The Golden Rules of Grappling

Gepubliceerd op 18 november 2020 om 22:17

Let's look at the golden rules of grappling according to Chris Haueter.

Chris Haueter is a legend in the jiu-jitsu world.  He got his BJJ black belt in 1996 under Rigan Machado and is considered one of the "dirty dozen", the first 12 non Brazilian black belts in the USA. He also happens to be a renowned instructor with a hilarious sense of humor.

The way Chris Haueter speaks about Brazilian jiu-jitsu and the grappling arts overall has helped countless of jiu-jitsu martial artists improve their grappling ability and understanding of jiu-jitsu.

Haueter's definition of jiu-jitsu 

“The history of what we do right now is basically Japanese origin, Brazilian modified, American and Russian influenced grappling.  It’s not like Helio, Carlos, Carlson, and George suddenly made up this whole jiu jitsu game.”


Haueter’s Golden Rules of Grappling

Rule 1: Be on top, stay on top and win on top.

Rule 2: When on bottom, have an impassable guard.

Rule 3: Never forget Rule 1 (avoid the seduction of the bottom guard)


Chris considers the 3 major grappling sports Judo, Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

The first rule is the most important rule.  Be on Top, Stay on Top and Win on Top.  This is prevalent in all grappling martial arts.  The top position is the dominant position.

The second rule for all grappling sports is When on bottom, have an impassable guard.

The third rule is don't forget about rule number one due to the temptation to be a lazy jiu-jitsu fighter and stay comfortable in the guard. 

The guard changed everything in grappling arts, but it is a learned skill.  If you watch 2 novice fighters go at it, with no martial arts training, you would not see a guard at all.  But, if you wanted 2 experienced jiu-jitsu fighters, most of the match would happen in the guard.

Why?  We know the goal is to be on top, win on top, and stay on top.  The top positions being side control, mount or back control. When you have a guard it is impossible to get to one of those top controlling positions.  That is why part of rule number 2 is to have a guard no-one can pass. 

People often wonder why we are seeing the guard evolve now in the past 30 years, when in all the martial arts before, there was very little signs of a guard. One of the philosophies is that the invention on mats made it easier to train on the ground. MMA also changed this, once the rules were removed, and the fighters were allowed to stay on the ground, the guard became a determining factor in where the fight would take place.

From there, jiu-jitsu continued to evolve.  No one invented jiu-jitsu, it is a consistent evolution over the years.  But as Chris warns, don't get too caught up in the seductiveness of only fighting from guard.  Remember Golden Rule Number 1: Be On Top, Stay On Top, Win on Top.

Chris Haueter is known for his Fundamental, simple and very effective approach to jiu-jitsu and the grappling arts.  He has an innovative teaching style that makes the fundamentals make sense and shows the value in learning the basics. 

If you are looking for something different than just learning another guard sweep on YouTube, you may want to take a step back and look at the roots of jiu-jitsu and start thinking about how to improve your fundamental jiu-jitsu concepts and skills.


If you want to better understand the way Chris Haueter thinks about jiu-jitsu, watch the video below!  It is well worth your time!


You will also find this link interesting where Chris gives a speech at a BJJ camp:

Below are some other famous things he said. Maybe it can inspire you!