Rafael Lovato Jr.’s BJJ Game is Like TETRIS?

About the Author: Dan Faggella is a BJJ Academy Owner, No Gi Pan Am Champion at 130 pounds, and recognized BJJ expert analyst and writer. Dan writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more – you can check out his recent 2013 Worlds Video Breakdowns over at www.MicroBJJ.com/championbreakdown

Is BJJ like Human Chess or is it Really like Human Tetris?

Quick, what’s one of the BEST video games ever made?  Mario Kart?  Zelda?  Star Fox?  Grand Theft Auto?  Madden?  Well, those are all excellent, excellent choices to make.  However, the specific answer that we are looking for in this category is Tetris.

Ah yes, the hours that can be spent on any given day playing that game.  Sitting in front of the screen watching the various blocks dropping in from nowhere as they helplessly search for a home, the addiction grows with each line of blocks that pass.

In a sense, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is much like Tetris in the sense that is has a lot to do with timing and alignment of the blocks, or in this case, body parts.  Rather than each line drifting off into oblivion, your opponent taps out or you simply out work them, either way, it’s a cool feeling.

Rafael Lovato vs. Roger Narvaez-Grapplers Quest

PART I. Accelerating Speeds

In Tetris, as the game grows older, the pace at which the blocks fall speeds up to a frantic pace, as it does in BJJ.  However, I was watching a Rafael Lovato match from a recent Grapplers Quest event in Texas when he took on Roger Narvaez.

An oddity of sorts, while the Tetris blocks/body parts began finding proper alignment, the pace for Lovato always seemed to have stayed the same.   A methodical approach indeed, it was almost too easy for Lovato to dictate where the match went, rendering Narvaez useless when he was on the mat.

Lovato dominated from the start, it was quite unfair to say the least.

Pressuring Without Having To Pressure

  In many of Lovato Jr.’s matches, there is always a sense of dominance in form of pressure.  Rafael loves to dictate where the fight goes by controlling the guard of his opponent, and exerting his own will upon them – I’ve written about Lovato’s pressure passing and the articles have been featured in many places…my most recent article about Rafael Lovato Jr.’s Pressure Passing System is being featured on BJJLegends – so if you’re interested you can check the article out by clicking here.

In this match, he continued this trend but in a different fashion.  Early on, he obtained back mount, and almost instantly it seemed as if Narvaez began to panic.  Knowing his neck was up for grabs, Roger began focusing on the hands of Rafael, which opened up room for a body triangle to be planted around his waist.

From here, Narvaez began to work extra hard to free himself from the grips of Lovato.  However, watching the video, it seemed as if Rafael wasn’t even trying to stop him.  The force of the grip was too much to break, and Lovato knew this.

Roger worked and worked; while Rafael calmly sat back allowing him to deplete himself of his energy reserves.  Like a shark stalking it’s pray, Lovato saw an opportunity to strike and sunk in a vicious rear naked choke for the victory.

It was truly a thing of beauty to watch.  A strategic yet vicious grappler, Lovato has proven time and time again that his tactical approach is pretty close to flawless and works in various ways.  Given that fact, they all tend to end the same; with Rafael getting a victory.

-Dan Faggella

If you’re interested in learning more about Rafael Lovato Jr. and want to see more of his matches and highlights head over to his page on Science of Skill

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