Rory van Vliet - Alignment Theory & The Science Behind Your Jiu-Jitsu

I talk to Rory van Vliet from RVV BJJ, who takes a methodical approach to explaining the science behind your jiu-jitsu. He explains the critical principle of alignment, which breaks down into posture, structure and base. We also discuss an innovative drilling method called “FYJJ” developed by Rob Biernacki. He also discussed various ways to maximise training time and why beginners should NOT train closed guards. Finally, he explains how low percentage moves and false positives can hinder your training and development and how to solve this problem.

Listen to Rory van Vliet

Podcast INTERVIEW Transcript

Sonny: Great to have you here today, Mate. How are you?

Rory: I’m doing great. Thank you for having me here. We’ve been trying to get this together for a little bit now.

Sonny: We have. This gap in everyone’s work schedule has been good to try and catch up on some of these plans I had laid out. Yes, I’ve been a fan of your work for a while. You’ve got a great YouTube channel RVV BJJ.

Rory: Thank you.

Sonny: Yes, yes, it’s a great resource. I reckon everyone should check it out. The videos that turned me on to you were the Gordon Ryan Floating Pass.

Rory: I think that’s the only reason why I have any notoriety or success on YouTube right now. It’s because of that series.

Sonny: I found that really helpful. It’s a great series, and I’d even done a seminar with Matthew Tesla, one of the Danaher Death Squad brown belts. He came out to Australia and did a seminar on floating pass, and I picked up things from that, but actually, going to your videos really made a lot of the stuff he was showing click for me. I think there’s that benefit of seeing it in competition and how you were explaining it was a great addition to how, actually, Matthew Tesla himself was explaining it. I think that’s a good compliment to your work.

Rory: Excellent. Yes, that was a fun one, where I hadn’t done something like that before where I’ve done a deep dive really going through hours and hours of competition footage that I could do, even having to pay for FloGrappling, which I hated doing, but just so I could see some more matches. I originally only had a plan for four parts, but as I kept on going through more and more footage– As I’m sure you know, we have a plan. We’re making a video kind of, and then, as we keep on taking in more information, all of a sudden, it’s like, “Oh, man, I have to change this, I have to add this. That part is so cool here.” It became like 17 parts and completely overblown.

Sonny: Yes, 17 parts of quality, quality content. Yes, thank you for putting that together. One thing that comes through in your videos, and think I noticed in those videos, was your approach to thinking about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You had a very analytical approach. Then, when I realized your instructor was Rob Biernacki, that made sense to me, because I was somewhat familiar with his work. I’m just wondering, your history with Rob, how you got into Jiu-Jitsu, and how that has influenced and shaped your thinking towards the sport.

Rory: Yes, it’s not hard to tell that I am a student under Rob Biernacki if you know his work, and then you listen to me speak. I originally started martial arts at 19 years old, which is 11 years ago now. I started in German Jiu-Jitsu, which was Japanese Jiu-Jitsu with kickboxing, essentially, if I was to just break it down basically. We trained it, but we were also doing a no-gi submission grappling for fun. I found that I was naturally getting more drawn to that stuff, because just doing the live sparring in Jiu-Jitsu, as we all know, it’s just a blast, and to get to actually pressure test this stuff starts to cut out the fat of things that don’t work. What started happening for me is I was getting into the security workforce where I was doing bouncing; I was doing uniform work; I was doing loss prevention, where I caught people stealing in stores by just pretending to shop all day; and when I was getting into physical altercations trying to arrest people and apprehend them, I kept on resorting to grappling. I found that all the– not all, but a lot of the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Aikido stuff that I was working on at the time for three to four years at that point, was just stuff that I wasn’t able to replicate in a adrenaline-filled high-intensity situation, like actually having to use it in a street defense situation. I kept on just moving further and further away from that stuff and focusing on the grappling. Unfortunately, that school ended up shutting down, just because there wasn’t enough students. I was training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in just some random places, because we didn’t have a very good level of Jiu-Jitsu for Vancouver Island, which is the far western side of British Columbia, Canada. Then, Rob opened up shop, and he moved in. We heard that there was a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts in the area that just opened up a shop. The great thing about Jiu-Jitsu is that we get to roll and we get to test and we get to see if people are actually legit, because the mats don’t lie. I went at Rob with everything I had, and he absolutely mopped the floor with me, crushed me. At that point, I was just like, “Man, this guy can absolutely mess me up. I know that I can learn from him.” Then, the seven-and-a-half years that I’ve been training with Rob now, he’s obviously opened my eyes up to a conceptual approach to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is what I try to emphasize for myself when I’m teaching, especially on the YouTube channel to try and have something that differentiates from the rest of the many, many YouTube videos out there, especially on Jiu-Jitsu. I’ve gotten to see how good of an instructor he actually is, which is not something that– I knew he was good and that he was way better than me when I was obviously a white belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and he can mop the floor with me, but all the way up to now, where I’m now a black belt under him, I can now see why he is regarded as a high-level instructor across the world, and why he actually has some notoriety now across the world, and why guys like Yuri Simoes now has got Rob to come out three times now to help him with ADCC camps, which is absolutely insane, as Rob’s developed relationships with Caio Terra and Yuri Simoes, that he’s the real thing. I’ve been very fortunate to learn from him.

Sonny: Yes, I knew he had that relationship with Caio Terra and Yuri Simoes, and he seems like a very switched on individual, I will say, and knows what he’s talking about, has a good way of expressing it. One of the things that I see you talk about a lot and Rob talk about is this concept of alignment, which I believe you have broken down into base, posture, and structure, and you say that this is the most important concept in Jiu-Jitsu. I think everyone, if you’ve been doing Jiu-Jitsu, you would probably have an intrinsic understanding of this in one way or another, but you’ve really laid it out well for everyone. I wonder if you could go over that for people who maybe haven’t heard those terms thrown around yet?

