Dictator at the Basics

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

John Danaher, jiu-jitsu coach to UFC champions Georges St Pierre and Chris Weidman, discusses how jiu-jitsu has evolved and how he teaches:

In that regard, I have a very set idea about what I should be doing as a coach, when I’m working a room. At the level of fundamentals and basics, I’m a dictator. I won’t let anything go, at the basic level. You’ve got to have good escapes. The fundamental movements of the sport — elbow escaping. The fundamental body movements — bridging, shrimping. I won’t let you go with your own individual initiative on these things. These are fundamentals that everyone, regardless of body type, regardless of age, regardless of belt level, everyone has to have them. If you don’t have them, you’re never going to amount to anything. So, at the level of fundamentals, I’m a dictator. No one gets through that.

At the advanced level, I’m a libertarian. I’ll let you do whatever your personality and your body type make you favor. I’ve always said with students that ultimately, in the long run, the game that you favor will be determined by your body type and your personality. Some people are more aggressive, some people are more risk-takers, some people are introspective, some people are short, tall, fat, etc., etc. I never try to enforce what kind of game you develop at the advanced level. So, yes, I’m a dictator at the basics, but at the advanced level I’m very much a libertarian.


  1. That sounds like a useful analogy for something. Can’t put my finger on it…

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