The Pareto Principle for Jiu Jitsu

Ryan Young from Kama Jiu Jitsu just released a video discussing the Pareto Principle and how it applies to jiu jitsu. I recently wrote about this as well when I reviewed the 80/20 Principle and how I thought it applied to learning jiu jitsu.

In the video below, Professor Ryan goes into some detail regarding how the Pareto Principle can be used to improve your jiu jitsu game. As he states in the video, if you know one hundred moves, maybe ten of those moves would account for 50% of your success on the mat.

To take this further, the 80/20 principle finds that it’s actually 80% of your effort that will lead to 20% of your success.

So what does this mean? Essentially that you should identify the moves that lead to your greatest successes, and concentrate your training on those moves. Not the exclusion of others of course. You’ll still want to learn new stuff, refine moves that maybe aren’t coming as naturally, etc. But the core of your training should be focused on improving those moves which are already winners for you. At least according to the Pareto Principle.

Professor Ryan gives one caveat in this video: if your best moves are complex moves such De La Riva, at the expense of fundamentals, then you should really focus on sharpening up your fundamentals. You may be a wizard at flying armbars, but those kinds of moves will never be as high-percentage in success as a good old-fashioned Mata Leão.

Voodoo Floss for Recovery

I’ve had some nagging issues with my bicep and forearm on my left arm, and recently messed up my knee from getting caught in a heel hook. None of these issues are healing as fast as I’d like. I went to see the doctor and his best advice was to rest and let it heal. I probably need to see a good sports doctor, someone who can give me some exercises to speed up the recovery, but for now I’ll rely on Doctor Google.

I have been trying some of the stuff I’ve seen online for recovering from tendon/muscle strain. These include stretches, and using foam rollers to really get into the tissue. I’ve had some success with that, but still the pain is lingering. It’s been months for the bicep/forearm issue, and about 5 weeks for the knee.

I was talking with a friend at the place I train jiu jitsu about this. He was previously a power lifter, and had some lingering issues in the past as well. He recommended trying Voodoo Floss. I’d never heard of Voodoo Floss before, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Voodoo Floss works by compression. You wrap it relatively tightly around any affected area, and do range of motion exercises for that area, for a period of around 2 minutes (you don’t want to overdue it, due to the vascular occlusion that occurs). When you are done with the exercises and you release the band the theory is that all the blood rushes back to the area, bringing more nutrients to the injury than before. There may be some additional benefits due to “fascial tearing”, which I guess is the layers of tissue sliding on each other while compressed.  From everything I’ve read online their seems to not really be any good scientific research of what’s actually going on. The results are mostly based on anecdotal evidence, but I’m willing to give it a shot to see if it  helps.

After one session of doing range of motion exercises with the Voodoo Floss there was an improvement in my bicep, it felt “released” and no pain at all after that. Success! I did the same with my forearm and knee, and did not get immediate results, but will continue to do work with those areas and see what works.

Here are a couple of videos I watched to get an idea of how to use the Voodoo Floss:

How to Build a Grappling Dummy

This is my take on making a homemade grappling dummy. My goal was to create something durable, flexible, and strong, and to try to do it as cheaply as possible. I tried to do this under 50 dollars, but I ended up spending about 80 dollars. This design took a lot of duct tape, which was about half the cost. If you can get *good* duct tape cheaper than I did (about 10 dollars a roll), then you might be able to get the cost down. Regardless, I still saved a ton over buying one outright.

I started the design based on this link on various tutorials I’ve seen online. I combined a couple of ideas and built what I have listed below. I wanted to put together a detailed tutorial on how to build one, because I didn’t see a really well spelled out tutorial online already.

I’ve had some time to practice with this dummy. So far it seems pretty sturdy. I will update this page if there end up being any issues with it. Since this design uses the service cable, the flexibility allows you to position this dummy in a variety of ways, and the strength of the service cable allows the dummy to hold it’s position on it’s own. It can sit in upright in your guard, or wrap you in guard, etc.


  • 9 Feet of Service Entrance Cable, Aluminum, 4/0-4/0-2/0 200 Amp “AA8176 style U-type AWG 2” – Can be found at Lowes for about $1.89 a foot as of the time of this article. It comes bundled with 3 cables, the bundle of 3 at 9 feet will cost around 18 dollars total.
    I deteremined the measurement of 9 feet for my frame by making the following calculations:

    • Measure the length of your foot x2 (if you have a 10 inch foot, then double that and make it 20)
    • Measure the length of your leg x2 (same for the leg, if you have 36 inch leg, then double it and make it 72)
    • Measure the width of your waist (if it’s 15 inches across don’t double this length, just keep it 15)
    • Add all the above measurements together 20 + 72 + 17 = 109 inches = approximately 9feet

    As you’ll see later in the instructions, the piece of cable that makes up the feet/legs/waist would be the longest length you would need.

  • 3 to 4 rolls of Duct Tape. I used a little over 3 rolls, you might be able to do it with a little less. (30 – 40 dollars)
  • 2 Tennis Balls – 2 dollars at Target.
  • 2 – 2″ x 15″ x 17″ sheets of High Density Foam. Can be found at Jo-Ann Fabrics for around 10 dollars a sheet.
  • Some filler material – I used 2 bed sheets and an old thick sweatshirt, all bought from good will for about 5 dollars total.
  • 3 Pool noodles – Target, about 4 dollars a piece
  • 1 pair of socks.
  • A mop, the kind with a hollow steel handle, and the stringy mop head that attaches directly to the handle, not to an piece of plastic between the handle and the head. The “Quickie – Clean Results Wet Mop” is what I used. About 7 dollars at Lowes.
  • A knife
  • A hacksaw

Continue reading “How to Build a Grappling Dummy”

Autophagy for Jiu Jitsu Recovery

I’m always trying to dial in my diet in order to help my jiu jitsu training. It seems that I’m constantly trying to overcome the length of time it takes to recover after training, and more specifically the length of time it takes to recover after injury.

My latest injuries include a fractured foot, possible “golfer’s elbow” (probably from holding onto lapels too tightly when playing closed guard), and a slightly torn tendon in my knee. None of these injuries are healing that well, which has caused me to scale back my training the past couple of weeks.

It lead me to think about what could cause things to take so long to heal. Granted, I’m a little older so generally my body recovers more slowly than it did in my 20’s. But I wonder if there is anything I can do with diet to speed up recovery?

This lead me to look into intermittent fasting, and what affect autophagy has on the healing process.

Continue reading “Autophagy for Jiu Jitsu Recovery”