Rory: Yes. Alignment is the overarching concept of everything that we do when there’s physical performance involved. Alignment is our body’s ability to generate and absorb force maximally and relative to our goals. The relative to the goals part is the really important part, because Jiu-Jitsu is so complicated with all the different positions that we have, that what is considered good alignment isn’t the easiest thing to recognize at first, but alignment is comprised of three things: we have posture, the integrity of our spinal column. For the most part, being able to keep our spine straight obviously allows our body to act as a kinetic chain connecting our lower body to our upper body, so that we can work efficiently. We all know, and we’ve all been taught from a younger age, don’t lift things with a curved back, and do not try to explode in positions with your spine twisted. If you can keep your spine relatively straight, even a little bit of a rounding to it is usually quite natural in certain positions, you’re going to be able to be more effective. Then, we have structure, which is the efficient, effective positioning of our limbs and relative to our goals. This is talking about our arms and our legs, and what our goals are, and how we need to have our limbs’ position. Frames is a concept that we hear getting used a lot more now in Jiu-Jitsu, where we’re talking about using rigid supports, rigid structures to be able to support weight and to generate some force or to keep distance between us and our opponent, which we’re using our bones to be aligned in a certain way to be able to achieve that. Locking my arm out would give me structure as a frame that now I’m able to support a heck of a lot of weight, versus, say, if somebody is trying to armbar me, then obviously, I don’t want my arm to be fully extended in this circumstance, because my goal is to keep my arm from being extended. I want to get my arm in super close to my body. I want to cover it with my other arm on top, and even if I can start bringing my knees up to my elbows and starting to shell up as much as I can, I’m going to become more efficient, and I’m going to be able to resist a higher output of force to keep my arm from being pulled away from me. Structure is usually the hardest one to understand when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu, because it is the one that changes most often. Base is a platform from which to apply and absorb force maximally relative to your goals. For us, base is almost always drive from the ground, obviously, but sometimes, it can also be generated off of our opponent. For example, if I was just using a recumbent guard, supine guard, off of my back, and I have my feet on my opponent’s hips, I’m going to be able to mobilize my hips and lift off by creating a bridging motion by having my feet pushing into my opponent’s hips, and because I drive into my opponent’s hips, and my opponent’s feet are then connected to the ground, I’m still generating force in a way off of the ground, but it’s through my opponent. Base is one that is extremely important, because obviously, if you can’t generate force, then you’re not going to be able to make any of these techniques work. Something as simple as live toes in which you have your toes actually curled, engaged into the mat, rather than dead toes, as we call it, where you have just the flats, the tops of your feet, just sitting on top of the mat, is going to allow you to be able to generate a lot more force. Alignment, like the example that I usually use when I’m trying to explain this to someone on their first day, is think of weightlifting. There, we’re very used to that you have to have a specific alignment for each different exercise that you’re trying to perform. The alignment that you need for benchpress is obviously very different than the alignment that you need for a squat or a deadlift, but there is a very specific way that you need to have your structure, as in your limbs, aligned, a very specific way you need your posture aligned, and a very specific way that you need your baseline, so that you’re going to be able to generate the maximum amount of force to be able to perform the movements safely, as well as being able to optimize the efficiency and the effectiveness of how much weight that you can actually move. It’s a big, broad thing that I try and wrap into every technique that I teach. Where is the alignment? Because for us, the goal in Jiu-Jitsu is to keep yourself in alignment at all times and to break your opponent’s alignment to create vulnerability. Then, you move forward, whether that’s just moving a forward in passes, in dominant positions, in sweep attempts, or especially, when we’re looking at submitting somebody. I don’t think that you can submit somebody unless they’re just not moving at all if you don’t break their alignment. If I can stay in proper alignment, and I can make somebody a fraction as effective as they normally would be by breaking their posture, structure, and base, it doesn’t matter how good they are at Jiu-Jitsu, because they’re not going to be optimized to fight back.

Sonny: That’s a good understanding of those concepts that we can give to students. You mentioned that you will explain it to students while your teaching techniques, so I’m wondering how in-depth you go on those ideas when you’re teaching techniques. Then, how do you actually get them to internalize those concepts?

Rory: For us, at Island Top Team, Rob’s academy here in British Columbia, we do a half hour or 20-minute introductory class for everybody, in that where we meet up with the students right before class happens and we go through those concepts specifically and show it with the example of the technical stand up. This is where I will spend 20 minutes to half an hour talking just about alignment frames and levers with somebody on their first day to help them understand what’s going on. Typically, to first help them internalize what’s going on, I’ll show them the movement. I’ll teach them how the concepts are taking place. Then, I’ll also have certain ways that I will rest weight onto them or have them try and complete the movement. I screw them up by just grabbing their leg and pulling it out or pushing them over, so that then they can see through a process of success and failure why, all of a sudden, a movement, all of a sudden, at the end of the 20 minutes, it’s become much easier for them to hold or perform versus when they were first trying to do it at the beginning of class. That’s where I will really go on tangents talking about that stuff longer. Otherwise, in class, depending on what our movements are for us, when we first are teaching our 101 fundamentals curriculum at Island Top Team, the emphasis isn’t on submissions, it’s on learning how to control your own body, and then learning how to control your opponent’s body, first and foremost, as I was talking about. Learn how to keep yourself in alignment, and then learn how to positionally control and break your opponent’s alignment. There is going to be a lot of overlap, and we will be talking about that stuff. Whenever I’m teaching that technique, I’m usually going to first be talking about how we’re starting in the position or how we’re going to move into that position, keeping ourselves in alignment, and then what our goals are, depending on if we’re looking at taking them back or just moving in a mount, near right, guard passing, sweeps, what we’re going to be doing to affect our opponents alignment with specific movements. Instead of me just saying, “Place your foot here, and then push on the hips with the tripod sweep to knock them over,” I’m telling them that we’re placing our frame against our opponent’s hips. We have both legs controlled, so that we’re limiting how much they can base, so that they’re unable to actively post and recorrect for the force that we’re going to be generating into them. Then, we’re tipping their center of gravity outside of their platform of support, which is going to now cause them to fall down. It’s going to be something that’s always explained through each one of these techniques. I’m never going to just tell somebody to do a certain move, regardless of how small it is. Every grip, every placement on our opponent, every placement on the ground has to be able to be explained as logic and with the concepts behind it, because Jiu-Jitsu is governed by these concepts of physics. Stuff like gravity, it’s always there. We can’t ignore it. I’m not going to tell somebody that they have to grab somewhere on the Gi for just no reason. I want to tell them where they have to grip it. It doesn’t have to be as exact, like, oh, it has to be exactly three inches down from the collar or three inches around on the sleeve or this exact spot. It has to be able to be related to a concept, whether it has to do with alignment or a frame or a lever, a wedge, a center of gravity, momentum, stuff explains that these students understand the purpose behind the movements that they’re doing and why it’s important to do it right.

Sonny: Okay, that makes sense, giving them that real meaning behind everything they’re doing from a scientific perspective. You definitely have that science-based approach to Jiu-Jitsu. I wonder, how do you look at the way you approach things? Do you consider yourself working in a science lab compared to how other people might do it? Would you say that other people might be more looking at it like an art and you guys are taking the science approach, or do you feel that science is the approach to take with Jiu-Jitsu?

