BJJ Tips: Positional Contol v Submissions: A Manager's Perspective

As you may know, I divide my free time between training, studying and socialising (hopefully adding some painting in the new year). I came across the following piece in one of my Management books:

“A successful team needs to balance two types of behaviour: Task-oriented and Maintenance oriented. It is the manager’s role to push for that balance.

Task oriented behaviour:
  1. Proposing ideas and courses of action
  2. Building upon suggestions from others
  3. Disagreeing with diversions from course
  4. Giving and seeking info relevant to task achievement
  5. Summarising discussion / progress

Maintenance oriented behaviour:
  1. Gateskeeping and ensuring all parties are involved in discussion
  2. Encouraging cooperation and participation
  3. Resolving conflict and being ready to compromise
  4. Giving feedback on feelings, opinions and actions
  5. Recognising that team members have own feelings and priorities”

Looking at that, I immediately recognised it as a parallel to the BJJ / Grappling game. If you were to look at your strategies, techniques or even body-parts as members of a team (Team You), you could easily translate the above into Jiu jitsu-speak (notice I didn’t say Portuguese J) Let me demonstrate, from a body-part point of view. In this example I presume you are in a dominant position. Submission (Task) oriented behaviour:
  1. Faking attacks and pushing the action
  2. Capturing sbmission opportunities as soon as they present themselves
  3. Focusing on the task at hand and avoiding distractions
  4. Attempting submissions, checking their defences / awareness
  5. Reviewing success / failure of submission and what could be worked on

Position (Maintenance) oriented behaviour:
  1. Gateskeeping and ensuring all body parts are actively involved in maintaining / advancing the position
  2. Covering all aspects of positional control and maintenance (e.g. block guard recovery and going to knees from side control)
  3. Accepting loss of position and immediately transitioning to an escape or another position
  4. Swimming through his pushes, contouring around frames and faking different attacks to keep him on the defence.
  5. If you partially lose a position (get a leg trapped when in mount) re-group and work to re-gain the position

I think it translates pretty well. I love things like that. BJJ / Grappling being a microcosm and all that rubbish! Have fun with it and let me know what you think. ----Did You Like This Article?--- Drop me a line on or explore some of the recommended past articles on the right...

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