T Nation

Game Plans

I’ve gotten to the point where I’m comfortable with a handful of moves, and can go a white belt round without tapping (for the most part). I think the next step is to start being more active and going for subs rather than just defending and taking things that fall into my lap.

Which means I need a game plan for matches now. I’m wondering how you all formulate your game plans and what they tend to entail.

I’m going to assume you’re referring to the ground game. this is going to vary depending on your opponent but what are your strengths/Weaknesses…

What are the subs you can pull off efficiently?

Do you like top or bottom game?

Where are you uncomfortable?

Do you have good takedowns or is it more
efficient for you to pull guard?

If I were to use myself as an example. I know that generally I’m stronger than everyone in my weightclass. If I’m not stronger and I’m outweighed or something I’m way, way faster. Also my wrestling/positioning is my best strength, more so than my wealth of subs. I spent the first few months only really knowing the RNC, but i figured out 30 different ways to get the back in that time.

So I come with a very aggressive wrestling based approach, I’m not going to gas so I can push the pace faster than most pure BJJ guys like. I also know that I’ll probably get the takedown and if I don’t in the scramble I’m going to end up on top somehow. If I don’t… half guard, lock down, electric chair, dogfight then outwrestle them.

I’ve rarely had to use my guard game with anyone my size to be honest but thats why I’ve been working on it a lot. In an mma fight if i end up on my back i’m pretty much in deep shit anyway but I want to turn that into an offensive weapon or at the very least be able to get back to top position.

Anyway, push the pace by utilizing cross faces, elbows, fingertips, chin, top of head in soft tissue, inside edge of forearm, twisting things, faking going for one submissions here or there.

My goal is basically make them dying cockroach. ie, throw an arm up, or turn away just slightly, or fight back in a certain direction. I want to illicit a reaction that I can exploit. For example if i’m in his 1/2 guard, and i run my forearm on his cheekbone, and post my leg out so that i have my entire bodyweight on him he’s GOING to react, to at least shuck my arm or move his head, if he turns just slightly to the outside, i let his hips do that and work to take his back.

If He’s playing butterfly but didn’t secure underhooks, i go for a leg submission I know he’s going to a) go for my legs, b) defend by coming up towards me, c) spin… i take advantage of whatever I’m given and capitalize on that.

But I’m 100% offense. Make him DO something NOW. If you have good cardio you can be pure aggression and make him slip by having him defend, defend, defend and have your real attack slowly be something else.

It’s like going for an americana and the guy starts defending with his opposite arm and then you armbar that same opposite arm.

I don’t know my grappling partners enough yet to make game plans based on their weaknesses, so I always go in without a plan. I find that sticking to a plan such as “I’m gonna take full mount and pull a gogoplata from gangsta lean” actually cripples your game because you’re gonna be looking for that move and meanwhile miss other opportunities. So I just go in, fight very aggressively and figure out how my opponent fights. From there I’ll make a basic strategy.

When I started I’d always use something basic that I knew how to do well and try to trick my opponent into facilitating it.

When I was playing guard I’d typically try to get the arm drag to get to the back. On top I’d try to pass and get to side control, trap the arm nearest me between my legs, and submit with a kimura.

thankfully I’ve progressed to the point where I can shift gears depending on what my opponent is doing and I’m no longer forcing anything or wasting energy that way…but I still have my bread and butter moves that I fall back on if I end up in a competitive match.

The thing I had the hardest time with when I started was being willing to go for something. My guard sucked big time, so I was always afraid of opening it for fear of getting passed and put in side control which is like a kiss of death for heavier players.

As I got better at defending submissions and replacing guard, my guard has become a much more offensive weapon. You just got to be willing to pull the trigger and risk giving up position - unless you’re in a tournament and then position is key.

[quote]Kataklysm wrote:
I don’t know my grappling partners enough yet to make game plans based on their weaknesses, so I always go in without a plan.

I find that sticking to a plan such as “I’m gonna take full mount and pull a gogoplata from gangsta lean” actually cripples your game because you’re gonna be looking for that move and meanwhile miss other opportunities.

So I just go in, fight very aggressively and figure out how my opponent fights. From there I’ll make a basic strategy.

[/quote]
Actually that’s a good training tool imo, you ‘lose’ a lot that way but it’s just training so who gives a shit. Hell let people take your back so you can practice defending that in a real manner. So what if a guy taps you 10x in a row with the same thing.

When he’s not able to tap you with it anymore he NEVER will be able to use that technique on you. That imo is the best way to learn something WELL. Just focus on that one technique for a while… one setup is kinda short sighted, but say you want a gogo (from gangsta lean, from invisible collar, whatver) and THAT is the only submission you’ll look for from anyone for a week.

Dude by the time you actually start pulling it on people it’ll be your go-to move. You will have encountered so many different situations and learned the positional advantages that you need to gain in order to inact your game plan.

Also whatever you learned that day in the gym, let that be your “go to”. Try other shit out moreso as a distraction but if you learned armbars that day ONLY go for armbars.

After you circulate through a few guys they’ll probably pick up on what you’re doing but thats GOOD. Because when you can start pulling it off on them even when they KNOW it’s coming. You just jumped a up huge level in skill.

Problem with this tactic is that it’s slow and has no immediate gratification :slight_smile: It’s basically getting your ass kicked for several months till, badabing, you’re schooling everyone.

[quote]Xen Nova wrote:
Kataklysm wrote:
I don’t know my grappling partners enough yet to make game plans based on their weaknesses, so I always go in without a plan.