Rory: I think that good Jiu-Jitsu that we’re seeing is going through a scientific approach. Competition is what sets Jiu-Jitsu apart from everything else in the life sparring aspect. For us, we get to see a filtration process of guys at the highest level, and that’s where we try and draw our techniques from and what we try and use as this threshold for what we think is effective. We want to see high-level black belts competing on the world’s biggest stages and seeing what they’re doing or what works, because what we try and save always at the very beginning is we’re teaching our students to beat black belts and the world’s best black belts. It doesn’t matter if someone’s a hobbyist or if they’re only looking to come in a couple of times a week or if they have no aspirations of ever competing or ever even trying to be that good at Jiu-Jitsu. I want to teach somebody how to beat somebody that’s really good at Jiu-Jitsu. Then, that way, they’re covered for everything underneath that. What I’m not interested in teaching somebody– This is where I have a problem with stuff like the self-defense stuff and how it’s taught, is we’re going to talk about the big drunken haymaker that somebody throws at you. We’re going to work on only that. Well, the problem is, is that then when you go up against somebody who’s really skilled, you’re not covered for that, and you’re going to get lit up. If you know how to defend against a proper jab and cross and hook that a trained boxer would be throwing at you, then when a drunk person tries to slap you across the face, it’s extremely easy, or at least easier, to deal with, depending on, obviously, all the variables in that given situation. For us, we want to observe stuff working at the highest level. We’re constantly observing, which is a big part of the scientific method. Then, for us, the conceptual framework allows us to see whether it’s us trying to come up with our own little variations of techniques or we’re trying to break down and explain why somebody is doing something. For me, with the Gordon Ryan series, I’m looking at this, I’m seeing Gordon use these techniques at the highest level. Something that Gordon is doing here is working very well. Now, I’m going to try and explain through these concepts of posture, structure, and base, frames, levers, and wedges, and the center of gravity and momentum, et cetera, to is this holding up? Does this make sense? Which, obviously, it is holding up, because he’s making it work at the highest level. This is where we see stuff where, whether we want to consider it the artistic approach– There’s a lot of crap on YouTube and Instagram, as I’m sure you can agree, that we see, where somebody just shows something super flashy and cool. Everyone’s just loving it on the Instagram feed. I’m personally looking at it going, “That is absolute garbage. It’s never going to work on anybody good.” It starts to rival on Kata levels of just– You’re almost doing it like a dance, where you’re doing this against a cooperative opponent. If somebody actually knew what they’re doing and wants to shut it down, while the move looks cool, it’s fundamentally incorrect, because the person is doing it with broken alignment. They’re bending their leg up in some super flexible way that externally rotates their hips, that one, a lot of people wouldn’t be able to do, but let alone, it puts you in this compromised position that makes you more prone to injury and will not allow you to generate as much force as you would if you kept yourself in a better alignment with a leg press motion. That scientific approach, we observe stuff work at the highest level, we can then start to break down why it’s working at a fundamental level, the conceptual level, and then attempt to replicate it. When we’re doing our own replication is through an experimentation process, where we are obviously working with usually lower-level people at first. Then, as we start to gain success with that, the goals are to consistently keep increasing the resistance and the skill level. When we first start drilling something, we work something with a white belt, and we just keep on playing around with our white belt students and just doing the move to them over and over again, or even a couple of times in a round. Then, you start testing on the blue belt students, the purple belts, the brown belts, the black belts. Then, you start cross-training potentially, and you’re training with other black belts. Then, you’re trying to make this stuff work in competition, which is obviously the highest level that we’re looking to achieve. Then, if you can make it work in competition, aside from the fact that we have to account for the variables of– Obviously, there’s no rules in the street and yada, yada, multiple opponents. If you can make stuff work in competition under stress, then you’re also going to be able to have a higher chance of being able to make the stuff work in a self-defense situation. That’s where sport and self-defense becomes very combined in their effectiveness, but that scientific approach, it has to be tested, and that’s how we know where a technique is valid or not.

Sonny: Yes, that makes a lot of sense to me, especially that, as long as someone’s doing well in competition, then you have to imagine that they’re going to be good in a self-defense scenario as well. I know there’s some people think that sports Jiu-Jitsu takes away from that self defense side, but I do feel that if someone’s good in the sport context, then they’re probably going to be able to translate that to an untrained attacker. It’s funny you mentioned the Instagram stuff. You called it a dancing off, settled on thinking of it as a pro wrestling demonstration now, which people are putting on their best moves that they can possible for the camera. I think it’s certainly an interesting aspect of the sport that’s taken over a lot of people’s time, it seems. When you go into then mentioning how you drill, one concept that I know you guys do, or one method, is something called F Your Jiu-Jitsu, and I thought that was really interesting. You mentioned about being able to work your skills up along from white to blue to purple, but you have this interesting way of drilling that– Well, I’ll let you explain it. It gives people some resistance, but it gives them the opportunity to work as well. I wonder if you can explain that a bit more.

