Least attribute based JJ fighter

Hi, Roy!
Who do you think it's the least attribute based JJ fighter that you have seen? An also what's your opinion in this matter about Royler's and Saulo's game?
Thanks for your time and answer (if it will come :)!


I am not familiar with some of the current high level BJJ competitors
these days. However, after watching several tournaments on DVD, I am
not sure I can say there are fighters who rely solely on technique. I
know Royce was a big proponent of "It's all about technique." However,
because of the way the sports have changed (BJJ, submission wrestling
and MMA) we all know that atheticism rules supreme.

In today's world, a technical fighter doesn't necessarily have the
advantage against a large stronger opponent. Why? Because there are
no more purists. In other words, everyone is cross training. And it is
through the process of cross training where strengths are evaluated
and strengthened, and weaknesses are assessed and eliminated.

In Royce's day, technique could play a major part in the success of a
fighter's record. Today, conditioning and cross training are the keys to
success. However, it must be noted that it is just as it's important to
develop phenomenal conditioning as it is to be adequately cross
trained in all of the fundamental areas of the sport. For example, the
Rich Franklin vs. Anderson Silva fight was a great example of two
highly conditioned and cross trained athletes. However, one athlete
had a fairly good clinch (Silva) and the other had a mediocre to poor
skill level in the clinch (Franklin). This is one example where technical
knowledge, familiarity and confidence just happened to come out on
top of athleticism.

So, is it possible to JUST USE TECHNIQUE to win fights (in BJJ,
submission wrestling or MMA)? No. Why not? Because conditioning will
ALWAYS play a major role in the outcome of the fight. Now, is it
possible for technique to be a deciding factor in the outcome of a fight
(when there are two equally conditioned fighters)? Yes!

Now, regarding Royler's and Saulo's game, I am not sure what you are
asking. Can you be more specific?


Roy Harris

I wanted your opinion on Royler's ans Saulo's game: how much attribute based are (or were)?
Thanks for the answer!

Both of their games are highly technical. However, they mix attributes and
technique very well.

Please keep in mind, there are no technique only competitors in the
world. The world of BJJ now has Judoka and wrestlers in it, and there is no
way to use JUST TECHNIQUE to fight against these guys.

One must not only possess solid technique, but they must also have
strength, explosiveness and endurance to fight today's fighters.

Also, you must understand that a competitor with a small amount of
knowledge and A LOT OF ATTRIBUTES can do very well in competition!

Roy Harris

"Also, you must understand that a competitor with a small amount of knowledge and A LOT OF ATTRIBUTES can do very well in competition! " - Roy Harris

Wow, that is a very profound statement and I have personally witnessed this many times. Do you feel this is a negative or positive thing?

I feel it is neither a positive or negative thing. I feel it is a fact of martial
life that has not be fully or publicly acknowledge by many within our

Good training to you,

Roy Harris


You said: "Also, you must understand that a competitor with a small amount of knowledge and A LOT OF ATTRIBUTES can do very well in competition!"

You also said this in regards to the above quote: "I feel it is neither a positive or negative thing. I feel it is a fact of martial life that has not be fully or publicly acknowledge by many within our community."

I believe this is true. I also believe this has always been the case in Bjj and martial arts in general because this is the case for all, if not, most physical activities and Bjj (and other martial arts) are, in essence, physical activities. Now I get in alot of trouble for saying this, probably because of how say it, but there seem to be (again in my opinion) a huge disconnect in the martial arts community between martial arts and physical activity. What I mean by that is it seems alot of people within the martial arts community seem not think of, look at or consider martial arts as physical activities therefore there is no consideration that technique must be developed and intergrated with physical attributes like strength, explosiveness and endurance etc.

I also agree that technique made a big difference in Royce's day mostly because Royce's opponents weren't on the same level he was technically AND weren't very familiar with type of techniques and tactics he was using. BUT once MMA fighters in general became both more familiar and experienced with the techniques and tactics Royce was using the technical advantage he had slowly disappeared.

BUT in all fairness to the Gracie family, Rorion did mention this in one of his "advance" tape he did with Royce.

Rorion said two important things:

1) There is no such things as a technique that can't be countered. Rorion said every attack puts one in a position to be counter-attacked.

2) It is easier to perform the techniques of Jiujitsu on someone who doesn't know jiujitsu than on someone who knows it. Rorion even went as far to say that even someone who knows a little jiujitsu can give someone who knows jiujitsu problems. In other words Rorion, in essence, said there is a curve in regards to the successful application of Jiujitsu on an opponent; alot of it depends in the individual performing the skills and individual whom the skills are being performed on.


What Rorion said is true on a basic level, "There is no such things as a
technique that can't be countered."

However, once timing is factored into the equation, there are many
techniques that cannot be countered.

Also, it is not necessarily easy to perform Jiu Jitsu on a person that
doesn't know Jiu Jitsu. Everyone knows about the difficulty in
performing basic Jiu Jitsu techniques on wrestlers or Judoka when they
first come to class and start grappling with us. While we may finish
them in time, the task is not necessarily EASY for all practitioners!

What the statement really means is this:

"It can SOMETIMES be easy to perform Jiu Jitsu on an unathletic person
who has no knowledge of Jiu Jitsu or any other grappling art."

Athleticism and similar grappling or training methods account for a lot!

Roy Harris


You said: "Athleticism and similar grappling or training methods account for a lot!"

This is definitely true.

The thing about all of this, in my view, is that nothing such be considered in isolation or in a vaccum. Things interact and interrelate together and a person needs to know how to "intergrate" things.

My first martial arts instructor was an old school Japanese guy. He would sometimes upset me because he often wouldn't give detailed and specific instruction that I thought I needed. He would give, what I felt, was very general instruction and advice. BUT 15 years later I'm realizing his "general" advice is actually important and extremely advance information.

He would always tell me I had to work on everything "together"; technique, stamina, speed, strength, positioning, timing, distance, off balancing. He would say it wasn't good to think of and work on one thing like technique without considering how those other elements like positioning, timing or distance etc fit together with the technique. So he would never allow me to focus on or think of "one" thing without relating it to other things; actually I should say he "tried" to get me to not focus on one thing at the expense of other important concepts and principles.

He would also try to teach me the importance of taking advantage of how an opponent moves. I had to learn how to ay attention to movement. He would relate off balancing the opponent, timing, distancing and positioning to how an opponent moved. He said you can generally tell what a person is likely to fall for based on how they moved and react. We are creatures of habit. We move in ways that are both natural for us and conditioned. When I say natural I mean there are certain movements we do that come with the programming of our bodies, natural reflexes. And when I say conditioned I mean there are movements we do that derive from us doing certain movements patterns over and over and over and over again, conditioned reflexes. My instructor would tell me to pay attention to how a person moves both from a visual perspective as well as a tactial perspective. How they move/react gives them away.

Anyway that prinicple of watching how people move is one of the ways that really old school Japanese instructors would convey to themselves and their students how to progress in "Budo" or the martial arts. It was the way they would both "master" certain skills and "apply" those skills. You master/learn certain skills by paying attention to how those more experience "move". And you successfully apply the techniques you learned/mastered by paying attention to how your opponent moves.