Class 2014-07-02: Attack Triggers

AttacksIt appears common of late to include “trigger warnings” when you are about to talk about anything that might cause the reader mental or emotional discomfort.  This here is jiu-jitsu, kids, and we embrace discomfort around here.  Triggers are something we look for and embrace.  Jiu-jitsu triggers don’t come with any warning, and you have to pounce on them like you’re hunting for your next meal. 

This class goes over some basic concepts regarding triggers, and leads with side control triggers.  The reality is that any time your opponent alters their basic defensive posture, you should be treating that movement as a trigger.  Their job is to make that trigger as risk-free as possible, but every motion away from a solid defensive posture carries some risk.  Your job is to notice and expand that risk.  If their elbow is a little away from their body, make it a lot away from their body.  If their hands move away from their neck, make sure they never get any closer to their neck.  If they turn away from you, don’t let them turn back.  Every mistake your opponent makes should be met with a ratchet.  They can only go towards something worse, never towards something better.

Triggers can also be viewed through the lens of positional abstractions.  By this I mean things like any time your opponents arm is isolated between your legs, there’s a way to turn that situation into a arm attack.  Or if you find their head and arm isolated from their other arm, there is some kind of triangle available.  It doesn’t matter if they are isolated in your legs or your arms, or even in some scenarios inside your leg and arm, there is a triangle there waiting to be attacked.

Although some of the appropriate attacks for a given trigger may be more advanced level attacks, simple triggers are a crucial aspect for becoming a blue belt.  You must know that if someone is in your guard and they try to put one arm inside your legs, you need to triangle them.  Or, if they step a leg up, there are various sweeps available, like elevator or pendulum.  Recognizing the basic triggers for the setup they are will give you an awareness of your opponent’s errors.  Every movement will become an opportunity, even if you don’t immediately recognize what you can do.  Improvising your attacks becomes possible, and is enormously fun if not always successful.

The point here is that a trigger is something you look for to capitalize on.  At the lowest skill levels, this is merely recognizing high percentage attack scenarios and using basic fundamentals to attack and finish.  At higher levels, you are looking for things like subtle weight distribution changes, reducing your opponents options of possible triggers, or reinforcing every mistake they make.

Be observant.  Movement is opportunity only if you know your fundamental triggers and eventually your abstract triggers.

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