Legendary Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and coach, John Danaher has revealed what he considers to be the three key weaknesses of jiu-jitsu, and what he wishes to do to change them.
Danaher recently featured as a guest on Joe Rogan’s JRE podcast. Rogan himself is an avid practitioner and advocate of jiu-jitsu, so unsurprisingly the topic of conversation rapidly became centred around the sport.
Jiu-Jitsu’s Three Deficiencies
Danaher began to discuss jiu-jitsu as a whole and revealed that he believed the sport has, or had, three glaring weaknesses. He stated that:
“I’ve always said, jiu-jitsu is one of the greatest products I’ve ever seen in my life. I wouldn’t have invested 30 years of my life into jiu-jitsu if I didn’t believe that with all my heart and all my soul. But like any great product, it has its deficiencies. Jiu-Jitsu always had three major deficiencies. Leg locks, takedowns and thirdly the on that no one talks about, the ability to impose top position once it’s gained.”
Danaher went on to state that he has focused much of his career on singling out these weaknesses, or deficiencies as he puts it, and taking steps to counter them.
“A huge part of my career has been the recognition and the attempt to change these three great faults in jiu-jitsu. As much as I love jiu-jitsu, we need to take a step back and take an honest look at it. It’s got these three deeply entwined faults within it.”
One of Danaher’s most notable changes to the sport of jiu-jitsu is his almost revolutionary introduction of the leg lock game. It has become a staple of the Danahar Death Squad and has led to many a world championship title. He stated that:
“Leg locks was the most obvious one. In a game which was supposedly all about controlling into submission, there was an arbitrary rule that 50% of the body couldn’t be attacked. It was lunacy. And for the last 10 years I believe that it’s fair to say that we’ve reached a point where that is no longer the case, that is a great weakness within jiu-jitsu. The younger generation of jiu-jitsu, I would match them against any grappling art in the world on leg locks. With no fear whatsoever.”
The 2 Remaining Weaknesses
Whilst Danaher is happy with his work solving the leg lock issue in jiu-jitsu, he maintains that there are still two major flaws in the sport that must be dealt with. He stated that:
“Jiu-jitsu has to do something about the crisis which is starting to emerge around takedowns and the ability to impose top position. What you see among jiu-jitsu athletes now who go into mixed martial arts is they just have to turn to other arts. They have to learn wrestling. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But the truth is jiu-jitsu has become a relative smaller and smaller component of mixed martial arts. Rather than what it was when it first started which is a dominant force in mixed martial arts. Now for most of the athletes, jiu-jitsu is something you learn to stay out of some pesky submission holds. It’s not the be all and focus for most of the athles in mixed martial arts.”
“I think we have done a great job of over coming one out of three great problems in jiu-jitsu. But there’s still two more to go.”