Problem Solving For The Win

Over past few weeks, I’ve noticed something when training. Regardless of whether I’m attacking or defending, I’m continually solving the problems my opponent creates. You’ll be doing the same thing whether you’re aware of it or not.

Attacking the Back In Jiu Jitsu

And the better you are at problem-solving, the better you’ll be at Jiu Jitsu. To an effective Jiu Jitsu problem solver, you need to do three things.

  1. You must first know what your goal is.
  2. You need to know the roadblocks your opponent is creating that are stopping you reaching that goal.
  3. You need to decide order to solve these roadblocks to achieve your goal.

To illustrate this let’s take the triangle as an example. To complete the triangle, you must:

  • Isolate your opponents head and arm.
  • Break their posture.
  • Create an angle.
  • Put pressure on both sides of your opponents neck using your hamstring and their shoulder.

And you need to do it in that order.

However, your opponent may try to stop you choking the life out of them at any stage, and that’s where your problem solving comes in. You need to determine what’s stopping you getting to the next point and how you can solve that problem.

Let’s use the triangle as an example again. You’ve managed to isolate your opponents head and arm, and you’ve broken their posture. But they’re arm is stopping you creating an angle and putting pressure on their neck. Damn them!

Your goal is to apply pressure to their neck with their shoulder. Their arm is the roadblock. To remove that roadblock you’re going to lift your hips and pull their elbow over, then continue with your attack.

No idea what I’m talking about? Check out the video below which covers one of my favourite triangle setups and some finishing details.

However, to think like this while rolling you must be calm and have a clear goal in mind. If you’re too stressed or too agitated you won’t be thinking clearly, and unable to solve the problems your opponent creates. And if you have too many goals in mind or no goal you will freeze and do nothing.

This way of thinking will take time to develop, but it can have a dramatic effect on your Jiu Jitsu. Give it a go and see what happens.

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