According to legend, Alexander the Great was once faced with a problem that seemed intractable.
In the year 333 B.C. he marched into the Phrygian capital of Gordium in modern Turkey. And within the city, there was a prophecy. It foretold the conquest of all of Asia by any man who could succeed in unraveling an extremely complicated knot known as the Gordian knot.
It was a challenge that just couldn’t be resisted.
And he didn’t hesitate. He strode forth and spent long moments to unravel the knot, but all his efforts were unsuccessful. The problem was too complex. But then, he did something unexpected. He pulled his sword from his sheath, raised it high, and then severed the knot straight down the middle.
A simple solution to a complex problem.
And there’s lesson there for those of us who play this Jiu-jitsu game.
This art is filled with complexity, but there is also simplicity.
One of the areas where things can easily get complicated is open guard. Every time you look around, there’s a newfangled guard. Worm guard, donkey guard, octopus guard, and so on (hooray for biology inclusion into the art).
I’m not a fundamentalist. I love all the innovation. But you’re faced with a problem when you’re hit with a guard that you’ve never seen before and you have to pass.
That’s where concept comes into play.
No matter what control in guard is determined by the quantity of contact points. Guard is strong when someone has both hands and both legs on you. And if you did nothing else but destroy those points of contact, you would weaken their control.
The application of that principle is very linear too.
Every grip you break, exponentially weakens your opponent’s control. What that means for you is that you don’t need to know a specific pass for every guard that someone uses on you.
You just need to understand how to neutralize and break points of contact.
Even if you did nothing else, you would increase your ability to pass all these complicated guards.