The 80/20 Principle in Jiu-Jitsu

BJJFlowCharts - The 80/20 Principle

Richard Koch wrote his first book about the 80/20 Principle in the late '90s. The principle states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts. Therefore, we should focus on that 20 %, to achieve more with less. You can find some fine literature on the subject (start with his books), especially on how to apply it to your business and personal life.

I believe the 80/20 principle applies perfectly in Jiu-Jitsu, and that's what we'll discuss in this article.

BJJFlowCharts-80/20 Principle


Jiu-Jitsu is in constant evolution. In the last decade, we saw an explosion in terms of the number of techniques. Everyone can share their discoveries on YouTube; we can analyze thousands of matches... And it's overwhelming!

It's easy to get lost, to divide our efforts, and thus, slowing our progress. That's where the 80/20 Principle comes into play!

Let me start by sharing a personal experience. Back in 2015, I just got promoted to Purple Belt, and I was training a lot with my coach. He was playing with the Reverse De La Riva Guard, and he was sweeping me left and right. I spent hours researching RDLR passes, testing many techniques, without success. Until one day, I realized the root of my problem (getting swept) was his grips. I wasn't fighting his grips! When I started to focus on that, I saw a dramatic improvement! (I was still getting swept, but less!)

What I want to illustrate with this example is the impact of focusing on the correct thing. Don't get me wrong; grips are not the only thing you need, but they are essential!

Over the past few years, I structured my training to work on what I defined to be my 20%. Here is how I did it so that you can do it too!

THE 20%

Identifying that famous 20% is an iterative process. Start by analyzing what techniques are high percentages in every major position of the game. Then, you need to find a way to combine them. Your techniques must work together to be efficient! Next, test it during specific sparring. And repeat!

It's a long process that takes time, effort, and experience. I understand it can be a challenge.

I created The Blue Print 2 from that insight. I've seen a lot of people struggling to define their 20%, not knowing where to put their efforts. In The Blue Print 2, I give my 20%, the backbone of all my systems. I believe it would serve you as well as it helps me. One thing for sure, it will save you tons of time!

BJJFlowCharts-The Blue Print 2-Systems and Tactics


Once you defined your 20%, we need a structure to practice as efficiently as possible. I've already talked about training methodologies in How to Train Smarter and Train like the Death Squad. To go one step further, you can download my training structure by clicking on the button below.

I have a six weeks rotation, which at the moment is the best structure I have. You can use it as a starting point for yours.



I want to quote Jonathan Moffett, one of the best drummers in the world, who worked extensively with Michael Jackson for decades. During an interview, talking about his style, he said:

"I can do a lot of things, but I don't because it's not necessary."

I find this quote to summarize perfectly the best Jiu-Jitsu players. Look at Roger Gracie, one of the greats, if not the greatest. Watching his matches, you have the impression you know how it's going to unfold because he always follows the same patterns, and it works every time.

Does it mean he can't do anything else? Of course not, he knows everything and even more, but he doesn't do anything else, because he doesn't have to!

THE 80%

In a Joe Rogan Podcast, Jean Jacques Machado was talking with Joe and Eddie Bravo about Kron Gracie. Joe and Eddie were talking about how impressive Kron's Jiu-Jitsu is and how Kron wasn't using any modern techniques. At some point, Professor Machado said: "If you want to do less, you have to know more."

That, to me, represents the ideal. We need to have a broad general Jiu-Jitsu culture, associated with a very sharp and specialized game. This combination is proven to be deadly!

Don't make the mistake of completely discarding the 80%. You need to know as much as possible so that you can shut down your opponent's game and impose yours.


We've seen how the 80/20 principle can be applied in Jiu-Jitsu and how it can lead to greatness. We've seen how to define your 20%, structure your training, and what to do with the 80%.

And if you need some guidance, The Blue Print 2 is there for you!


If you have any questions, requests, suggestions, or if you just wanna chat, send me an email or a message on Instagram @maxigarami, and I'll be more than happy to talk with you and to hear your feedback.