June 15, 2024

Do You Have to Memorize All the Techniques to Excel in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

When starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), the sheer number of techniques can be overwhelming. Newcomers often feel daunted by the idea of learning what seems like an infinite number of moves. However, the key to becoming a skilled BJJ athlete is not necessarily in memorizing every technique, but rather in mastering a core set of high-level techniques.

The Myth of Memorizing Every Technique

Overwhelming Variety

BJJ is known for its vast array of techniques, including various submissions, escapes, and transitions. This diversity is one of the art's strengths, but it can also be intimidating for beginners. The thought of memorizing every possible move can seem like an impossible task.

Quality Over Quantity

Instead of trying to learn every technique, focus on mastering a select number of high-level techniques. Quality and depth of knowledge in specific areas can be more effective than having a superficial understanding of a vast number of techniques.

The Core of High-Level Techniques

Fundamental Techniques

There are fundamental techniques that form the foundation of BJJ. These include basic guards, escapes, and submissions. Mastering these basics is crucial as they are the building blocks for more advanced moves.

High-Percentage Techniques

Some techniques are more likely to be successful in live sparring and competitions. These high-percentage techniques are proven to work consistently across different skill levels and body types. Focus on these techniques to increase your effectiveness on the mat.

Personalized Game Plan

Every practitioner has a unique style and body type. Develop a game plan that suits your strengths. By specializing in techniques that align with your physical attributes and preferences, you can become more effective and efficient.

The Approach of Top Athletes

Garry Tonon's Strategy

Garry Tonon, one of the most dynamic and successful BJJ athletes, emphasizes mastering core techniques and principles. Instead of spreading himself thin by learning every possible move, he focuses on perfecting a smaller set of techniques and applying them with precision.

The New Wave Approach

At New Wave Jiu-Jitsu, where Garry Tonon trains, the emphasis is on positional sparring and mastering key techniques. This approach ensures that athletes have a deep understanding of essential moves and can execute them flawlessly under pressure.

Practical Steps to Mastery

Focused Training

Dedicate your training time to mastering core techniques. Drill these moves repeatedly to build muscle memory and precision. This focused practice is more effective than trying to learn too many techniques at once.

Positional Sparring

Incorporate positional sparring into your training routine. By starting in specific positions and practicing escapes, controls, and submissions, you can refine your techniques and improve your ability to apply them in real situations.

Seek Feedback

Work closely with your coach and training partners to get feedback on your techniques. Constructive criticism and advice can help you identify areas for improvement and refine your skills.

Continuous Learning

While mastering core techniques is crucial, remain open to learning new moves and concepts. Incorporate new techniques gradually, ensuring they complement your existing game plan and strengths.


In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you don't have to memorize every technique to become an excellent practitioner. By focusing on mastering fundamental and high-percentage techniques, and developing a personalized game plan, you can become highly effective on the mat. Top athletes like Garry Tonon and his team at New Wave Jiu-Jitsu demonstrate that mastering a core set of techniques, combined with strategic training methods like positional sparring, is key to success. By following these principles, you can improve your BJJ skills and achieve better results.