Gameplanning for BJJ Competition


Game Planning for BJJ Competition

Professor Tyson LaRone

There are many elements that go into success in competition when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu, or any other martial art for that matter. Many people who compete find themselves scratching their heads after a tournament trying to figure out why something happened the way it did. For example, someone may be notoriously difficult to hold down in side control within their dojo but then in a tournament match they’re easily taken down and smashed there for five minutes. It may also work out positively, where they submit two opponents in a tournament with the same technique that they haven’t hit on any of their training partners in months. Measuring up what you do in the dojo to how you perform in tournaments takes time and repetition just like learning new techniques, ie. doing plenty of tournaments but a lack of consistency or continuity can also come down to poor or non-existent game planning.

Game planning for competition rides the fine line between art and science and can be difficult, but here are some basic guidelines that can help:

  1. Begin at the beginning. “Get a rear naked choke” isn’t an effective game plan because every match starts with several feet between you. You can’t start on their back or teleport there, so don’t get ahead of yourself by thinking primarily about the submission. A gameplan should start with how you want to close the distance and engage the opponent standing.
  2. Be specific. Having a game plan doesn’t mean you can control everything that happens in the match, but you should have a clear idea of what your ideal match would look like from beginning to end. A basic template would be Initial Contact/Tie-up – Takedown – Pass to Final Position – Set-up – Submission. There’s some variability if you pull guard or if perhaps you take them down right into the position you want, but you get the idea. Your plan should include all of these pieces.
  3. Plan for the most likely variables. The intricacy and sheer amount of jiu-jitsu techniques make as many possible matches as there are grains of sand on Earth. You can’t possibly plan for everything, but you should be aware of the most likely deviations you’ll run into and still be able to keep things fairly simple. For example, if your plan begins with Collar Tie – Single Leg Takedown then you should be aware that you’ll likely end up somewhere between squared up with their open guard or knee on belly if you do get the takedown. If your eventual goal is to mount and armbar, then you should drill ways to get there from each of these major possibilities.

Overall competition is nerve-wracking for pretty much everyone, at least at first. That’s part of what makes it worthwhile, as the ultimate test for what you have learned. An effective game plan can be a great way to focus that nervous energy and make it work for you. If you don’t have a game plan, you’re more likely to be reactionary and that not only puts you a step behind but also means you’ll waste more energy on impulsive actions that don’t pan out.

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Give us a call at 780-217-0059 or send us an e-mail at for more information on joining our team and see the life-changing benefits of training in jiu-jitsu for yourself!

Some Helpful Tips for New Years Resolutions

It’s that time of year again! On and around January 1st, many peoples’ thoughts will turn to what kind of 2018 they want to have and what positive choices they can make in order to improve their chances. In his article, “The Psychology of New Years’ Resolutions”, Professor of Behavioral Addiction Mark Griffiths lays out the following helpful tips:

Be realistic. You need to begin by making resolutions that you can keep and that are practical. If you want to reduce your alcohol intake because you tend to drink alcohol every day, don’t immediately go teetotal. Try to cut out alcohol every other day or have a drink once every three days. Also, breaking up the longer-term goal into more manageable short-term goals can be beneficial and more rewarding. The same principle can be applied to exercise or eating more healthily.

Do one thing at a time. One of the easiest routes to failure is to have too many resolutions. If you want to be fitter and healthier, do just one thing at a time. Give up drinking. Give up smoking. Join a gym. Eat more healthily. But don’t do them all at once, just choose one and do your best to stick to it. Once you have got one thing under your control, you can begin a second resolution.

Be SMART. Anyone working in a job that includes setting goals will know that goals should be SMART, that is, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Resolutions shouldn’t be any different. Cutting down alcohol drinking is an admirable goal, but it’s not SMART. Drinking no more than two units of alcohol every other day for one month is a SMART resolution. Connecting the resolution to a specific goal can also be motivating, for example, dropping a dress size or losing two inches off your waistline in time for the next summer holiday.

Tell someone your resolution. Letting family and friends know that you have a New Year’s resolution that you really want to keep will act as both a safety barrier and a face-saver. If you really want to cut down smoking or drinking, real friends won’t put temptation in your way and can help monitor your behaviour. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support from those around you.