Rory: Yes, Rob’s really good at naming stuff, and so he calls it F Your Jiu-Jitsu. For the kids’ class, we just call it Frames and Levers, or if I’m going to be teaching seminars on this stuff, Frames and Levers is a great way of just explaining it when we’re trying not to just swear in front of people, or keep it at more professional context. F Your Jiu-Jitsu is really just like positional sparring. It’s just going to be in the bigger areas of– Usually, guard passing and guard sweeping would be the two main areas that we emphasize this kind of training. What we’re doing, because those areas become so broad, and there’s so many different ways that these scenarios can play out, is that we’ve placed restrictions on the individuals while they’re doing it, so if we’re going to talk about, say, F Your Jiu-Jitsu sweeping, this is for the person on bottom to develop their sweeps. The person on bottom is not allowed to go for submissions. They can play any guard they want, and their job is to sweep their opponent. The person on top is not allowed to try any guard passing, is not allowed to pass their training partner’s guard at any point, and they’re not allowed to go for submissions. Their job is to purely just prevent the sweeps from occurring, and how deep they let their training partner get into certain sweeping positions and guards is up to them and their comfortability as they’re getting used to it. For me, if you and I were to do a F Your Jiu-Jitsu sweeping round, I would just walk over top of you, and my goal is to allow you to establish any kind of guard you want, which is probably going to be your best guard, especially if I’m not shutting you down, which is a great way of training with people when you first meet them, whether it’s just in a sparring aspect. You get the sparring and the drilling out of the way first, and then you’re going to get subsequent training sessions in. I want to see what people from other gyms are going to do that’s going to be different than what I’m used to, because obviously, every gym is going to have a different set of techniques that they’re usually very developed at. I am going to stop you from sweeping me. This is the playful part that’s hard for people at first, is that they’re not comfortable controlling their center of gravity and their base or just their alignment, in general. If somebody puts me in X guard, now, I can be very comfortable balancing on one foot, and then accessing the legs as levers, grabbing up with the toes or grabbing the gi and unwinding control to get myself back to– whether it’s just off of my opponent, where we’d be creating that distance that we’d be able to start initiating guard passing within a regular sparring instance, or just staying on top as long as I can, and just seeing how long I can stop my opponent from being able to sweep me. Now, the great part about it is that if they sweep me, we just reset, because what we do is, we do a six-minute rounds, three minutes each for a turn, so as soon as my training partner has swept me and has actually consolidated the sweep, which is a big part of what I think people really suck at at lower levels when it comes to sweeping, is that they can knock their opponent’s butt to the ground, but if they’re not effectively controlling the legs, denying their opponent’s ability to generate base and get back up or just run away, then the sweep doesn’t actually matter. You have to knock the person down. You have to then keep them down and then get up yourself, so that part, there is a fight. I’m not just going to let the person come up on top. They have to knock me down, and then I’m going to try and get back on top of them. If they do seal the sweep and put me down, then we just reset. That’s the part that I think is extremely important with these ideas when we’re going to be drilling, sweeping, or guard passing, et cetera, where I’m able to be playful and the consequences are minimum, in the sense that I just get to experience that there was failure, and hopefully, I can start to pick up why there was failure on my part, so I can correct it, but I get to go right back to it and experiment and play with it again. If I get into your X guard and you sweep me, then great, that’s fantastic. I’m going to now try and get back into that X guard, that same position, because now, I want you to try it again, and I want to see if I can correct it. We get to be playful with it and we get to increase our exposure in these certain areas without that punishment where, say, F Your Jiu-Jitsu guard passing, the person on bottom now is only allowed guard retention movements. They’re not allowed to establish any kind of guards or grips or hooks or clamps on your opponent that would slow you down. Essentially, you just stay on a ball in your back with knee-elbow connection. You’re not going to let your opponent pass your guard by any means, and you can certainly grip the gi or grip their opponent’s wrists or head if it’s needed to for a specific guard retention movement, but you’re letting go immediately. The person on top is now unobstructed and able to throw as many passes at you as they want, because you’re not holding them down. They get to work on their passing and their combinations. If we were playing like that in a regular round and you pass my guard, I’m now going to have the experience of the cross face and just dominant pressure from somebody, where it’s like, “Oh, man, I want to work on my guard retention, but if I fail, I’m now going to get crushed for the next five minutes until the rounds over, so that sucks. I didn’t get to really maximize my efficiency training in this one area.” As soon as the person has passed my guard within this drill that we’re doing, they just immediately go back to passing my guard again. They give up the position, they go back, so I get to work and maximize my time in areas, and that’s what we’re trying to do with those, where it’s just about maximizing the efficiency in certain areas through exposure. Just like any positional sparring, when someone’s working on side control or mount or back control, it’s the same thing, it’s just, for us, we’re doing it within those areas of guard sweeping and denying sweeps, as well as guard passing and guard retention, which is an extremely important area that’s hard to develop for new people. Then, we also deal with top control in the sense that, instead of doing it like side control, like the traditional sparring, where I’m going to just try and hold side control as hard as I can, and if I can use heavy pressure and cross-face and underhook, I can hold you there. There’s a place for that, absolutely. It’s very important to practice that, but we like to also emphasize movement. It’s going to be top control sparring, but I am not allowed to establish chest-to-chest connection with my opponent on bottom. When I’m controlling side control, I can go knee ride, I can use my arms to pin their arms or to control their gi, to try and break their posture, but I’m not ever allowed to actually drop myself down, establish chest connection and use that for direct rotational control of their body, because that’s, in our mind, the lowest form of control, in the sense where I can stop my opponent from moving, but it doesn’t take a lot of finesse or work to be able to necessarily do it. We want to encourage our students to experiment and play with different ways that they can use levers to execute rotational control over them, and through that, they will fail, but through that failure, they will learn how to correct that, because then it just becomes through a process of elimination, plus also just adaptive learning, where they’re going to be seeing failure and success on the fly while they’re sparring.

Sonny: Yes, I really love that idea and love that concept that you’ve got there of just being able to get people to maximize their training time, giving students that opportunity to fail and fail quickly, and then they can have the opportunity to correct those in the same round or the same allotment of time. I can’t wait to get back on the mat and play around with that a bit. One of the things you touched on there is the maximizing of training time. I know you put out a video that said that one way to do that was to have white belts not actually training their closed guard or not use closed guard. I think it had a bit of a controversial title or something, but you still mentioned then the importance of guard retention, so I wonder if you can explain that, how you can justify, with the importance of guard retention, not having beginners train their closed guard.

