9/26 Fundamentals of Attacking, Understanding Guillotine Defense and Keys to Float Passing

The Principles of Attacking: Understanding the First Steps

[This will be a pretty dense topic and we’ll have to add to this going forward. It’s nearly impossible to cover all there is to know about attacking in one single lesson. In this part, we’re going to discuss the fundamental principles of attacking from the perspective of someone who is finally starting to learn a solid defense.]

The first question I asked this student was this: 

Think about what the biggest problems were escaping bad positions. What did you struggle with the most? 

  1. Too much pressure, you make mistakes (immobilizing yourself further, letting an arm isolate itself, etc)
  2. Panic and Anxiety from bad positions (also force you to make mistakes)
  3. Not understanding how to escape with proper control (establishing frames, etc)

These are important for developing perspective because if you understand these problems of defense, you can cause these same problems for the person you are attacking.

The first step to learning how to attack is understanding HOW to set up your attacks so that they’re successful. Just like with defending positions, you need to understand that setting up attacks has prerequisites for each step from entering in an offensive cycle all the way to breaking the limb. 

The very first step, just like in defense and escapes, you need prerequisite CONTROL of your opponent. If you are not controlling your opponent, you will not be able to advance. Further, if you do not have control of your opponent, then they will be able to escape more effectively.

With that said, control has two components:

  1. Control that keeps your opponent from escaping
  2. Control of your opponent that allows you to advance (immobilize further, or isolate the limb you are looking to attack)

These two components are important because the game of jiu-jitsu is always going backwards and forwards. You need to establish control to maintain a position while also looking to advance. If you are not in control of either, your opponent will be able to escape on one hand, and you will not be able to advance on the other. 

Two ways to look at control: Micro position and macro

The macro position can be defined as the overall positional advantage. In other words, if you are on top in side control, you have the overall positional advantage. Therefore, you are in control of the micro position. 

The other way to understand control is by understanding the microposition. This is the position within the position. 

For example, even if you’re on top in side control, you may have control of the macro position (the global position) but that doesn’t mean you have control of the micro position. If your opponent can establish frames, control the inside position, or off-balance you from the bottom (the prerequisites for escape), then your opponent controls that micro position. 

That said, the first control aspect of moving forward with an attack means keeping your opponent from establishing frames or controlling the inside position. In the example of side control, you can consider the use of barriers or wedges to keep your partner immobile. If you can keep your opponent from making inside control, you’re free to move to the next step, which is the isolation of a limb or a transition to a more dominant position such as mount. 

An important thing to note here is that the problems of defending generally happen because people try to escape a position without establishing the proper control. The same is true for attacking, on the opposite end. If you attempt to attack without the prerequisite control of your opponent, then you’re setting yourself up for failed attacks. 

Now, how do you establish control?

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