Change your behaviour with others. Trying to change habits on your own can be difficult. For instance, if you and your partner both smoke, drink and eat unhealthily, it is really hard for one partner to change their behaviour if the other is still engaged in the same old bad habits. By having the same resolution, such as going on a diet, the chances of success will improve.

The full article can be found at .

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Is getting in great shape, or learning a martial art your resolution this year? Come and check out our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu programs in St. Albert for ages 5 and up! E-mail us at or give us a call at 780-217-0059 for more information.

St. Albert Location Opening Soon!

We at Arashi-Do Martial Arts are very pleased and excited to announce that the newest Arashi-Do location will be opening soon at 135 44 Reil Drive in St. Albert. An exact date for the grand opening will be announced momentarily but in the meantime we are currently building interest lists for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai Kickboxing and fitness classes for all ages. If you or someone you know may be interested in enrolling themselves or their children, please e-mail Professor Tyson LaRone at or call at 780-217-0059 with your information. We will connect with you to answer any questions you may have about class content, scheduling etc.

Arashi-Do Martial Arts has been providing the gold standard for martial arts instruction in Alberta for nearly thirty years with dojos all over the province. We pride ourselves on going above and beyond to delivery the highest quality instruction as well as a safe and fun atmosphere for everyone. We hope to see you on the mats soon!

Basic Building Blocks of BJJ Class

When you sign up for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you may not know what to expect as far as what classes look like or how techniques are taught. It can depend on the instructor, the group and what’s coming up in terms of tournaments or gradings but these are the basics that make up the average class at most schools:


Technical Practice

This is when the instructor of the class breaks down a technique – the basic movements, things to keep in mind, why the technique works the way it does, and then you’re given an opportunity to try the technique yourself. It’s very important to pay close attention to what the instructor is doing as he or she explains and demonstrates, as you may pick up on some details that they didn’t say out loud. When you and a partner are both trying out the technique for the first time, make sure you aren’t resisting too much and not letting them go through the motion. This is also the best time to ask questions, as it is easier for the instructor to make it around to everyone before hard drilling starts.


Drilling has often been called the lifeblood of BJJ training, where the greatest benefits are reaped. Top level competitors often train 2-3 times a day, and most of that time is spent drilling. Drilling is when you are working on specific techniques or positions over and over against resistance. It’s important because in free rolling, depending on your experience level and the type of game you play you may not end up in certain positions very often. For example, say you don’t get mounted very often in rolling. You may have learned some good mount escapes in technical practice, but if you haven’t practiced them against resistance you won’t be able to rely on them when someone does put you there. Drilling gives you the opportunity to start on the bottom of mount, escape, reset and do it over and over until you have a good feel for the technique, not just the knowledge of what it’s supposed to look like. Drilling is also a great way for beginners to be introduced to the feel of rolling under safe, controlled conditions.


Rolling is the sparring of BJJ. It’s where you and a partner are free to try to beat one another using any legal submissions or positions. While preparing for a tournament, the rolling will be more intense because everyone is trying to sharpen up their best techniques for the competition. Between tournaments, rolling is usually more relaxed and many practitioners will have a few things they’re trying to improve in their rolling. For example, if someone is usually an aggressive top player when they compete, in the off-season they may choose to spend more time on their backs playing guard to develop that part of their game.

Come down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!  

The Top 3 Reasons to Sign Your Kids Up for BJJ

The Top 3 Reasons to Sign Your Kids Up for BJJ

Tyson LaRone, SAKC, RMT, YSAS, BJJ Black Belt

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1. BJJ is for all shapes, sizes and abilities.

Before getting into the martial arts at age 15, I was a swimmer. I started when I was 5 years old and for ten years, swimming was my life. I was successful because I worked very hard, had great coaching and had the support of my parents, but also undoubtedly because I had the right body for it – already nearly 6 feet tall by the time I was 13 years old. I can’t deny the fact that there were many other swimmers that worked just as hard as I did but didn’t necessarily enjoy the same success I did because they didn’t have the optimal ‘swimmer’s frame’. Many other sports are like this as well, but not BJJ.

BJJ is pretty much infinite. You could have a hundred world champions with a hundred completely different body types and different games, so there is no prototypical “jiu-jitsu body” and no “best way”. If a student is willing to work hard, be coachable and build solid fundamentals then they can be successful. It isn’t about what you’ve got, it’s about how you make it work for you. I think that’s a pretty amazing life lesson for a child, and it’s a lesson that BJJ will teach them.

