May 31, 2024

John Danaher and Gordon Ryan say every beginner should learn one important skill

The one skill that every white and blue belt should develop, according to Gordon Ryan and John Danaher, is proficiency in pinning, submission escapes, and defenses. During a conversation with Lex Fridman on his podcast, John Danaher explained why beginners should prioritize defenses over attacks. Gordon Ryan echoed this sentiment in a video on the BJJ Fanatic YouTube channel.

What Every BJJ White Belt And Blue Belt Should Learn And Focus In Jiu Jitsu by Gordon Ryan - YouTube

Why are defenses and escapes so crucial? The primary reason is they build confidence to initiate attacks. While it might initially seem dull, beginners and fresh blue belts often yearn to learn offensive techniques. However, without solid defenses, they're hesitant to take risks. For instance, if they're aware their opponent favors leg attacks from the guard position but lack leg lock defenses, they'll hesitate to engage. Conversely, if they're confident in their ability to defend against leg entanglements due to ample practice, they'll be more willing to take risks and initiate attacks.

Another excellent example is Garry Tonon, renowned for willingly conceding positions to opponents and then strategically working from there. Tonon's approach highlights the importance of having confidence in one's defensive abilities. By being proficient in escapes and defenses, Tonon is able to confidently navigate through challenging situations and capitalize on opportunities, ultimately enhancing his effectiveness on the mat.

Therefore, it's imperative for white and blue belts to learn how to escape unfavorable positions and submissions. This foundation will significantly benefit their game as they progress in their journey, whether through competition or training against higher belts.