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Next Level Guy

Oct 22, 2021

Today’s guest is Rob Biernacki. 

Rob is Head instructor of Island Top Team, creator of Submission Formula, BJJ Formula, Modern Leg Lock Formula, purveyor of the Rob Biernacki Online Academy, a master of conceptual jiu-jitsu and occasional masters competitor.

In this interview, we discuss:  

  • Conceptual BJJ
  • The use of Mini-battles to develop your skills and chances to improve.
  • How each area of BJJ can be singled out and worked on by following a 'Blue to Brown' progression path. 
  • How you can improve your BJJ ability as a performer faster?
  • The use of the scientific method in learning
  • And so much more!
To find out more about Rob, you can follow his BJJ academy website follow Island Top Team on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as, and now let's get to the interview.

Here are some key points that I would advise you to concentrate on

  • Who is Rob 
  • An overview of BJJ concepts 
  • BJJ is a sport that is only recently beginning to evolve in the coaching and understanding of the skill development of the sport compared to other modern day sports which are more considerably more advanced.  
  • If you don't have good alignment, you will not be able to advance far, you can be punished and unable to move into positions to use the moves that you have memorised.
  • An understanding of basic physics can really help your BJJ.  
  • BJJ is not a collection of moves, it is a collection of MOVEMENTS! 
  • Once you understand the concepts of BJJ, you can modify the position, the levers, the frames etc to sweep etc without needing to know every sweep, throw etc. 
  • Inertia is the most powerful force in human affairs. 
  • Why are the ideas of concepts not universally taught to all BJJ practitioners? 
  • Most BJJ coaches are people who have trained in BJJ and training others with a business model rather than an excelling at the sport model. 
  • You can switch the view of an opponent to a skeleton frame, and levers to use, spaces to put wedges into etc. 
  • The better Jiu-Jitsu will always win. 
  • Depersonalise your BJJ, its not a slight on you, the better Jiu-Jitsu will always win. 
  • Rob's mission is to help people understand BJJ on a more elevated level, so a beginner can start to understand BJJ conceptually the same as a Black belt would. 
  • Play your BJJ game in a series of mini-battles eg battle for the grips, battle to sweep them and so on. 
  • The use of mini-battles allows you to have some level of success in your training and sparring, and although you may not beat your opponent, you can gain confidence in winning some incremental battles. 
  • You will always improve if you show up to training to develop your skills rather than showing up to training to win every sparring round or challenge. 
  • You need to lose your ego to truly be a beginner and learn open and honest. 
  • How can we use the concepts when we are drilling or training (even in gyms that will not allow you to deviate from their training style)?
  • Anyone can travel to Rob's gym and train there for a free week (as part of his visitor programme, contact him beforehand and can stay in a room there). Please check this is still possible before planning, by contacting Rob for more information. 
  • Stop thinking of every roll as a war. Use intelligent and focused training, use every roll to experience as much movement and trial as possible to learn and develop yourself. 
  • How can we develop our skills off the mats, during COVID lockdowns etc? 
  • The importance of watching high-level competition matches. 
  • Every part of BJJ is a skill that you can isolate and train on, to help excel the overall art. 
  • How should we work on developing our game using a 'Blue belt to Brown belt' stepping stone approach on each skill area. 
  • Learn from everyone, avoid being locked down into one brand or set of teaching of BJJ. Train with the big guys, the fast guys, the new guys and the technical ones too. You can learn from them all. 
  • How can we use the concepts to learn new movements and consume instructionals and use them on a deeper level?
  • BJJ is unique in combat sports for allowing you a high level of self-expression in your game.  
  • How reading really helped Rob grow as a person. 
  • Treat BJJ as a series of experiments and learn from each one as you progress, to build a better understanding.  
  • What he learnt about himself and life from the fire at his academy? 
  • How the scientific method has really helped Rob in his life. 
  • What does Rob want people to take from this interview?