Rory: Okay. There’s a idea in traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that closed guard is the ultimate weapon, and it is very powerful, but the problem with closed guard is that it’s extremely effective at the beginning, and then closed guard, you don’t see it as much at the higher levels, and that’s not to say that it’s not effective, because Sean J. Ribeiro is arm-barring people from closed guard at ADCC. It’s an extremely effective guard, but it is very hard to master. It becomes a safety net for beginners, and people will always take the path of least resistance. When we’re talking about egos on the line, especially for beginners, like when we’re tired and people need to survive a round or try to stop their guard from getting past or to delay a tap, being able to wrap your legs around somebody and just clamp really tight, it really shuts people down. If you took a 300-pound white belt and just told him to wrap his legs around me and squeeze and just hold it for as long as you can and not try anything else, even as a black belt at 180 pounds, it’s going to be quite difficult for me to get out of that. They’re not going to be effective, they’re not going to threaten me in any kind of way. Certainly, if there was a rule set like MMA or self-defense, where I’m able to strike that person, then closed guards not actually going to necessarily be the dominant position there. In Jiu-Jitsu, without strikes, we can hold closed guard with no consequence. This is what we see too often, when I was training Jiu-Jitsu with my friend, Jimmy, before Robin opened up shop in then IMO, our rounds were either a lot of great Jiu-Jitsu, because Jimmy could not establish his closed guard on me, or he caught me in closed guard, and we spent the entire round there. I’m sure you’ve– Whether it was just someone who’s really good or especially when you’re first learning, you’ve probably had this, where you were stuck in somebody’s closed guard for an entire round. Now, it’s important to develop closed guard and our defenses against closed guard and have those kinds of rounds. For us, we do not allow anyone under blue belt to use closed guard while sparring in the gym at Island Top Team , and that’s because we want to allow people to continually move and be exposed to more Jiu-Jitsu. When someone is forced to develop their guard retention, or even just more open guards like De La Riva, which is a great option for someone who’s looking to first pick a guard to develop. De La Riva, you still have less control over your opponent, less control in the sense that you can just spam a move and just hold somebody like a cheat code. You have to know how to cause good Kuzushis, off balances to affect your opponent’s alignment. You need to be able to quickly change sweeps, because if you just get a De La Riva hook and grab your opponent’s ankle, you can’t just hold them there for as long as you can with closed guard. With that, they’re going to develop more dynamic sweeps, and their partner is going to have more ability to actually try and change passes, so they get to get better and they get to shut down De La Riva as well. Then, with that, because the person on top will have an easier time shedding the control, especially at lower levels who don’t know how to control these guards, they’re going to be able to throw those passes, which then will force the person on bottom to have to use more guard retention movements. That’s the key part is instead of focusing on this one area, like closed guard, because I know some people are very traditional, and they’re like, “No. Closed guard is absolutely where you need to start. It is the fundamental basis of Jiu-Jitsu,” which I don’t agree with, people will develop that closed guard. Yes, if I get stuck in that person’s closed guard, it’s going to be a nightmare. If that person can’t wrap their legs around me, which is not a very hard range to stay away from at first, especially when we’re standing, because closed guard isn’t really the appropriate range they’re trying to gauge, then I find way too often people all the way up to brown belt that I’ve trained with, where they’re so good at closed guard, but as soon as they’re unable to establish that range and play that game, their guards become very easy to pass. For us, it’s just about, as you’re saying, what’s the way to maximize exposure to all the different kinds of Jiu-Jitsu areas that we need to develop, rather than giving somebody this one power move that they can hold on to, and it allows them to survive or even win a round? Jiu-Jitsu, when we’re learning in the gym, it’s not about winning. That should not be how we’re trying to measure success. It’s about how much we’re getting exposed to different movements and overall development of our game.

Sonny: Well, that seemed like a controversial statement at the start, but I think you’ve explained that quite logically, as well as a way that–

Rory: I’m going to Reddit it, too. Actually, it was the first time- the threads still up there as evidence- where people would disagree with me at the beginning, and then, as I make those logical points, which are all the points I’m just parroting from my instructor, Rob Biernacki— He’s a brilliant practitioner and instructor. Once we make those points, then people look at it and go, “You know what, actually, I think I agree with you,” and it’s like, “Holy shit, did we just have a internet discussion that was civil where I actually changed somebody’s opinion? Mind-blowing.

Sonny: That’s rare. That’s very rare, especially in this day and age. That’s a good testament to the foundation of your idea, I think, that that’s even possible.

Rory: Obviously, if we’re practicing a competition, then we have to have our white belts and blue belts start to spar with the closed guard. We’ll do that within positional sparring rounds, or the higher belts, we’ll use closed guard on them, because, like I said, white belts aren’t allowed to use closed guard, but a blue belt could use closed guard against the white belts if they wanted to. It’s one of those, one’s allowed to use it, but not the other, because obviously, we can’t have these stipulations in place and then send one of our white belts into a competition, where they’re most likely– Most white belts at other gyms, closed guard is the first guard they work on. If we have that informational asymmetry in place, then we’re just setting wipeouts up to go out, and it’s like, “They’re super good at passing, and they’re super good at staying on top, but if they get stuck in closed guard, they’re absolutely screwed in the situation.” We never want that, so we do try and set them up for success the best we can by still making sure we’re developing it. We’re never avoiding something entirely, because ignorance is never the right response for anything.

Sonny: Open and closed guard for white belts just, in general, seems to be one of the biggest sticking points, especially in competitions where people do just lock down on it like life or death, which I think even gives more credence to what you’re saying before about it just being maybe too powerful of a position for people to be able to hold. You mentioned at the end that ignorance of things isn’t good, which, of course, I’m in agreement with. Then, we also do mention about training only the high percentage moves. I’m wondering where you would fit low percentage moves into teaching students, just so that they’re actually aware of things? Is that something that you have to balance? Will you show a low percentage move just so that they have at least seen it, or will you teach it legitimately, or will you put a caveat on something when you show it? How do you tackle that?

