the cage with his butt on the mat we can see that due to the ruleset that the UFC uses, continuing to grind Martin down is one of the better options available. Not the only one, but definitely near the top of the list when it comes down to tactics.

However, if we switched over to the ruleset that One Championship has adopted which allows knees to the head of a grounded opponent, then the position completely changes. Now instead of a position where methodical calculated grappling takes place as seen in the UFC, it becomes one where the fighter on top is firing devastating fight ending knees to the head of their opponent who is frantically trying to get out of the position before being knocked unconscious. Because even though the methodical grappling approach is still on the table, it’s not anywhere close to being as effective. 

Just one rule causes a complete night and day difference to the position. Causing every aspect of it to be approached differently. Examples like this can be found across all of the various rule sets. To get a deeper look into what each system offers, we’ll continue this as a series where we look at booth the Submission Only and Points system individually. Be sure to follow along.

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