2. Real-Life Self-Defense

When we talk about BJJ and why it’s great for self-defense, many people think it’s because of BJJ’s reputation for allowing a smaller, weaker, slower person to defend themselves against a bigger, stronger, faster one. That’s absolutely true, and a big part of why we love it but when it comes to kids, there’s another reason and it may even be more important.

When I talk about real-life self-defense, I’m not just talking about the fight. I’m also talking about a martial art that works in a world where there are rules and laws. There are teachers, police officers, parents and a whole society that we’re all part of. In that world, you can’t seriously hurt another kid just because they pushed you just like when you’re older you can’t put someone in the hospital just because they threw a punch in a bar. In BJJ, kids are taught first to avoid a fight at all costs. At Arashi-Do Martial Arts, we even practice talking our way out of it. If a fight can’t be avoided, BJJ gives that child the tools to keep themselves from harm without having to hurt anyone if it isn’t necessary, which will keep them out of other kinds of trouble.

3. A Culture to Grow Up In

There’s something very special that happens when you spend time on the mats with someone – sharing in the struggle to make one another better. Even though BJJ is technically an individual sport, everyone that does it knows the truth – that it isn’t an individual sport, or even a team sport. It’s a family sport. People that do BJJ come from all corners and are all equal when it’s time to train, and I know when I look at the kids training that they’re making connections that will last a lifetime.

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!  



Join the Arashi-Do Family on Father’s Day for Some Fun in the Sun!

This year – which we hope will be the first of many – Arashi-Do will be participating in the Father’s Day Soap Box Derby in St. Albert. Come on out and get a workout on the Thai pads or help with a BJJ demo between 1-4 PM on Sunday, June 19th. We’ll even be entering a car, which you have to see to believe!!! Follow the link below for more information on the event and how to get there. We’d love to see a huge group out and make this an event to remember.

Soap Box Derby T-Shirt 2016

Gi, No-Gi or Both?

Gi, No-Gi or Both?

Tyson LaRone, SAKC, RMT, YSAS, BJJ Black Belt

BJJ is one of the few martial arts where there isn’t a clear answer on what is worn for training in it. Some schools strictly practice only in the gi, some treat it more as wrestling and train only in shorts, t-shirts or compression gear. Some train both and may slide more often toward one side or the other, and it really boils down to the instructor and the focus of the school. If it’s an MMA gym and BJJ is being taught as only a part of the overall program then it’s more likely to be no-gi. If it’s a pure BJJ school with self-defense as part of the curriculum then the gi is more likely to be the norm. I believe that no-gi and gi are both essential as training tools no matter what your focus, and here’s why:


No-gi is great for developing your attacks and control from top positions, especially when both competitors start to get sweaty because there’s no friction to help you keep your grips and your weight on someone. If you don’t set everything up just right, it’s much easier for someone to explode out of something and escape. If someone is strong, fast or flexible it will be more of an advantage in no-gi, and since it’s easier to escape you’re also likely to spend more time scrambling which means you’ll get in great shape! Even if you like to compete in the gi, it’s good to train no-gi because all gis are different and you don’t want to base your whole game around certain grips that may or may not be easy to get depending on the fit and material of the opponent’s gi. This also makes no-gi training great for self-defense since you never know what kind of clothing an attacker might be wearing.




The gi is an excellent tool for developing the fundamentals of BJJ, especially the guard and escapes. The added friction and grips of a gi make physical attributes less effective so you must be technical to escape submissions and top positions. This also means that matches will be more even between people of different genders, weight divisions and athletic abilities. Positions are easier to maintain and the game tends to be slower-paced than no-gi which usually results in a more cerebral match where no-gi can be more instinctual. Having more time to think during a roll means you’ll be more likely be able to look back and pinpoint how and why certain things happened so you can make adjustments. Finally, since all no-gi techniques can be used while wearing a gi (though some not as well) but gi techniques can’t be used in no-gi, the total number of possible techniques and strategies is much larger when using the gi.

In closing, both gi and no-gi have their pros and cons but totally neglecting either one could lead to some pretty big holes in the game. That is why even many of the greatest MMA world champions of all time like Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva trained extensively in the gi even though they would never wear it to compete. You don’t necessarily have to split it 50/50 and every instructor will have their preference but I believe it’s essential to at least mix it up every once in a while to make sure your skills are well balanced.

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!