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Fighting not to lose

Two men grappling in jiu jitsu competition

One of my biggest pet peeves in jiu jitsu is a practitioner whose sole purpose in a match is to “not get tapped out.” It’s even more annoying when people use it as a measure of success against their training partners. “I rolled with so and so for 10 minutes and he only caught me twice.” This thought process is extremely flawed and in no way an honest measure of one’s jiu jitsu skill, unless you were also attacking. Basically, if you spent the entire match fighting out of one submission after the next, you were not the better grappler that match.

When you train, you should always be trying to submit your opponent. Rolling with the goal of “not getting caught” is an admission of defeat because the default position of this mindset is a lack of confidence in your ability to win the match. The only possible outcome to a strategy like this, especially in a no time limit match, is defeat. If your opponent is constantly taking shots at the goal, the inevitable outcome is that your opponent will get a step ahead of you and submit you.

So how do you turn the tables when your partner is attacking constantly? Attack back! During the chaos, you turn the tide by hunting your own sweeps and submissions. Sometimes a simple base check of your partner can change the entire dynamic of the match. However, in order to attack, you must be willing to take the risk of being submitted yourself. That’s the game, my friends. There’s no free lunch, ever. There’s no passing the guard without putting yourself in danger. There’s no baiting submissions without the possibility of getting caught and there’s certainly no victory without attack.

Even the term “self defense” is a flawed concept. If someone attacks you, you’re not going to sit there and simply try to not to get hit. You’re going to attack your attacker. You’re going to neutralize the threat by breaking a limb and/or choking your attacker unconscious. We don’t “defend” ourselves, we attack those who seek to do us harm. It’s not self defense, it’s self offense.