How much technique is enough?

MMA has been around long enough now that you can make a whole list
of moves that everybody should know and learn how to counter. Let's
call them the basics: Armbars, chokes, kimuras, leg locks, heel hooks,
side arm triangle chokes, etc.

Except for the few highly gifted grapplers, you mostly see the pros win
with basics, like triangles and let's say Hughe's armbar win recently.

The farther you go into grappling and jui-jitsu, the more complex and
technical the moves get of course. It's to the point where you're in
class learning multi-step leg locks that just look wicked when applied.
Luchidor prowrestling type stuff.

Now watching MMA evolve, most fighters are keeping it on their feet
with a new confidence in their standup game and not worried about the
ground, or just stand up as soon as they're near the ground. Black
belts are more prominent, yet there are wrestlers and strikers out there
who are not intimidated and either win or show a good fight against

Given the choice of breaking up your training time, what's more
important to you guys these days? Learning crazy highly skilled
submissions, or hitting the weights, working on your clinch and

This is coming from amateur level, so I'd like to hear both amateur
and pro's points of view.

Coming from an amateur level, I feel good at around a blue belt level. I
keep what I have, but spend a lot more time kick boxing and clinching.
I just feel like learning some of the advanced grappling looks cool, but
I will never use it in MMA and it takes away from other areas I need to
work on.

It sounds from your post like you may have some fundamental misconceptions about grappling. Every time you see someone finish a match (grappling or mma) with a 'basic' arm bar from the guard, does that mean the person who lost hadn't seen that move before and simply didn't know how to escape? And did the person applying the move manage to win the match using only basic skills any BJJ blue belt would have certainly mastered? Unless you're watching the white belt division at your local BJJ tourney, this is pretty unlikely. Especially in top-level competitions, there are usually some very advanced set-ups and counters employed by both fighters leading up to the finish. Hughes's 'basic' armbar win, for example, was actually a relatively advanced counter to the kimura from half guard.

You are correct about the fact that you won't really need to have flashy leglocks and whatnot in your arsenal of submissions to be successful in mma, but you will need a lot higher than a blue belt level of understanding of the 'basic' finishing moves you've listed.

Here is when you have enough technique-

When you win an NCAA wrestling championships

When you win your division at the Mundials

When you have an Olympic gold medal in Judo

When you win a K-1 World Grand Prix

When you win both your weight class and the Absolute class at ADCC

When Don King is leaving messages on your answerring

If you have accomplished all of these things than I would say your technique is getting to be pretty good,in fact I'd say you were easily top5 in the world but until that day comes you will always eed to improve your technique

I understand that Hughes throwing on an armbar wasn't easy or basic.
The armbar was a basic move, but the level of execution and timing
was not. I saw Franco attempt the same thing a few UFC's ago. I never
got into positioning or execution in the first thread. I guess what I'm
trying to say is that I'd rather spend my time getting good at 1 basic
move and the execution and timing of it over learning 10 flashy moves.
Spinning figure four leg locks, etc.

I also know that the more you get into competitve jui-jitsu, it really
becomes a chess match. I know that from the purple belts who have
wiped the floor with me.

As for MMA though, standup and clinch just seem more important than
ever over expanding your ground game lately.

  1. metal gear rules.

  2. "Coming from an amateur level, I feel good at around a blue belt level."

does around blue belt level mean white belt? I can assume this because you have "fundamental misconceptions" about grappling. The best (AKA rickson, Mino, Busta, etc) have seemingly SIMPLE games. Actually REFINED is a better word. but trust me, you and I arent doing the same "basic arm bar" they are. their sense of position, weight and hip movement is dialed in through YEARS of tyraining.

the answer to your question "how much is enough" is: "More, grasshopper"

Miller is correct.

Since you seem to recognize that there is an immense amount of technique invoved in executing even the most 'basic' jiu jitsu moves, maybe the question you meant to ask was "How many techniques are enough?" In which case the answer is 1, as long as you have enough technique to do it exactly right every time.

I definitely have a misconception at my basic level and I'm glad you guys are clearing this up. That's why I'm asking. Not disrespecting anyone, but just need to get enlightened. If I'm wasting your time, then delete the thread or just don't respond.

The problem is, that the past two places I've trained at are incorporating Philipino type stuff into regular practice and grappling. We're working on armbars, then suddenly, there's an 8 step figure 4 leg lock we learn. "You see, if you had a blade in your toes, you could slice their throat, then spin into the leg lock." It's crap like that that makes me steer more into standup when I'm training for amateur competition. I'm looking for a straight up BJJ school in Michigan, but stuff has closed down or moved. I'm just taking what I can get in the area, but its frustrating to try and keep up with things when you're not in the mainstream.

Man,. what the fuck is with all the posts? lol

Art Vandaley is screwing with me, he's my old roommate from college.

Sorry about this.

"The farther you go into grappling and jui-jitsu, the more complex and technical the moves get of course."

BJJ doesn´t work like that. You learn most moves in your first years practicing the art. After that you just refine the moves. The difference between a good bluebelt and a great blackbelt is in the application of moves...

s98 is correct... Look at Rickson.


"so I'd like to hear both amateur and pro's points of view."

I don't do MMA, but I've trained with international caliber karate people.

Stop laughing, I don't mean TKD or point sparring. I mean WUKO style karate where control is measured by how many teeth you knock out of the other guy's head.

Anyway, the most utilited techniques are reverse punches, sweeps (front or back leg), front kicks and round kicks.

This is stuff you learn withing the 1st year of training at most schools and are very simple, basic techniques.

So why do the "elite" use them. Since they are simple, they are easily trained to a very high degree of skill.
I've heard similar things regarding many other sports, both combat and non combat.

I'd say, skip the fancy stuff (or do it for fun, but don't dedicate much training time to it) and drill the hell out of the basic stuff.


Think of it this way: when you are so good at the basic stuff, people can see it coming an not be able to stop it. All the Russians knew John Smith was gonna low sinle them, but it happened anyway.

Hewhocannotbnamd, I like your post. There were times where a guy much better than me would beat me with a kimura or key lock in practice. It happens when you least expect it and you're like, damn, I can't believe that I tapped to that simple move. Where did it come from? It's one of the first moves I learned. It turns out this guy set that key lock up a while ago, he just did several other things and reacted to my predictable reactions and defenses to land it.

juzs has a good post too.