Strategy, Tactics, & Techniques

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When I was guest teaching recently,
an old student of mine asked me,
“What would you do in this situation?”

To which I replied,
“I would take him off base.”

“Yeah, but’s that a strategy. What’s the technique?”

That’s a good question.
If we’re going to limit ourselves to
this triad of metaphors to describe Jiu-Jitsu,
here is how I would do it.

Strategy: Keep Your Opponent Off Base
It’s nigh impossible your opponent to mount an effective defense or offense if he is off base. Every single movement you make should take your opponent off base.

Tactic(s): Go With (But Stop)
How you keep your opponent off base is by going in the direction he (or she) is going. As you go with your opponent, stop a part of his/her body from going that direction. That will improve your position, over and over again, until there is no position but submission.

Technique: Feel
Many would think that the tactic of going with but stopping spawns thousands of techniques. It does…but they are all contextual applications of the tactic and dependent upon the prime technique: feel. We must be able to feel which way our opponent is going in order to improve our position, go with him, and take him off base.

And feel, like any technique can be drilled. While techniques are limited to the context they are applicable in, feel is applicable in all contexts and, as such, must be drilled in the minimum number of contexts. We can only implement our tactics if we can feel. We can only accomplish our strategy if we can feel, so feel!