Rory: Whether it’s where we had first talked about this stuff in the past when we were talking about calf slicers– I have a video where I shit on calf slicers and I think that they lack effectiveness at the highest levels. In Jiu-Jitsu, almost anything can be dangerous if somebody does not know how to react to it, whether it’s because the move itself does have a certain degree of effectiveness, whether we’re talking about just the mechanical strength of the move, or because somebody just doesn’t know what to do, and they end up twisting or yanking the wrong way, and then they can certainly just hurt themselves. Anything could be potentially dangerous, and so for us say something like the Americana– Here’s an example of a move that is mechanically strong, as in it will absolutely devastate your shoulder through external rotation, but it is not tactically plausible. It’s very hard to actually establish the figure four for an Americana regardless of where you are, but especially if we’re looking at it from Americana keylock from side control, topside control. I will show the students how the move is done, so that they can understand it, and they can understand the risk of it. The person can one, learn how to do the move, because I want to teach every student as if they’re going to become an instructor one day. They need to know how to teach these things, even if it’s something that they don’t. Then, the person on bottom also then gets to experience this, and this Americana being taken to an extent that they feel that they need to tackle drilling within a gentle, safe environment where we’re just passively repping back and forth on each other. It’s very important for them to know that and to experience that, and then we’ll show them how to shut it down. Now, I don’t care if somebody ever– For me, I can’t tell you the last time I drilled in Americana. It’s one of those moves that it’s very simple to do if you actually have it. I’ve definitely spent a couple full days probably training this thing over the years when I was lower belts, so it’s like I know how to perform the move effectively, but it’s quite simple once you get it. It’s just a matter of actually setting that thing up. Some of those moves, I don’t think much time needs to be spent on it, but certainly we need to still show them how it works, so that one, they know what the move is. I don’t have a purple belt where if someone’s like, “Hey, can you show me a keylock?” “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” That wouldn’t look good, as well as then, I can’t know that they’re going to know how to defend that. If we look at calf slicers, calf slicers is a move that does still work up to an even higher level, where typically, when you’re seeing this stuff happen– When I was doing the little bit of research I was on calf slicers in just grappling events, not MMA, typically, they ended up topping out around brown belt. You’d see brown belt fight to win events or Jiu-Jitsu competitions where the calf slicer’s starting to happen, but they’re no longer happening at brown belt. Now, there’s a whole bunch of reasons why I think that’s happening, but it can absolutely still hurt people. Even for myself, I’m a black ball, but my knee, I have a hard time compressing my heels to my butt through a bunch of flexibility of workouts and stretching. I can now do it much more comfortably when I’m warmed up, but I would be one of those people that is more susceptible to actually getting damaged by a calf slicer. It’s one of those like it will work. It is dependent on certain variables in a situation, which is typically someone’s flexibility, which at the highest level, most people are very flexible, more so than the average person. We have to go over the calf slicer. I have to show people how to do a calf slicer if they want to try a calf slicer. It’s one of those moves that it’s a stopping point along the way of taking the back anyway. If we’re looking at it from say that basic truck position, then I don’t have a problem with somebody doing a low risk, low percentage move. They’re not trying to go for something where if they shit the bed with it, they end up on bottom or even possibly getting their guard pass. That would be unacceptable in my eyes. Suddenly the calf slicer, they can be in the truck position, they can check the leg out, they can test it. If it doesn’t work, no big deal. Go back to controlling the offset of their opposed body and just keep migrating towards the back and then try and finish them from there. Under that from its tactical possibility, I’m fine with it in the sense that it can be done safely and from different ways and we don’t have to give up position. It’s just not mechanically strong enough in my eyes to be something where if somebody wants to spend time developing a system around it and their whole game, it’s like, okay, you’re going to have success at all these different levels. If their goal is not to compete at the higher the world’s elite stage, then that’s fine. I still think that it’s worthwhile to be training at moves that are always effective no matter what. It’s always about just introducing somebody to the move and then making sure that they know the defenses to it. That’s where we’ll spend, we’ll make sure that they know how to train how to apply a calf slicer the best that they can set. Then now we can start working on the defenses for that. Then that way hopefully if we’re working on defenses to a move that these people also know how to, we’re starting to mitigate the false positives that would be in play in the sense that if I teach somebody how to do a calf slicer poorly or only allow them to spend five minutes on it and then I start working for the rest of the week on defensive defense to the calf slicer, then these students are going to develop defenses against a really crappy calf slicer and then they’re going to think that they’re really good at their calf slicer defense when in reality the person that is trying to apply the calf slicer just really sucks at it. Even these low percentage moves, I still need them to be effective at them so that they can at least help the development of the defensive movements, which is ultimately the more important thing that the goal that I’m trying to reach when I’m teaching students.

Sonny: I like that, to focus on just giving them that introduction, but making sure they know the defense as a way to teach those low percentage moves, that really clicks for me makes a lot of sense.

Rory: Because any move will be potentially dangerous.

Sonny: Yes, as you mentioned, any move being potentially dangerous, you brought up the idea of a false positive and I think that’s a really good concept from science that can translate into Jiu-Jitsu because it’s something that when you explained it, it’s something I know that I’ve fell for myself in the past with a move that I’ve hit a couple of times in training and then I’ve spent way too long trying to replicate it again and not being able to get the same effect that I got those couple of times. I wonder, can you explain, what that idea is to you or false positives in Jiu-Jitsu and how that can hinder people’s development?

Rory: Absolutely. A false positive, basically look at it as a cause and effect fallacy where B happens, so therefore A caused B. What typically happens is that you apply submission on somebody and so we think that submission is awesome, but what we don’t know is that there’s a bunch of other variables at play. When we’re looking at something say the calf slicer, I apply a calf slicer to somebody and they tap to it, I think therefore calf slicers are amazing and that they work. We might be negating the idea that maybe this person has just never trained leg locks before and they don’t know it. I think this was why the calf slicer is more prevalent at brown belt and then they start to fade out at black belt is that because of the bullshit IBGGF rules on leg locks, people aren’t allowed to look at toeholds and knee bars and calf slicers until they get up to the Brown belt level. Therefore people don’t need to actually really work on stuff until they start getting closer to that point. If they’re looking at that rule set, I still think that all leg locks, including heel hooks should be trained even at white belt for people because it can be done safe. People will try and play the game and the rules in the competitions that they’re looking to compete at and IBGGF is at the forefront of that. All of a sudden people are coming out and getting calf sliced and they’re not as developed against it. Then we got to look at people that aren’t as flexible. Calf slicer is done with the idea that the person is not flexible enough to be able to eat a calf slicer because calf slicer is a compression based lock. Basically, all we’re doing is we’re creating a wedge where we’re shoving our shin in behind our opponent’s knee. Then, we’re looking to compress our opponent’s heel towards their butt as far as we can with access on the leg as a lever. Hopefully, that person is not flexible enough to be able to bend their leg all the way down to their hips while there is this wedge in place. Unfortunately, a lot of people at higher levels are able to do that. When you apply it, because this is where some people really argue with me on my video is they’re like, “Oh well, my own knee exploded from a calf slicer. There’s a break where I got actually hurt. How dare you tell me that calf slicers aren’t effective?” Well, I don’t care that you’re a blue belt who’s 45 years old who has a job and a family, you’re not the person that I’m trying to aim to achieve at to try and submit here. It’s, yes, you have to respect a calf slicer in the same way that I myself have to respect a calf slicer because of my own functional limitations of movement. If you put Gordon Ryan or Caio Terra or Vinny Magalhães in a calf slicer, you’re never going to be able to do anything that causes actual damage to the person or let alone catastrophic damage where we can actually take that limb out of working use because that’s like our goal. We want to be able to with submissions against the limbs when we’re looking at joint locks, not just like a light pop of something or a tweak of the knee. We need to actually be able to cause catastrophic damage that impedes the person from being able to fight any longer. Even that, we still see like varying limits of success with other submissions as well. As long as we’re trying to focus it on the highest, the cream of the crop on the most flexible and the strongest individuals, then as I’ve been saying, then we’re covered for everything underneath that. We’re always trying to look at documented breaks at the highest level and consistent taps. That’s where heel hooks, we see people’s knees get absolutely just devastated where they can’t go on. Then we still see even the heel hook where we look at Craig Jones versus Vinny Magalhães just recently. While he did significantly hurt Vinny, it was at least so far it looks like a different part of Vinny’s ankle that was injured instead of his knee. They still talked about it for a while throughout the match before Vinny actually came to agreement to just stop there. Vinny was able to stand up and keep fighting. Here’s someone who is extremely flexible and strong and a talented black belt and he was able to eat this thing and it still hurt him devastatingly, but he was still able to stand on it afterwards. You’re always going to have certain limited success once we get to the highest level like that, but something a calf slicer, we never see it at the higher levels. When we even see it in MMA, then we have to now take into context the grappling experience between the individuals there because we will have that asymmetrical information between the two where one person is nowhere near the same grappling level. Maybe it’s a striker versus grappler, maybe it’s too low level grapplers. Maybe it’s a high level grappler versus a low level grappler. There’s all these variables we have to take in the place of why this submission works. We want to see the submissions work, but we also want to see them work consistently because even calf slicers, there are a few instances of them working at the highest level at black belt. It’s there. It’s just something that when we’re talking about efficient use of our time, most of us aren’t training 40 hours a week and looking to become world champions and doing steroids to be able to keep that training up for years and years. When I have people that are only training as hobbyists even, and they’re training two times a week, maybe two hours a session, they don’t have time to develop all the different areas of Jiu-Jitsu or spend time developing an area just to have to throw it away, essentially, once they get to a certain point, like, “Oh, calf slicers did me really good up until brown belt, but now that I’m black belt, I’m going to have to redo the stuff.” No, I want them to learn something, a technique like say a heel hook effectively at white belt. Then that way they’re able to take it with them all the way to black belt and all they’ve had to do is continue refining that technique just they would their guard passes or the guard retention movements and they’re going to be that much more effective at it and it’s going to be something that they can tap anybody with and they’d never have to get rid of that. That’s where I think Rob’s done such a good job with the after to Jiu-Jitsu approach, the ways we drill and the techniques that he will specifically show and what he wants us to spend more time on than others, allow some of our students to be very effective grapplers within a much shorter time frame. When I think of the grappler I was at about five years of training. I’m just disgusted when I see some of these guys at three months demonstrating stuff and they’re passing in their guard retention in ways that I just was unable to because I didn’t have that kind of training because it was before I trained with Rob.

