Guest post by James Duscio, a BJJ black belt under Walter cascao vital and runs Cascao Evolution BJJ out of Las Vegas nv.
Photo: Miljan Zivkovic
We as martial artists are accustomed to training hard, learning new techniques and even competing, but there are a few things that are crucial for a deeper understanding and greater personal development in our art that go beyond those basic elements.
One of the big ones is learning about strategy and tactics. Knowing the differences between them and how to apply these plans of action could bring your progress to another level. These concepts are used commonly in global warfare, business, politics, relationships, as well as hand to hand combat. Throughout history, the ones with the best strategy and tactics were the ones that came out victorious. Those who took these principals lightly or ignored them paid the price.
Understanding the difference between Strategy and Tactics
Strategy and tactics are both plans of action designed to achieve a goal, with a strategy as the overall grand design of a master plan and tactics being the specific actions and methods used to achieve that goal. In our language, an old school BJJ strategy is to take the opponent down and submit him. The tactics would be setting up a single leg takedown with a jab to the face, then mounting the opponent, maintaining position until the opponent exposes his limbs for the classic arm bar.
As simple as these concepts seem, it’s amazing how few BJJ practionars really have an overall strategy and tactics to execute their game plans, but the ones that do, well they really stand out.
Their strategy might be to pull half guard, take the back and submit them. Their tactics include getting good wrist control, threatening single leg takedowns so they hip back. That’s when they pull half guard. They put on the lock down, establish the strong side under hook and take the back. Then the three combination attack series begins. Compare that to a person who just goes out and wings it. Those people lack focus in their training and that usually translates to a lower rate of execution.
To really excel with BJJ, we need strategies against different fighting arts, different body types and different rule sets. Once the strategies are in place, that’s when you work on the tactics and details of each of those strategies. The best coaches and martial artists always emphasize these concepts in training, because overlooking them will really limit anyone’s game. In the old text The Art of War, Sun Tzu said it best, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”.
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