Offense is the best defense. A note on competing.

“I always try to attack. While I’m on the offensive, my opponent can think of nothing but defending.” Marcelo Garcia

This has to be one of my favorite quotes when it comes to developing strategy in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but I suppose it also applies to martial arts in general, as well as life.

Nic Gregoriades once described Jiu-jitsu to me as a game of awareness: The more aware I am and the more of my opponent’s awareness I am able to control, the more I will be able to achieve. I can control my opponent’s awareness by removing his options. By attacking and forcing him to defend, I remove his options to attack and force him to become solely concerned with defending. I reduce their awareness and increase their margin for error. 

There is no doubt that sound defense is crucial in developing good Jiu-jitsu, but a strong offense is paramount, especially in a competition context. In competition, points are exclusively awarded for offensive action; be it a sweep to a dominant position, a submission attempt or a guard pass. To develop successful competition Jiu-jitsu, a practitioner will have to concern themselves with developing an attacking mentality and offensive strategy.

This is in no way a criticism of defensive strategy or sound guard work. A sound defense and an understanding of sound counter-attacking opportunities can take a practitioner very far; capitalizing on the mistakes or the openings of an overzealous or aggressive opponent strikes to the core ethos of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu after all. 

Recently I’ve heard criticisms of point based Jiu-jitsu and the rule sets of certain competition. Although justified, we have to understand that the aim of any rule set is to define the parameters under which a sport is contested. As competitors, by entering a competition we are agreeing to compete under these parameters. Don’t like guard pulling? Don’t like the amount of points awarded for specific actions? Then don’t enter a Jiu-jitsu competition.

If executing an successful offense means you pulling guard on your opponent, then be prepared to do so. If it means taking an opponent down, then be prepared to do so. There is no singlular path required to mount an effective offense, that’s the beauty of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. If you don’t like guard pulling, then either get better at passing or enter a wrestling tournament. If you don’t like like a specific aspect of the sporting parameters, get better at playing to the rules or simply don’t compete.

A sound offense means being able to utilize strategy and technique to overcome the problems laid out in front of you. This doesn’t just mean fighting your opponent, but it also means fighting within the parameters of a rule set.

Thanks for reading



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