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Jen >> Science of BJJ article Part 4

3/19/09 11:33 AM
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Part IV


Most students of BJJ often associate the word “counter” with stopping individual techniques. For example, it is common for students to say something like “How do I counter this armlock?” Since the goal in grappling is to constantly gain or maintain an advantage over your opponent, it should be understood that every technique or movement, no matter how small or when it happens, is a counter or attempt to counter your opponent. This is because the goal of any and all movements is to stop or prevent your opponent’s movements, techniques, or intentions. No movement in BJJ is void of this goal.

As a result, a key principle in BJJ is what I call “The Rule of Opposites”. This principle simply states that in order to counter a movement or intention, simply do the opposite of what your opponent wants. Yes, I know that seems blatantly obvious, but like many things in BJJ, what is most obvious is often not what is most commonly seen, done, or understood.

Every technique or movement consists of a sequence of steps, each step depending on and building upon the one before it until finalized. A counter can occur by applying The Rule of Opposites to any single step before the technique is finalized. As long as your opponent cannot complete one step within the sequence of steps, his technique or movement cannot be completed. So a simple way to figure out how to counter something is to list the sequence of steps and every detail to each step. Then figure out how to do the opposite prior to each step. Though it is possible to try to figure out how to undo a step, doing the opposite prior to each step will prevent the step from occurring, which is much easier and takes much less effort than trying to figure out how to undo a step that has been completed. In addition, this will allow you to be a step ahead of your opponent rather than a step behind. Remember it only takes stopping one step to stop the entire technique, so by figuring out the opposite of all the steps you list, you will have figured out numerous counters.

The Rule of Opposites also has a direct correlation with principles presented in the PartI and Part II articles. Remember, your goal is to place your body in its strongest biomechanical position while placing your opponent in his weakest biomechanical position. You are trying to maintain as many 90 degree angles between your load joints and proper alignment while you are attempting to destroy as many 90 degree angles between your opponent’s load joints and creating misalignment. Within those principles, you are also applying the The Rule of Opposites.

It is not difficult to figure out how to create a situation that is the opposite of what your opponent wants, as I mentioned earlier in regards to the listing of the sequencial steps of a technique. The problem is that you do not want your opponent to be able to simply and easily flow to a different technique once he encounters your counter. This is where the principles of alignment comes into play. When you do the opposite, it is best to also create as much misalignment as possible. So you are not only applying The Rule of Opposite towards your opponent’s intentions, but also to the structure of his body at the same time. As a result, this will stop, or at least slow down, his ability to immediately switch to another technique because of the difficulty the body has with moving when severely misaligned. In order to effectively switch to another technique, your opponent will first need to regain greater alignment. This means he must add an additional step before being able to move onto another technique which will give you more time to deal with the situation. Similarly, if you misalign your opponent severely enough and do not allow him to realign, then he will have no ability to flow to another technique. Essentially, complete domination occurs when The Rule of Opposites against an opponent’s intentions and biomechanical structure is applied before any and all first steps by the opponent are able to be executed.
3/20/09 12:14 PM
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Great read! Need to get more reps in. More input.
4/16/09 9:45 AM
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