Systems Building: Attacks
In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the person who gets the their game going first often wins. The real key is having responses to responses for any given attack. If you have a single option and that option is muted by the defense of your opponent, you are at a stalemate until either you decide to work toward something else (meaning you have to think and process the possibilities) or you have to react to the movements of the opponent which means you are playing catch up and have fallen behind even if slightly.
System Building: Studying the movements of your opponents to answer their reactions with attacks:
The way you minimize the aforementioned dilemma is to develop systems to help you execute your strategies in light of the most common contingencies you will encounter. “System building” in BJJ does not have to be complicated. Fortunately for the practitioners in the 21st century, many great instructors have posted free videos of their favorite attack chains from various positions. If you cannot find instruction on the particular attack you like, have a training partner or your instructor tell you what their plan would be to counter your attack, then pause, and contemplate the next attack you can wage. Repeat this process for two or three additional movements that link easily off of the common responses from the opponent. Take for example what I did with the North South Kimura:
So, you see that I was running into the problem of fighting guys with very strong grips and I could not hit the desired first submission, the Kimura, so I found an opening to attack the head and arm choke. This move is highly successful, but when appropriately defended one can waste energy continuing when it is far more efficient to attack the sleeve choke.
Drilling: Sharpening the blade of your axe:
The whole point of system building is to become more effective. One can sit in front of a computer and craft systems of attack, but the efficacy of any attack system will largely be correlated to the amount of time practicing it. How one practices is also very important. If you practice step one of a three part attack, then wait a week and practice step two, then wait a week and practice step three, but you do not train the techniques linked together, your reaction time will not be as sharp as if you practiced the three steps in succession. Of course, in the early learning phase of the techniques, minimal resistance and an appropriate pace is necessary so that the movements are not sloppy. But once proficiency is reached, speed, accuracy, and fluency should be sought. The surest way to gain these qualities is through DRILLS! High repetitions at as quick of a pace as possible through a given set amount of time builds your ability to attack and adjust to the reactions of your opponent. Look at how the Kimura Attack Series was turned into a drill system:
It is wise to implement the drills from common and realistic position that is right on top of the movements your are drilling. Adding unnecessary steps to get to the heart of the techniques only chews away at the critical time you have to get your body and mind on the same page in executing the attacks.
The Ambush: Recognizing your system’s applicability from a distance:
We want to be ahead of our opponent. We know where we are going. If we are step for step with our opponent, then they know where we are going too and it will be more difficult to execute the system of attacks. However, the better you become at seeing the opening for your attack from positions that seem far from the starting line of your system, the easier it becomes to execute with speed the system. For example, when you pass someone’s guard and are holding them in Leg Drag Position their mind is busy reflecting on the pass, or present in the fear that you are going to mount or go to cross-side position. If however, your goal is to attack the Kimura Attack Series from North South via the back, you know you will gain a step ahead of them when you take the back… now their mind has to catch up and they begin to focus everything on defending the back attacks, but it is a ruse. Your drilling this system from the back allows you to quickly come to the North South and mount a triple attack. Your mind was clear, but the layers of confusion from your opponent’s perspective leave their demise in your hands. Watch how what I just described can be trained to perfection:
Build your own systems. Study the movements, find their escape route, have your secondary and third attacks already planned. DRILL the movements to become super sharp. Finally, explore how to get to your system from long range. Be a so far ahead that they cannot catch up… that is the beauty of Jiu Jitsu! Happy Grappling!