Defend Attacks by Learning Attacks

One of the most frequent questions that any Jiu-Jitsu teachers gets asked is, “how do I defend against….”.

John Danaher had a great post on this recently and gave the example of students asking him how to defend leglocks.

Often students find themselves succumbing to the same attacks over and over and they are looking to find out what they can do differently to prevent them making the same mistake again. Usually there is a correct defense than can be employed to counter a specific attack but sometimes this is not enough. If their opponent is particularly skilled in a technique, the likelihood is that they have a counter ready for the counter and will win the battle (again).

paulo berimbolo

As Danaher explains, in order to truly defend an attack you must become familiar with the attack yourself. By becoming familiar with the attack you will understand the mechanics of the position and will increase the likelihood of successfully defending it when someone tries to execute it on you.

For example if you are constantly getting swept by the deep half guard, why not try to learn the position and try and sweep a few people with it. As you become more proficient at the move, the less likely it is that you will be caught by it. There is a reason why you do not see the Miyaos getting Berimbolo’d! Their understanding of the positions is deep enough to ensure that they know stop the attack before it begins.

Many students will often cite the fact that a particular attack does not fit with their game and that they just want to know how to shut it down. This is shortsighted and is missing the point. You do not have to make the technique your A-game, but rather develop an understanding of how to finish it and how to apply it to a live opponent. Take the time to learn it and understand the transitions so that you can spot it coming at you.