An overlooked aspect of Jiu Jitsu that is not thought about enough is the game planning. Game planning is a way to ensure victory in competition. By setting up a good game plan, you can have a clearer path to winning in Jiu Jitsu. When you have a game plan, you have to make sure you have a solid idea, with technique links and options to go to.
What are technique links? They are the concepts of having one technique leading to another. For example using my game, I get a sweep, maybe a single leg from Half-Guard. From there, I go straight to my favorite pass, the over/under pass, without giving my opponent the chance to set up his guard. Then from there, I go to the side control, straight to my favorite submissions from there. I linked together these techniques to beat my opponent, and this link will help me get the win. It is an important part of good Jiu Jitsu competitor’s game. Maybe my opponent is better than me, but since I was able to impose my game plan since the beginning of the match, I will have a higher chance of winning… Also I will spend less energy, since I will be working the techniques that I have been working for a such long time.
Game planning also works great if you know your opponent’s game. If you know your opponent is a good guard player, then you know to avoid his guard. By avoiding his guard, you used the first step of a game plan. For example, if I know that my opponent is good in the Spider Guard, instead of waiting for him to set up his Spider, I will go to my favorite pass right away. What is important is staying safe away from your opponent’s strength, using the positions you feel safe and comfortable.
Marcelo Garcia is a very good example about Game Planning. He always goes to the positions where he feels best, such as butterfly guard or x guard and use his links. Marcelo would go for sweeps, and when an opponent would defend he would lock up a guillotine choke, or get to his opponent’s back for the rear naked choke. Because he has links between all of his techniques, if one technique doesn’t work, he has another one to go to right away.
I always use to say this: You don’t need to be an expert in 100 techniques. If you are an expert in 5, you can make those 5 become 500, by just combing them. For example, in my instructional “The Pressure Passing Encyclopedia” I show 47 variations of 1 technique, the over-under pass (Click here to check out). All the variations are kind of the same position but with my opponent doing different reactions when Im trying to do that one passing.
When it comes to game planning, it doesn’t matter what kind of player you are. As long as you have some kind of planning in mind, the work you do in training with your links will give you chance at success, no matter where you like to win your matches.
A good example of this, is my match against “Cyborg” in the video below. I don’t know if Im better than him or not, but that day I won because I was able to force him to play my game since the beginning of the match. I knew he has a very strong passing game, so I made sure to keep him in my half-guard. Once I got the sweep, I knew he had a very good tornado sweep, so instead of wait for him to set up his tornado, I went right away to my over-under pass. So, he was all the match in my favorite positions. Maybe if I fight him again, I can fall into his game and the match ended up very different. That’s why I always believe that game planning is very important for BJJ.
I want make sure to let clear that I have a lot of respect for Cyborg, he is one of the best BJJ Fighters in the World. As I said, that day was my day, but next day can be different, that’s Jiu-Jitsu.
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