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Marcelo Garcia vs JT Torres: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Breakdown

by Tom Reynolds on March 18, 2011

Our other breakdowns got a ton of positive feedback so I thought I would share this video of Marcelo Garcia rolling with JT Torres back in August.

This is a great nogi BJJ match between two high level black belts.

It’s hard to understand just how good Marcelo is.  I remember watching some of his matches from the ADCC Tournament in 2005 and trying to figure out how he was crushing everyone, no matter their size.  It’s because of him that I became obsessed with arm drags, the x-guard, and taking the back.  Now I’m starting to realize that it’s not his build or those techniques that made him so good.

Marcelo Garcia is a master of the fundamentals.

I’m starting to see some the small things that he does that makes him so good, and I’ll do my best to break that down below.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Breakdown

  1. From the start, Garcia is looking for the standing sweep. He’s starting with wrist control to pull JT’s weight down. He’s looking to hook JT’s ankles and come up with the sweep or single leg takedown.
  2. At :15, Garcia snaps JT’s head down, hooks his calves with his feet to pull him in and gets up right away into the single leg.  Most people will start the sweep and let the guy on top scramble out.  Instead, Garcia always follows up his techniques because he knows that it’s the off-balance and the transitions that give you your sweeps and takedowns.
  3. At :27, Garcia stands up and JT goes straight into a De La Riva/Spiral guard where he’s hooking the ankle with his hand and keeping pressure on Marcelo’s leg with his legs. The idea is to go into different sweeps, but Garcia kills it with his movement until JT goes into a great transition from deep half guard to a single leg.
  4. Watch Marcelo’s right hand at 1:00. He goes straight into the butterfly sweep then uses that arm and shoulder to force JT flat and end up with the guard pass.
  5. A great back take from 1:50 and on. JT goes for half guard and when he does, Marcelo steps over and takes the back while trapping JT’s arm with his leg.
  6. JT shows a high level sweep at 4:45. Watch how he transitions from the De La Riva guard and comes under to try to take Garcia’s back.  To lock the sweep when he knows he can’t get the back, he triangle’s his legs so that Marcelo can’t move his hips.
  7. Watch the BJJ transition from 7:00 and on. JT starts to pass so Marcelo goes for a butterfly sweep.  JT goes with it and swings his right leg under Marcelo to start to take his back.  He stays locked to Marcelo with his upper body then locks in the triangle body lock. He doesn’t force anything.  Instead, JT waits for Marcelo to give him a little space and immediately uses that space to get deeper onto the back.
  8. Pay attention to the constant adjustments of his hips JT uses to keep the back.

Post any questions you have about the match in the comments section below!

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  • Stefan Palmer

    Marcelo Garcia’s guard passing is unreal

    • Eric

      Yes I agree.

      He seems to have the same basic pass though that works really well for him.

      He’ll stand and lead with his right leg as bait. He’ll then pivot around with his left leg almost like he is giving up his back.

      Sometimes he will drop to his hip and start to pass while on his right side with his back to his opponent. Other times he will do that then quickly step his left leg over into a standard half guard pass.

  • vince anila

    Wow. I’m gonna have to watch that a few times.

    Thanks, Eric!

    • Eric

      Glad you liked it Vince. I enjoyed it as well.

  • Great stuff. 

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