Sonny: Okay yes that makes a lot of sense. I think it’s interesting you bring up the Vinny Magalhães knee break or ankle break there in regards to false positives. Because I was thinking about it and Vinny mentioned that he had really flexible feet obviously beforehand and he made leg walks don’t work his mantra or his brand. I was thinking like okay if he does have these really flexible feet he’s obviously been getting away with it in training a lot where people would have been putting him into heel hooks and taking his heel to an awkward angle and Vinny wasn’t having to tap to that. Because we can see that the angle that Craig did have to take to actually get the break.

Rory: Ruthless.

Sonny: Ruthless right? In training people would have been taking it to weird angles and probably thinking, “Whoa,” backing off and Vinny is not tapping and he would have been getting that feedback that leg locks don’t work but obviously they do.

Rory: Yes, and I think even a mindset of leg locks don’t necessarily work as well on me would have been a more honest way of– It doesn’t sell as well obviously and you don’t want to make it into assured. But it’s like okay he could understand and he always explained that for him he is extremely flexible and he is very strong and he’s obviously a very technical black belt. Leg locking Vinny is why he’d never got submitted for so many years. Most people could look at that and go, “No, that is such an outlier of the situation. Where like that’s rare, that we can’t even really consider that.” Vinny has his own little pocket over there or something like calf slicers we can look at. I’m not the only one that says it. Even Ryan Hall in his most recent Modern 50 50 instructional said that nobody taps the calf slicer. So it’s like if Ryan says it then it’s more okay obviously. He’s much more renowned and respected because of his competition experience and what he’s done like in the UFC and grappling as a whole with instruction.

Sonny: Yes, no, I agree with that. You did mention that I put out a video on calf slices and I think it just happened to be the same week I put out a video on calf slices in MMA. You happen to put out a video why calf slices are terrible and you should never use them. I thought that was a complete coincidence but it was a funny coincidence nonetheless.

Rory: Then someone could still look at what you had talked about and be like okay if I’m competing MMA and that’s my goal we are seeing the success of calf slicers in MMA. So if the person isn’t as competent as a grappler then absolutely calf slicers can be effectively used.

Sonny: But I still think there is that the benefit of just looking at the high percentage ones in the first goal of anyone in MMA should be take the back, choke them out. Take them down past guard, get in the back, choke them out with a rear-naked choke. .

Rory: Especially in MMA where you have so many different things to learn. Because you have to now become a jack of all trades with your striking, with your clench and with your grappling. Absolutely, any of those guys that got calf sliced in that– It was great compilation and breakdown that you did that I bet any one of them could also have been heel hooks. And by practicing heel hooks you would have gotten all those guys and then you would have then also created a failsafe system that now you’re going to be able to take it to the higher level so that when they’re competing in a higher level MMA events and going up potentially a good leg lock they’re going to be able to have a higher chance to finish them as well.

Sonny: Yes, for sure. I’d agree with that. One thing I’ve also thought about with that idea of false positives is that classic Bruce Lee saying roughly is take what’s useful to you, discard what’s useless and add uniquely your own. I feel like now that that can be overused for people to justify low percentage moves or things that they’re getting false positives. They can just turn around and go it’s what Bruce Lee says, it works for me so I’m going to keep it in my game. But the way you’re approaching it I think makes a lot more sense. Not that I’m saying Bruce Lee is wrong. I just think that that phrase’s been repurposed for a lot of people to just train stuff that doesn’t have that high percentage utility. One thing we’ve talked about, the F your Jiu-Jitsu, the concepts and ways to drill techniques. When people are just doing the traditional drilling in your class what would be– Is it like we’ve seen most people would drill in their school or is there something just about your traditional drilling when you guys are getting in reps that you do differently or that you think most people should be doing that they aren’t?