I find that sticking to a plan such as “I’m gonna take full mount and pull a gogoplata from gangsta lean” actually cripples your game because you’re gonna be looking for that move and meanwhile miss other opportunities.

So I just go in, fight very aggressively and figure out how my opponent fights. From there I’ll make a basic strategy.

Actually that’s a good training tool imo, you ‘lose’ a lot that way but it’s just training so who gives a shit. Hell let people take your back so you can practice defending that in a real manner. So what if a guy taps you 10x in a row with the same thing.

When he’s not able to tap you with it anymore he NEVER will be able to use that technique on you. That imo is the best way to learn something WELL. Just focus on that one technique for a while… one setup is kinda short sighted, but say you want a gogo (from gangsta lean, from invisible collar, whatver) and THAT is the only submission you’ll look for from anyone for a week.

Dude by the time you actually start pulling it on people it’ll be your go-to move. You will have encountered so many different situations and learned the positional advantages that you need to gain in order to inact your game plan.

Also whatever you learned that day in the gym, let that be your “go to”. Try other shit out moreso as a distraction but if you learned armbars that day ONLY go for armbars.

After you circulate through a few guys they’ll probably pick up on what you’re doing but thats GOOD. Because when you can start pulling it off on them even when they KNOW it’s coming. You just jumped a up huge level in skill.

Problem with this tactic is that it’s slow and has no immediate gratification :slight_smile: It’s basically getting your ass kicked for several months till, badabing, you’re schooling everyone. [/quote]

A great drill that we used to do was to have both opponents call out a submission (didn’t really matter which one) and you could only go for that submission. So basically, not only were you limited to one way of winning, but your opponent knew what was coming. If you could pull off the submission under those circumstances, you knew you had it down well.

^lol, i do that sometimes but its more so me being a cocky asshole.

[quote]Xen Nova wrote:
^lol, i do that sometimes but its more so me being a cocky asshole. [/quote]

I would say you only need one or two good submissions, like xen pointed out in his post it is the set up that is important. That is what you want to look at. When you are rolling see how your opponent positions himself and start to classify peoples movements, then you can start to tell when people grab you which set ups will work best.

Especially since it seems like you are within your first few years, learn all the submissions, but pick a few you really have a nack for and hammer them down.

Then work on good tight step by step set ups from each major position. then start specifying the set up for the style of fighter.

One of my professors says “jack of all trades, master of none” makes since.

Instead of worrying about someone elses weaknesses get your strengths so focused that they always work.

And it is training don’t be afraid of getting caught, first it teaches you the possible dangers in the move you are attempting, but also shows you openings in others using those submissions.

I know this Div I wrestler, he was known for his single legs. Before the NCAA’s his senior year they were interviewing him and said, these guys have gotten four years to get used to your single leg and say you are one dimensional. His reaction. “Since you know it’s coming try and stop it”

The reason he could pull it off was because he mastered the move, but also because he mastered the set ups to the move.

The drill where you pick a submission is good, but I would go even further, I would for a week don’t tell anyone but go in and say to your self I am only going to sub with say an americana. and that whole week focus on that sumission, you will learn the set ups better and how to get it in every position.

May sound excessive but often we will focus on a technique for a month at a time, double legs we spent 2 months on. and it works. you start being able to pull stuff off from anywhere in any circumstance.

I had to game plan extensively in
college wrestling.

basically I was not as skilled as the bulk of the guys, and gave up speed and yes sometimes strength too.

I was an average wrestler with above average takedowns, Judo, Greco, helped build the arsenal but I also had superb single, doubles, duck-unders etc. And lack luster everything else.

so I had to do to a few things
work on weaknesses
bring the lacking skill sets up
and learn to control the fight.

we came up with a strategy that
involved some of the more questionable skills
aggressive takedowns, riding control leg riding ,rough housing, stalling, stalking and yes fouling.

maybe not so kosher but part of winning.

the last two years of wrestling - I took down everyone I wrestled at leas once, usually for the bulk of the match.

Basically I would drag each opponent kicking and screaming in to the third period overtime if I had to.
If I could control people after the take down
I went for riding points , tilts back points,
leg riding

If I could not, I let them “escape”
and took them down again and went for a technical fall or a “tech”
the rules then the match would stop if being led by ten points not so hard to do.

Now I lost plenty too.
If take downs, & riding did not work,
or take downs and re-take downs here is where it got nasty, I would stalk, and stall and play rough

stalk the opponent out of bounds score on their lack of aggression or scoring
easy to do when you are the aggressor and leading on points
rough housing and fouling
a little well placed force goes a long way.
I was very aggressive and used judicial ammounts of persuasion (force) to get what I needed.

whether that be turning you over
taking you down with a big slam
or just making it painful for you to score

And stalling you can clinch… ride, and look busy all the while making your opponent look
lackluster.

International Euro , and eastern Euro so much more physical then US by far in wrestling and judo. And all of these strategies are par for the course.

So I had to replace craftiness and saavy
with skill or athleticism.
I did not like it at first , until I started to win more.

strangely Judo and BJJ are more sublime for me…
still an aggressive player but happier.
I am aggressive, accept that tapping etc is good but I do like to win.
when I can, and its open game I like to win.

boil this down to what is applicable.

where are your strengths?
where are your weaknesses?
are you a chess player or a risk taker?
make your weaknesses your strengths an old adage but so applicable.

What is this journey about?
learing about Bjj
getting into competion?

anyway sorry this is a book.

kmc

Interesting posts guys, thanks. It’s a lot of information to process.