Power Bottom Review: 3 Reasons I like Craig Jones’ Bottom

If you watched ADCC 2022 you know that jiu jitsu is changing. Rather than accepting bottom position, people try to gain height and use a lot of wrestling techniques to gain the upper hand. Power Bottom is Craig Jones’ take on this modern style of bottom that mixes wrestling, leg locks and traditional guards. In this review I tell you exactly what Craig Jones covers in Power Bottom and I give my opinion about the quality of this instructional.

TitlePower Bottom: an inclusive modern approach to guard
InstructorCraig Jones
Total duration5 hours and 34 minutes
Publication year2021
Where to buyHere on BJJ Fanatics

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Learn the modern guard game from Craig Jones

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What’s power bottom by Craig Jones about?

Power Bottom is about a modern approach to guard that combines traditional guard play with wrestling and standing back up. Craig shows how to wrestle up, how to gain height from traditional guards, some new guards that work well for gaining height, and how to continue your stand up from turtle and standing positions.

How to wrestle up from guard

Craig Jones shows how to wrestle up from long range and mid range guard positions. Craig Jones obviously trains a lot with Nicky Ryan, Nicky Rodriguez and Jay Rodriguez, who are all known for wrestling (up).

All this stuff is still very new to the jiu jitsu game, so it’s a lot to learn. What I like about Craig’s approach is that he mixes the wrestles up with traditional leg entries when your opponent pushes back into you. For me this makes all this much easier to learn, because you don’t necessarily need to finish the wrestle up.

How to gain height from guard

Craig Jones explains that everything from guard becomes easier if you gain height first. This is mechanically true because sweeps and submissions are easier if you can create momentrum by dropping your weight. But more importantly it’s tactically true because as you gain height, your opponent will rush to push you back on the mat, which gives you a lot of momentum to take advantage of.

New guards

Craig explains how to gain height safely from many traditional guard positions, and he also shares 2 new guard positions. He calls them reverse z guard and false half guard, which are both terrible names in my opinion. (Craig is always pretty bad at naming things.)

The reverse z guard is when you have a butterfly hook on the opposite leg as normal (so the cross leg), and an over the back grip. At first glance this position looks like you almost got passed already, but Craig shows a lot of counters from here to end up on top. It’s actually a great position to gain height from.

The false half guard is a bottom turtle position where you have stepped over one of your opponent’s legs. This position is completely new to me and it’s very interesting. Even though you’re pretty much in bottom turtle, you still have a lot of options to come back on top.

Rethinking the turtle

This is a big section of the instructional because Craig thinks you should turtle more. Traditionally in jiu jitsu we say that you shouldn’t turtle because you might give up the back. But in Craig’s opinion, it’s much better to be in bottom turtle than in a bottom pin.

I believe strongly that Craig’s right about this, because it’s exactly what happened at ADCC 2022. The people there were usually able to escape from turtle positions using the techniques that Craig shows. That being said, all these techniques are very new for me, and it will take a significant time investment for me to make them work in sparring.

Backtake situations

Very interesting stuff here. What stands out to me is the following thought:

A single hook from the back is only 20% of the battle – it means almost nothing. Until they get the second hook we still have a very big chance of defending and getting to the top.

Craig Jones – Power Bottom

Craig shows a lot of early and late stage defenses to backtakes, including the running man, which I thought was exclusive to Priit Nikhelson. Very cool stuff here, and all very new (at least to me).

The four point position

The four point position is where you’re on hands and feet. It’s very common in wrestling. It used to be uncommon in jiu jitsu – but at ADCC 2022 you saw it in almost every match.

This is the logical continuation of the turtle game that Craig teaches in this instructional. Again, I’m completely new to this, so it feels very weird. But I believe that I can become confident from this position after some more positional sparring.

Standing with a rear body lock

Craig Jones starts this section saying:

“Most jiu jitsu guys are probably scared of this position because they think they might get supplexed or slammed”

Well… that’s me.

But Craig explains that this is actually very unlikely if you’re relaxed and keep your posture forward.

I still find this position a little scary, but also fascinating. It’s stronger than all of the previous options and you have a lot of throws and counters available to you. For examlpe, if you follow the B-team Youtube channel, you’ll see Craig hit a harai goshi from this position all the time. (And Craig’s only a yellow belt in Judo – did you know that?)

Where the power bottom system excels

This system strengthens your game against anyone because you give your opponent something else to think about. That being said, this system is uniquely powerful in a few situations:

  • Defensive opponents. This system forces action against guys that just sit back and don’t really engage with you guard. Or in Craig’s words: “older blue belts that don’t know anything, they just don’t want you to submit them this round”.
  • MMA. This system is also great if you’re interested in MMA, because you don’t simply accept bottom position. You force them to hold you down, which means they can’t punch you, and you get more opportunities for sweeps and submissions.
  • Self defense. You learn to stand back up quickly and easily. This should probably always be your first goal in a self defense situation.

Why Craig Jones is a great teacher for this system

Craig Jones is at his best when he teaches modern submission wrestling that mixes traditional wrestling and Brazilian jiu jitsu techniques. I think he’s in a perfect position to teach this new style of grappling because:

  • He’s one of the best traditional jiu jitsu athletes
  • He trains with high level wrestlers such as Nicky Rodriguez the whole day, who present him with unique challenges
  • He has coaching experience in the UFC (for Volkanovski) and he’s very aware of what works against strong, explosive guys in MMA

My impression of this instructional

There’s so much new stuff in this instructional. Pretty much everything is new. Building height from guard, from turtle, to 4 point, to standing, and what to do in each of these positions. It’s all new and fascinating.

But all the new stuff is still intertwined with all your traditional jiu jitsu techniques. You gain height from guard – they push you back – you hit the easiest butterfly sweep of your life. Even though I usually can’t complete the wrestle ups yet (I’ve only practices for about a month now), just gaining height makes everything else in guard so much easier.

And what I probably like the most is that this instructional takes us back to what (to me) is the true spirit of jiu jitsu. True jiu jitsu should be effective in self defense situations and MMA. And in self defense and MMA, you would always try to get back up to your feet, rather than conceding to guard.

My verdict

Yes, buy this instructional. Even if you don’t want to complete a lot of wrestle ups, you should still learn to gain height to make your life in guard easier.

Craig mixes traditional jiu jitsu and wrestling. I believe that this is the direction that the sport is going. At ADCC 2022 you saw the techniques that Craig teaches in this instructional in all the matches.

Get on the bandwagon now, or be much less effective in the future. When local tournaments start to implement more ADCC-style rules, you don’t want to be stuck with 0 ability to get up from bottom. And also, if you ever want to use your jiu jitsu for self defense or MMA, you should learn basic abilities to stand back up when you’re on bottom.


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