Adapt Your Grappling Style To Your Lifestyle

I’m sure that we’ve all heard it before, that we each have a “tell” that we have when we lie.  Similar to keeping a good poker face, you can read someone and know when they are lying or something isn’t quite right.  This is an impactful trait, because it allows you to see what someone is really thinking.

This translates very well into the sporting world.  For instance, during my boxing days when I would spar heavily a few times a week, a buddy of mine was able to pick me off before I can mount any type of offense.  He told me it was because he noticed I began to drop my lead hand—albeit an inch—before throwing my jab.  That was my “tell” and it led to me eating counters for days on end.

That brief story is one of many ways you can tell something about a person while competition.  Recently, I sat down with Stephen Whittier who explained a few more ways you can get a read on someone, and how to work on your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game once you crack the 40+ year old range. You can watch part of the interview in the video below.

Can You Tell How Someone Drives By How They Roll?

Helio proved that anyone can grapple over the age of 40

Helio proved that anyone can grapple over the age of 40

This was an intriguing discussion that I had with Mr. Whittier.  In team sports, it’s easy to see what someone thinks of themselves since there are more defined roles.  You can tell “the man” is, who the leader is, and who the “glue guy” is, but with a sport like BJJ, it’s a little more difficult to see who someone is because they have to be all of those guys.

Stephen shared two comparisons that I found very interesting:

  • When watching someone grapple, you can likely tell what their specific driving style is.  Stephen claims that those grapplers who approach the mat with a more aggressive, powerful style are likely to be much more frantic behind the wheel and drive aggressively, while more laid back competitors are the ones who don’t get as frustrated.
  • Another interesting analogy, similar to the driving one, is how you can tell how someone is with the opposite sex by watching them grapple.  If they are aggressive on the mat, chances are that they will pour on the pick-up lines and try their best to win someone over.

I love finding new and unique ways to look into the game of BJJ, and needless to say, Whittier showed me just that. I also got the chance to interview another top BJJ black belt over 40, Micchio Grubs, and you can see what we covered together in my article on the website On the

Posture & Your Upright Guard

When it comes to the actual grappling aspect, Whittier stressed having good posture and working on your upright guard.  Especially for you older grapplers, these are two things that will help you greatly.

These specific instances will help you obtain the back much more easily, which is a fantastic spot to be in.  It also allows you to work your game without doing too much and exhausting your energy. There are hundreds of different ways to formulate your game when you are an older grappler. I cover some of the ways and training techniques in my other article here!

Simply put, Stephen Whittier knows his stuff.  His outlook and take on the sport is fantastic, and is a gem in the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Dan Faggella

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