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5 Trends to Pay Attention to in BJJ in 2024

5 bjj trends in 2024
BJJ Otter

BJJ Otter

Highly trained otter. Follow us on Twitter @JiujitsuOter

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BJJ practitioners understand the sport is young and constantly changing. The race to keep up with the latest trends in grappling is unforgiving for those who can’t keep pace. Running BJJ Otter we watch tons of new grappling footage daily, and here’s what we’ve noticed as the most prolific trends going into 2024 for spectators and practitioners alike.

5 bjj trends in 2024

5 BJJ Trends To Watch For In 2024

Even More Wrestling

This is certainly a continuation of a trend we’ve seen since at least 2019 in large part due to a renewed focus on the ADCC format. More and more dedicated guard players at the forefront of the sport are committing to developing a standing game.

This is by far the biggest change to the sport of BJJ that we’ve seen since the mass adoption of leglocks in 2015 – 2018. BJJ players have always been sheepish about learning standing techniques but due to the continued success cases we’ve seen in Craig Jones, Nicholas Meregali, and other dedicated guard players getting GOOD at BJJs standing position, more and more practitioners are following suit.

Expect this trend to continue in 2024. A lot of the other emergent trends will be downstream of this change.

Flying/Standing Submissions

The renewed focus on wrestling has forced a spike in the amount of flying and standing submissions you see in top-level competitions. People often hang onto wrestling ties a bit too long when they’re new to wrestling and this is a prime opportunity for flying submissions.

Mica Galvao has profited off this nicely for example. BJJ players’ newfound confidence in standing back up to their feet from guard and pins has opened up a lot of otherwise unusual submission opportunities as they open up. The Suloev stretch for example has seen what’s relatively a lot of use for a submission you used to never see in BJJ comp.

The use of these kinds of submissions in hobbyist gyms can certainly be debated but for professional comp I think it undoubtedly bodes well for the excitement and viewership of the sport.

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Reduction In Guard Play

The opportunity costs of BJJ trending towards standing positions has been a drastic reduction in traditional guard play. It’s not uncommon to see high-level players have an entire match without any real guard play at all. Save a few specialists it’s rapidly being seen as tactically ineffective (people will simply refuse to engage the guard) and technically ineffective (people stand or scramble up from many traditional sweeps and guards).

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MMA Crossover

There’s been an interesting second-order effect to reduced guard play in BJJ; stylistically it’s evolved into something very similar to the grappling featured in MMA fights. This has led to more MMA fighters being able to hold their own against premier grappling stars in competition as of late.

During the leglock revolution MMA fighters looking to dip their toes into grappling were completely lost when it came to engaging guards, which is understandable as guard passing is a skill they have no use for in their profession. However, in the contemporary grappling game where the focus is on scrambling to the back from a standing position for a finish, MMA fighters fit quite nicely.

It’s indeed what we’ve seen is more professional MMA fighters sign on to compete in grappling events. Gerald Meerschaert, Aljo, Chris Weidman. Overall an amazing thing for the proliferation of the sport and art of BJJ.

Information Revolution

This is the only item on the list not downstream of BJJs recent wrestling focus but it’s probably the biggest trend in terms of impact on the sport, and Tore to al any hai tot dean hat has chan over tong the spared.

Golden Age information was jealously guarded within academies and associations with a metaphorical moat built around it in the form of shaming cross training, keeping sparring footage behind closed doors, and even purposeful misinformation in some cases (the famous Gracie Gift).

Literally every barrier to sharing BJJ instruction has been adamantly torn down. Rolling footage of high-level competitors is shared willingly, people openly cross-train between grappling gyms and styles, you can open your phone and receive instruction from the best coaches in the world in a one-minute video.

The relative scale of this is hard to exaggerate. This has had a massive effect on just about every aspect of BJJ; coaching, belt grading, and competition. But the biggest factor it’s changed is time to proficiency. A practitioner with a relatively decent level of athleticism can give experienced players a real challenge within narrow domains in short order because they can learn to play positions in a day with instructionals.

This will bruise a lot of egos on the mats but it’s good for the overall level of the sport. The average level of BJJ knowledge in gyms is way higher than it used to be and overall it means we can reiterate better and better versions of BJJ as an art and do it in record time, it’s a very exciting time to be a practitioner!

Concluding Remarks

We want to thank BJJ Otter for contributing to our website and keeping us informed about the trends to really pay attention to this year. I know personally, I will be looking forward to seeing the ADCC West Coast Trails and ADCC World Championships this year. With that being said, we want to hear from you! Are there any trends that were missed that would could be added on here? If you have any topic ideas you want to specifically talk about within the realm of BJJ or MMA be sure to DM us for a post!

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