How to Quickly Learn Jiu-Jitsu | Feat. Josh Waitzkin and Marcelo Garcia | The Tim Ferriss Experiment

How to Quickly Learn Jiu-Jitsu | Feat. Josh Waitzkin and Marcelo Garcia | The Tim Ferriss Experiment


  • Tim Ferris is embarking on a 5-day challenge to learn Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), with the objective of mastering the principles through one submission move.
  • He seeks guidance from Josh Waitzkin, an international chess master and BJJ black belt, who will utilize high-level principles of chess to teach BJJ.

Learning Chess Principles

  • Josh starts by teaching Tim basic chess principles, focusing on the end game instead of the openings.
  • Tim learns about the power of empty space and how to exploit it in chess and BJJ.
  • The principles of winning in chess (checkmate) parallel winning in BJJ (making the opponent tap out).

Learning the Guillotine Choke

  • Tim learns the guillotine choke, a formidable submission move in BJJ, from Marcelo Garcia, a five-time BJJ world champion.
  • Marcelo teaches Tim the proper technique to maximize leverage and forces Tim to refine his motion.
  • Tim recognizes the importance of patience and mastering one finishing position instead of trying to learn multiple setups.

Testing and Improvement

  • Tim has a before-test to establish his baseline skills and weaknesses.
  • He rolls with John, a world champion in BJJ, and exposes his weaknesses in movement and transitions.
  • Tim receives coaching from Marcelo on the guillotine, learning to wait for the right moment and apply pressure to force his opponent into making a mistake.

Applying Principles to Jiu-Jitsu and Chess

  • Tim spars with various opponents, aiming to catch as many guillotine submissions as possible in 60 seconds.
  • Maurice Ashley, a chess master, imparts tactical thinking lessons to Tim through chess games in Washington Square Park.
  • Tim realizes the importance of fluidity, control, and applying pressure in both BJJ and chess.

Final Test

  • Tim undergoes a final test where he is challenged to catch guillotine submissions in fast-paced transitions.
  • Despite exhaustion, Tim successfully catches five submissions and shows significant progress.

Reflection and Further Learning

  • Tim reflects on the intense week of training and the significant progress he has made in his BJJ skills.
  • He encourages viewers to check out additional footage and interviews on his website and podcast for a more comprehensive understanding of the journey.

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