BJJ Strategy: Riddle me this…Riddle me that…Who’s the cleverest on the BJJ mat?

Here is a statistics-influenced riddle (ok ok I may have seen it on an old NUMB3RS episode!)

You are asked to rig a room. The room has 4 doors and you are given 4 identically designed traps that can be attached to the doors. Each trap, however, only has a 25% chance of working and 75% chance of failing. Your victim wants to go into the room and there are no windows so she has to choose one of the 4 doors. What’s your best strategy?

If you want to see the answer, scroll down. It’s past the silly (or clever, if you believe Georgette!) cartoon.

Ok it’s a bit of a trick question as it has a piece of information missing. The doors are lockable. But then again that’s an important part of today’s post theme.

All other factors remaining equal, your best bet is to lock three of the doors and attach your entire arsenal to the 4th one. Your victim needs to go into the room, and you’ve just stacked the odds heavily in your favour.

BJJ / Grappling is, or at least should be, the same. It’s a series of traps and mazes and the beauty of it; your opponent WANTS to go into the room. They WANT to SWEEP you. They WANT to pass your guard. They WANT to go to mount…etc. But how does the analogy above ink into this?

Two ways:

1. In any situation on the mat, each player will have a number of options. A number of possible manoeuvres. How many depends on the situation: When someone is inside your guard you have many more possible things you could do than when they have go back with hooks on you with one of your arms trapped by their leg. Statistical analysis advises that to increase your chances of success, limit your opponent’s possible options. Don’t give them a room with 4 doors, give them a room with 3 locked doors and one unlocked door, with a small bag of cookies dangling from the handle and a trail of crumbs leading into the room.

Offensive example: When someone is in your closed guard (for example) they can place their hands in a variety of postures and positions, offering them a spectrum of support levels. Why not open your lapels, eliminating the(double lapel grab). Also work to control their wrists or at least push them off your chest/ribs area but keep pulling their torso into you with your knees. Effectively, you have given them only three options to pick from: To tuck their pelvis under them and remain upright (in which case you can sit into them and work the hip-bump/Kimura/Guillotine series), to place their hands low on your torso (which shouldn’t stop you from breaking their posture and possibly wrist locking them) or to post on the mat which just opens up a can of whipass of attacks. Place your traps only where the open doors are.

Defensive example: You’re in someone’s closed guard and your tuck your pelvis in and remain upright, hardly really touching them with your hands (use them to deflect their grips. That narrows their options to either opening their guard and sitting up for the hip bump/Kimura/Guillotine series or start playing open guard. You just zipped what you need to defend against from several unknowns to a few knowns.

2. The Doors are lockable. I didn’t tell you that in the initial riddle for a reason. I wanted to make a point about this strategy: Not many people know it!

Not many people I know actively use this strategy and it’s, I’m guessing here, because no one ever told them that the doors are lockable so they keep searching for more traps to buy/learn/download.

There are postures in BJJ / Grappling that eliminate certain attack opportunities for your opponent and I’d rather spend my time learning/working at those than learn 1-2 counters to each of these potential attacks. To me, that’s the essence of great BJJ.

The wild buffalo cannot butt its horns against him, The tiger cannot fasten its claws in him, And weapons of war cannot thrust their blades into him. And for what reason? Because in him there is no room for death.

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A.D. McClish said...

Great observations and illustrations! BJJ really is a mind game, like you were saying. My coach always tells us to only give them one or two options as to which way they can go and to be ready to respond when they do go that way. Great post!!

The Part Time Grappler said...

Thanks so much for the kind words Allie. I think a lot of people are opening their eyes to this and your coaches are very honest to do that. Some people, with less character or knowledge, will just see this as an opporunity to teach/sell you more techniques :)