Wim Deputter

I talk to Wim Deputter who is Belgium based Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We discuss how Jiu-Jitsu is a principle that means a Boxer could be doing Jiu-Jitsu, but you could be a BJJ player and not be doing Jiu-Jitsu. How Wims “Mirroring Principle” is an algorithm and fundamental movement rule that guides BJJ, MMA, Striking and self-defence situations.

How constraints placed on any art will determine what that art can become and how constraining beginners to focus on control and then to allow controlled chaos can be the best way for them to develop.

Wim is a lifelong martial artist also fighting MMA where he amassed a very respectable record of 18 and 4. He has done multiple seminars for the BJJ Globetrotters organisation and has four instructionals out with BJJ Fanatics that cover his Mirroring Principle.




[00:00] – Introduction to Episode 007
[02:03] – Wim’s Background
[05:47] – Wim Tells About His First MMA Fight
[07:18] – Why He Was Doing Boxing and Jiu-Jitsu at the Same Time
[10:00] – The Ideal Score for a Jiu-Jitsu Match
[11:12] – What Ideal Jiu-Jitsu Should Be
[14:02] – The Short Competitive Career in Jiu-Jitsu
[15:54] – How to Make Efficient Use of Energy
[18:50] – Tip for Calm Breathing
[20:15] – Taking a Day off While Training Jiu-Jitsu
[22:19] – Your Outcome Will Depend on the Constraints You Put
[23:09] – The Idea of Jiu-Jitsu Without Time Limit
[25:18] – Wim’s Mirroring Principle
[30:25] – The Importance of Correct Posture
[34:10] – How to Make Your Grip Stronger?
[37:13] – Applying the Mirroring Principle to Self Defence
[39:53] – Difference Between Following and Mirroring
[40:05] – Perceives Pressure and Actual Pressure
[45:10] – How to Apply Gentle, Constant Pressure?
[47:19] – Wim’s Coaching Methodology
[50:40] – How to Be Comfortable When You’re on a Mount?
[52:05] – How to Make Coaching Safe for Kids?
[55:05] – A Good and a Subjective Interpretation of Jiu-Jitsu
[57:29] – Wim Defines Offence and Defence
[1:00:34] – Why Does Wim Focus On Teaching Defence to the Beginners First?


The Ideal Score In A Match

The ideal score in a match is 90. For taking the person down as his guard, mount him, choke him. It is 60 when you take him down as his guard, and you roll away.

Ideal Jiu-Jitsu

He says people often say if you want to see the real jiu-jitsu, you’ve to go to the gym. It’s never ideal jiu-jitsu in training and competition. In training and competition, it’s always ideal Jiu-Jitsu in terms of rules. If you’re three points behind and there’s one minute to finish the game, then you’ve to do whatever is necessary to still win the game. So you cannot do the ideal thing.

Making Efficient Use Of Energy

On asking if we can take a strategic rest round to make the most efficient use of energy, Wim answers, “No, we shouldn’t do that.” If you do weightlifting, then how many times do you’ve to do a weightlifting program to feel like one rep max. So once in the beginning, you’ll always do rep max. And then, in the end, everyone is allowed to test what’s your capability. But you’re never going to train with your one-rep max because you’re going to get injured and tired. The same thing happens with training. So, the efficient use of jujitsu within those rounds within that hour, within the week of training, will mean that you don’t have to take a day off because you’re constantly training in the most efficient way possible.

Tip For Calm Breathing

Make sure your movement follows your breathing, not that your breathing follows your movement. If you are breathing rapidly, even without moving, you will get tired and anxious. But if you say, no matter how hard my opponent goes, I’m always going to breathe calmly. You’ll not get tired by doing that.

So if you decide to breathe calmly, it means that your partner will be able to move faster than you, but it will be at the cost of his stamina. It will be like I’d instead be mounted with all of my energy left than breathing rapidly and guessing. You cannot make a proper decision when you guess. 

The difference between self-defence and an average punch in MMA

To explain the difference, he says, “If I’m mounted in MMA or a grappling match without strikes, the main difference is time with punches. We have a limited amount of time to get out before we get past. You have to do the correct thing right away. Whereas in Jiu-Jitsu, where there are no punches, the only pressure can be the points. But even with the punch pressure, the risk is the same. You’ve to get out of there as fast as possible.”

Taking a day off

Our lives as humans everybody thinks like, Monday to Friday we work. Then on Saturday and Sunday, we take a day off. He says, “tell me one animal in nature who works five days a week and takes two days off. Nobody does that. Even if you take an example of people who live in Tribes, I don’t think they ever take a day off. They might do different work in different seasons. It’s always a little bit of work every day, but never to the point of exhaustion. As humans, we’re not the strongest or the fastest organism on the earth. But we are the animals who can run the furthest of all the animals. We have the best endurance of all the animals. So, this should be the way we should train.”

The mirroring principle

He describes it as an algorithm that you can use. It tells you where to move and when in relation to your opponent’s movement and posture. For example, if your opponent has a straight spine and the head is upwards, you can sweep him upwards. We can always move people in the direction of their spine.

Applying the mirroring principle to self-defence

When it comes to self-defense, you’ve to try to put some psychological pressure like insulting someone, going close to someone without touching them, and then seeing how the person reacts. So, there has to be an initial catalyst of pressure onto the opponent in some form that will force them into making the first reaction to that pressure. And then, if you’re paying attention, you can begin to mirror that. And you will because they reacted to the pressure first. As long as you keep mirroring them, you’ll always have the advantage over them.

Offence, Defence, and Survival

The offence is going from a neutral position and gradually improving your position until the match is over. At the same time, defence is going from an inferior position and progressively enhancing your position. Survival is keeping the status quo.



[23:45] – As humans, we’re not the strongest or the fastest organism on the earth. But we are the animals who can run the furthest of all the animals. We have the best endurance of all the animals.

[27:10] – Yoga should be the basis of all sports.

[31:39] – Posture is like building a house. We can make the most beautiful, elaborate, and complicated house. If we use bad material or bad foundations, the first wind will blow your house away. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your house is, it will get destroyed. The same goes for your posture. A good posture will make sure your body is safe and make it as efficient as possible.

[37:35] – The best distance in a self defence fight is the biggest distance possible.

[40:08] – In the mirroring principle, the one who moves first loses.

[51:30] – Defence only makes sense against a good attack

[56:32] – Wrestling is the most ideal art of self-defence.

[1:02:09] – If you think of self-defense, guard passing is the least helpful thing you should learn about.


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Wim Deputter