A few years ago I attended a tournament with my team. I remember leaning against the railing with my coach, Daniel Thomas, watching a match. He absently-minded said something I would ponder for a long time:
“I’d bet that people who get the first takedown win about 60% of the time.”
I didn’t know what to say. How would I know whether that was correct? How would anybody? I decided to just nod. When in doubt, agree with your coach. A few seconds passed, then he said:
“But if you pass guard, I bet it’s more like 80%.”
As a new student at that time, I had the classic problem of information overload. Here was my coach telling me that guard passing was very important, when another world famous black belt I won’t name had once told a whole seminar that no one should ever need to pass guard.
It’s really the number one problem for developing students. A thousand options for what to focus on, and equally as many opinions. I wish I could just see cold, hard data on what people do that works.
Of course, no such data exsited at the time. We had to rely on anecdotal evidence.
Years later, I wrote an article for martialjournal.com titled, “I Watched Over 100 Fights on YouTube. Here’s What I Learned.” The article was a data analysis on street fights. I gave some key statistics that came out of my observations. The piece was a surprise hit, becoming the most read and shared article on the site (still to this day.) It made its way to reddit, where it was hotly discussed and debated. Several people contacted me requesting follow ups. There was clearly an appetite for this kind of information.
My mind turned to not just self defense, but competitive jiu jitsu. Self defense is largely academic these days, most students and teachers never being able to put their curriculum to the test. Competition, however, is happening all the time. Techniques can be rigorously analysed for efficiency. What’s more, data is imminently useful, and can be applied at next week’s tournament.
I began working on a site that would dedicate itself exclusively to answering the question, what are the parts of BJJ that are working for the greatest amount of people in the greatest number of instances?
Welcome to High Percentage!