No matter what scenario we are faced with in life we must often find solutions to the challenges those scenarios present. Like any skillset we possess, the ability to problem solve gets stronger or weaker with practice. BJJ is a continuous chain of challenges and problems to solve. As soon as you get past one, another one pops up in its place. It is basically a “chain-reaction” of solutions to opposing challenges, much like that of a chess match. In BJJ the absolute solution is submission.

If practicing BJJ with a gi (kimono type uniform), everything starts with your grips. Your opponent reaches for your sleeve and establishes a grip. Maybe you counter that by grabbing a grip on his pant leg. He then gets a grip on your lapel and you feel threatened, so you abandon your pant leg grip and break his lapel grip free. As you do this he is now close enough to get underneath you and mount an offense. He moves to X-guard.

At this point you must begin to solve the problem you face. From X-guard he can sweep easily or come up for the takedown, or even worse, start to attack your back. This requires you to utilize a specific set of skills, escape, and passes to start to turn the tables and regain a dominant position. As a top player myself, I understand problem solving very well. See, in BJJ the bottom player, or guard player, always has the advantage based on the rules. The guard player can sweep or attack at any given moment, while the top player must pass the powerful legs/guard of the bottom player to attack. There are a few options to attack the legs, but if missed, the top player risks being placed into a dominate position.

The goal here is to pass your opponent’s guard and maintain a dominant position such as mount, side-mount, or knee on belly. From these positions you are much more able to attack. You have effectively solved the major problem of getting passed your opponent’s guard, and are now looking for the absolute solution, a submission. As fighters we are always looking for the submission. It is single handedly the most definitive solution there is. It’s not based on points, advantages, or a referee’s biased decision. You and your opponent and everyone else clearly know who the winner is. Leaving your fate up to chance is not part of controlling your situation or your destiny.

In our business and in life we are constantly faced with challenges we must find solutions for. Some are very simple, while others can be highly complex. Applying your brain and skills as you do in BJJ will help you not only solve the problems, but to find finalized solutions so they do not rise up again.

Problem Solving Strategies

  • Define the problem be very detailed and very specific as to what the problem is

  • Define all the ways it is a problem to you, how is it impacting your life in every way, again be specific

  • Brainstorm all the possible solutions for the problem and choose the solutions that are the most efficient and align best with your goals and ideology

  • Implement your strategy (whether that is you doing the work or if you outsourced it to someone else)

  • Set specific timelines and milestones to get to the desired results

  • Clearly define the accountability for not reaching the goal or milestones and hold people or yourself accountable, stick to your word no matter what

  • Set up systems that prevent this problem and any other problems that may come to attention from reoccurring


Leave a Reply

Close Menu