Jeff Glover is one of the best known (and most talented) American featherweight grapplers – with and without the Gi. Known for his crazy antics and off-the-wall grappling style, Jeff holds oodles of Grappler’s Quest absolute division victories, a victory at the no gi worlds, and two pan am golds at brown belt (in addition to big wins against the likes of Robson Moura). As a smaller guy myself, it was a pleasure being able to catch up with Jeff and pick his brain on the topic of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu improvement – and his best advice for grapplers who want to get better, faster.
Use All the BJJ Resources Available to You
“What I tell my students,” Jeff says, “is to use everything you have at your disposal to learn. That’s not just your training partners and normal classes, that’s your instructor, the internet, other gyms you visit, everything.” Jeff mentions that someone focused on Jiu Jitsu does not turn it off outside of class time – but it always cultivating little areas of interest in particular aspects of the game.
That comes through in the visualization you do when you’re standing in line in the bank, the pictures you doodle in notebooks, the articles you read when you’re online. If you’re a “student of the game” as Jeff calls it, people should know – it should show OFF the mat.
How to Use the Internet to Improve Your Jiu Jitsu Game
Jeff is not against being a YouTube warrior so long as you’re productively using it to further your game in a meaningful way. For Jeff, that doesn’t involve having a kind of objective goal like “watch 30 minutes of Rafael Mendes per day.” Instead, he lets his interest and his passion guide what he explores online – and switches every few months or so on different “projects.”
“Sometimes I’ll just really get into watching the finals matches of black belt tournaments. The worlds, the pan ams, all that. Then I might spend a long time watching the lower belt matches and noticing their errors and what I would do differently, or I’ll focus on a particular move or set of moves. That way, Jeff has a different approach to “goals” in general than say – the approach the Mendes brothers mentioned in my last interview with them.
Don’t Drink the Haterade
Jeff believes that most people become “haters” in little ways without realizing it. Ever make a mean remark about that new guy who keeps tapping you out? Ever make fun of competitors who use different moves than you (inverted guard, the 50-50, etc…)? Ever tell yourself “I’m too big to do triangles” or “I’m too small to tap out big guys”? That’s all what Jeff lumps under the term “hating,” and it’s a kind of mental negativity that does nothing but stifle your game and set up barriers to what you think is possible. Jeff recommends everyone stay on top of themselves and notice when this “hating” is happening and knock it off. Stay open minded, wish well on others, be curious and not criticizing, and keep the joy and the enthusiasm in the game!
I wanted to give an extra thanks to Mr. Glover for taking the time to interview with me, and I hope you all remain “students of the game” to the core!
All the best,
Dan Faggella is a No Gi Pan Am Champion at 130 pounds, and recognized Expert in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Dan writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more – and his training tips for Beating Bigger, Stronger grapplers can be found online at: microbjj.com.