Rory: It’s not too much different. Obviously, when we’re teaching we teach systems of anything. So it’s always interconnected techniques. We have modules that go through the fundamentals every week or sometimes two weeks and then for a more advanced it’s one month modules. Where if we’re going to be talking about Kimura control we’re doing only Kimuras for the entire month so that people are going to be able to keep stacking upon techniques. When we get people to drill, they’re first shown a technique and we really emphasize the idea that it’s not just one person drilling at a time. Like the usual where you have the person perform a move in the uke. You have both people getting better together. So we need to have the training partner. Whether it’s just knowing the proper– Like if say we’re doing closed guard, I’m going to teach them closed guard stuff I need the person on top to also know how to properly put themselves in alignment in closed guard and be able to create little bit of resistance and know how to effectively respond so that the person who’s drilling close guard is going to be able to do it against somebody who’s a better training partner rather than somebody who’s like– You see it sometimes like the person who lays on the back like a dead fish because no longer they’re trying to do the guard passing and so they’re given just the crappiest feedback or no feedback at all. Just star fished out while their partner is doing toreando passes and stuff like that which isn’t very good. We want to make sure that both people are engaged and trying to learn something at the same time. Then we like to have at least a minimum of five to 10 reps each that the students do before they switch. I think that’s probably the biggest change. Not that it’s like the monumental difference. I really dislike classes where people only do one move each or two moves each and then they switch turns. Like if you’re doing a sweep where it’s like you sweep me and then because I’m on my back I’ll now sweep you back and let’s just go back and forth like that. I think the brain needs to switch into like a learning mode as it’s doing it. So for me, speaking from my own experience, sometimes the first or second rep of your set can just suck. Even if you’re midway in the class it’s just not technically the best that it could be. So by taking the time to do five reps before switching with your partner or upwards of 10 reps before switching just allows you to keep dialing in and more and more. It just becomes too disconnected, disjointed when you’re just doing one rep or two reps and then handing it back to your partner and allowing them to do it. Certainly I can’t watch some people do it because it keeps the two people actively jumping in. But it doesn’t take that long to just do five reps consistently or 10 reps consistently provided you’re not talking the whole time. Like some people aren’t the best when it comes to drilling but just dedicated five 10 reps bang them out. Can be slower, can be faster and then switch and that part is huge there. Then just same thing where it’s drilling, we will drill one technique or two techniques for an entire class. If you came into my class and I’m going to be teaching you like the tripod sweep. I’m going to teach you the tripod sweep and you’re going to spend probably about 20 minutes doing just that. Then we’re going to clean up the actual technical stand up part of finishing the sweep once your partner has fallen to the ground. Then maybe a slight variation on that. But typically, it’ll be just the tripod sweep and then more emphasis spent on also finishing the sweep coming up and possibly putting yourself into a great position to start passing immediately off of it. I don’t like classes that also then show you 20 different techniques or some of that seminars who are notorious for where you go to a seminar and you just get bombarded with like 20 techniques within a three hour class and at the end of it it’s like, “Holy crap, I have no idea what I’m supposed to take away from that anymore. I’ve forgotten everything.”

Sonny: For me definitely the best seminars I’ve been to are ones that just focus on just one move, one position and you just end up spending an hour or two just focusing on that and that’s really noticeable now that I’ve done a fair few seminars over the years that the stuff I can remember is going to be from those seminars that are structured like that. The best that I can remember from seminars that just show a lot of different moves is just little dribs and drabs of stuff there. I agree with you on that one. It’s been a good chat, Rory, and I just want to– Finishing up just some advice you can give to people on– If you were to go back and meet yourself when you first started training martial arts or training as a white belt, what would be a piece of advice that you could give yourself back then that you think would help you learn faster or just would be good advisor role?

Rory: Oh, man that could be a whole bunch of different things. All the mistakes I’ve made in my life. Focusing on the parts that I think has been most important to me now. Especially even as a black belt but what’s really helping and I had Rob there fortunately to guide me was what we’ve been talking about of making sure that we’re practicing legit techniques that are proven. Try and stay away from chasing the YouTube rabbit hole, instructionals necessarily, or especially Instagram videos. Now, there are good channels like obviously if you want to check out Sonny’s channel or my channel, there’s going to be some good stuff there. Just at least be hesitant on where you’re trying to get the information from because there’s a lot of crap out there. Obviously, learning a conceptual approach will give you a framework for being able to have the ability to identify bullshit that’s out there. Watch competition and see what these guys are doing at the highest levels. If you have some amazing moves that you’ve never seen at the highest level, the reality is it’s that is probably crap what you’re doing. It can be defeating because I find a lot of people get really attached to their techniques. Then they get offended when we tell them that those techniques aren’t valid at the highest level. Like you were saying where it’s like people– You just have that technique that you’re working on at the gym and you have success with it. Some people really grab onto that stuff and they become resistant to change. They’re just techniques. They’re just tools that we can use. Watch the stuff that’s being used at the highest level and use that as the filtration of knowing what works. If it’s going to work on and if Gordon Ryan submitted with something, then absolutely it’s going to work on everybody underneath him including that drunk guy that you run into at the bar if you’re able to make that work. Just make sure to try and not go down these rabbit holes of practicing all these wacky and crazy techniques. We have a filtration process in Jiu-Jitsu and it’s quite easy to see what actually works out there.

Sonny: That’s beautiful. Beautiful advice that everyone can benefit from that. Even I know that I’ve spent time working on techniques that for sure the time’s better spent in other areas. Maybe next time I can get you to come back on and we can discuss submissions 101 and the pentagram trick a little bit.

Rory: Yes. I’ve got lots to say about submissions 101. [laughter]

Sonny: During this whole COVID-19 thing, we certainly have the time to do another one of these or more. I think that’d be a funny discussion also to go over that. We’ll save that for another day because I’m sure you’ve got a lot to say on that. If people want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to do it? Obviously your YouTube channel which I highly recommend everyone goes and checks out. I also know you’ve got a few instructionals on sale or just to buy if people are looking for those.

Rory: Yes, my YouTube channel RVV BJJ is where I do most of my work that’s got me I guess any little bit of notoriety around in the small part of the Jiu-Jitsu community. I work with my instructor Rob Biernacki on in which he does amazing stuff that I’ve been talking about in a very well set up way with curriculums for you to be able to learn from. I have a guard retention formula with Stephan Kesting. I have some instructionals that I’ve been doing. About 14 or 15 instructionals at this point with Gold BJJ which is an excellent company. They have an online training academy. I also have to really recommend their products. They’re some of my favourite products I’ve ever got to use for gears and backpacks and stuff like that. The best way to reach me just for messages is through Instagram or Facebook. Whether it’s my personal Facebook accounts or my RVV BJJ Facebook account. Especially right now a lot of downtime, I’m always on there. If you guys have any questions about anything, I am happy to chat about really anything at this point.

Sonny: Beautiful. Thanks, I’ll put all the links to those in the show notes if people want to check them out. Thanks so much for your time Rory. Hopefully, we can do it again in the future.

Rory: That sounds perfect, Sonny, let’s do it again.

Rory van Vliet Resources


Rory van Vliet - BJJ Alignment Theory