It is never a good idea to enter into ring with the intention of “going with the flow of things.” You cannot walk into a game and expect it to flow in your favor. You have to give some thought to specifics in terms of how you want to play your game and manner in which you will handle your opponent. In the absence of a game plan, all your moves will be a reaction to your opponent’s moves. Do you want to merely react all the time or do you want to play your best moves? Your chances of winning a game increase when you plan moves and use those at which you are most skilled.

Here’s a likely scenario of what might happen if you don’t have a game plan for your grappling or combat-athletics bouts:
• Your opponent may have a good open guard, and you may have problems with it since you did not anticipate it at all
• Your opponent may launch an attack and try to dominate the game at a very early stage of the match
• You may or may not be able to think up a strategy on the spur of the moment to tackle your opponent’s holds until its too late and the round is almost over
• When you finally find your momentum and initiate a submission, time may be up!

A framework for developing the game plan is outlined next.


1. Size up your opponent and Develop a Strategy –
• Analyze the history of the opponent’s performance in terms of wins or losses and skills or weak-points displayed in previous matches
• Try to recall and bring to fore any tactics that your opponent uses, so that you can build a strategy to neutralize it

Develop Strategies
It is essential to develop an opposing strategy prior to a game. If you merely size up the opponent, then you are only half way there. Strategies define the manner in which you plan your line-of-attack and the tactics that you will employ to unsettle your opponent. Your strategies will differ in accord with your opponent as no one is alike.

Steps for developing the strategies
A. Issues

Point Approach to Strategizing

Play to your plus points
Your strategy should revolve around what you do best, your strengths and the plus points in your skills. Analyze the styles that you are good at and select those that you believe will be effective against your opponent.

Beware of your vulnerabilities
An honest appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses will put things in perspective in your own mind as to what you can do and cannot do on the mat. You should also put in more practice behind problem situations so that you don’t find yourself powerless in an actual encounter.

Know your opponent’s weak point
Strategize your counter moves or even initiate your moves based on what you know of your opponent.

Be flexible and develop alternative strategies
Every encounter is different and, even if you are playing the same opponent again, you must be able to change strategies to throw your opponent off balance. There are a couple of techniques for this:
1. “If Statements”
This is a problem-solution method. When you use “If Statements” you paint a picture of a circumstance or a problem that you may encounter in the ring and then arrive at different solutions to tackle it.
2. Modifying your approach – Revise or reframe
This technique requires you to evaluate your moves studying order to determine whether or not you can change your emphasis in any way; increase/decrease your emphasis on hand or leg or body movements in a way that makes the move more powerful.

B. Tactics – Plan tactics to make your strategy workable. When you plan your tactics, you get into the realm of mind games. You get in to details like:
• The pace at which you want to move
• The manner in which you plan to carry out
• The level of aggressiveness that is necessary at the start, in the middle, and toward the end of a bout
• When to use your most powerful move
This the stuff that tactics are made of in a strategy.

Source: The Grappling Game Plan
BACK ATTACK
LLOYD IRVIN MARYLAND JIU JITSU