[First published in 2014.]
They say that you should fear not the man who knows ten thousand kicks, but rather the man who has practiced one kick a thousand times. Black-belt world champion Bernardo Faria is that guy who does half-guard — this is what he’s known for. And we know this because he does it to every single opponent. He does it every day in the gym.
What he calls his “blue-belt half-guard” is a game he started as a blue-belt and has continued to use until now, after being a black-belt for six years and earning a black belt world title. It works because he has spent many, many hours on it. It works against the toughest opponents, against guys who know how to defend deep half and guys who have the strongest base.
He recently released a highlight of him completing a half-guard sweep over and over again on some of the most accomplished athletes in this sport.
What he has to say about choosing a specific game is this:
“In my opinion, to know a lot of techniques is not the hardest part. Everyone can know a lot of techniques if you really study jiu-jitsu. But I think the hardest part is knowing a technique so well that you are able to use it in any situation at any time. Like Malcolm Gladwell explains in his book Outliers regarding the ten thousand hours needed to find success, the hardest part is to spend the ten thousand hours on something. As long as you spend a lot of time on one thing, then you can become an expert on that one thing. I think what many people do is they change a lot and they don’t focus on one game.
“So I think that’s what I’ve done. I have probably spent ten thousand hours doing half-guard. ”