Dan Faggella is a BJJ Academy Owner, No Gi Pan Am Champion at 130 pounds, and recognized expert in the area of lightweight BJJ and BJJ strategy. Dan writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more - find more of his strategy articles and resources at www.MicroBJJ.com

Getting better at grappling… In the past 10 years the Mendes brothers have done a lot of it. From Rafa's "raising up" against Cobrinha in his early black belt days, to Gui’s first world championship – the grappling community has been in relative “awe” regarding their success.
I first saw Rafa’s match (when he was 17, I believe) against Bruno Frazato at the Brazilian ADCC trials and I remember thinking “this kid is unreal.” Sure is.
You can bet that when I had the opportunity to interview these guys (some of which took place in a great little random pizza joint near Joe Capizzi’s gym in Staten Island, NY), one of the first things I wanted to know about was how they focus on and develop the various aspects of their game.

Practical Advice on BJJ Game Development from Gui and Rafa Mendes
Rafael and Guillerme had a relatively simple algorithm for building on individual elements on one’s game, and focusing on improvement:
        Pick 3 Top Techniques to Develop (IE: 3 Leg Drag Techniques)
        Pick 3 Bottom Techniques to Develop (IE: Arm Drag, 2 Inverted De La Riva Sweeps)
        Pick 3 Submissions to Develop (IE: Arm Triangle, Anaconda, RNC)

Now if you were to look at Rafa’s full game plan for his 2009 or 2011 ADCC preparations, you’d see 3 months of intensely mapped out sequences, areas of emphasis, physical exercises, etc…
However, when it comes to determining areas of focus in building your Jiu Jitsu game– the brothers have a pretty strait-forward concept to share:

Keep it Simple
They’d likely warn against randomly focusing on a different move each day, or focusing on a single technique at the expense of the rest of your game. In their’3x3x3′ model, you can pretty much always be working on a distinct area in your game wherever you are.
If your only focus is sweeps, then what do you have to do when you get on top? Pull guard? Its not the end of the world, but it could certainly hinder the other elements of your game.
Just another perspective to consider when as you build your BJJ game. Be well, and train hard,
-Dan Faggella

For more great articles, please keep coming back to this blog right here! To learn more specifically about lightweight BJJ or strategic approaches to BJJ training, you can find Dan Faggella’s other instructional resources online at www.MicroBJJ.com