Oct 03

Why Thinking about the Critical Point Can Help You

Find the Critical Points in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

Recently, I was introduced to the concept of critical points in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Josh Vogel wrote an article where he discussed his thought process on the concept.

It made me think.

You should check out his article as well because I am going to approach the concept from a slightly different angle.

When is the Best Time to Switch Gears

I started thinking about critical points a few days ago, and not soon after that a situation arose where I was able to make a logical connection to application.

I was teaching a semi-private, and I was asked about what to do when you get hit with a bump sweep and mounted. The focus of the question was on escaping mount after the control had been established.

Of course, that is one of the worst times to start escaping mount. It is far easier to start the escape in the transition.

Now if we use the framework of critical points and look at the situation of being swept into mount, there are two points where the outcome can be changed.

The first is during the sweep. You can either stop it or you can be swept. Then if you are swept, there is a window where mount can be prevented.

To me, the most interesting critical point is found between the sweep and the mount. In that moment, the sweep has been lost. You’ve past the point where you can stop it, but there is an opportunity to prevent the secondary position.

It requires two things:

  • You have to recognize when you’ve past the critical point where you can stop the sweep.
  • You have to switch gears to escaping the mount in the transition

Let’s Merge Concepts

As I was thinking about this, I realized there are a lot of similarities between the concepts of critical points and triggers.

In their most fundamental forms, they are simply events that offer critical advantages if recognized and acted upon.

A quick example would be if someone allowed their elbow to cross the center line of your hip in closed guard. Right there, that’s a trigger to armbar them.

In that same example, there is a critical point where the defense of the arm is decided. Once one leg clamps down on the back, the other leg slides over the head, all space between the knees vanishes, and the hip raises, it’s often too late.

Both the trigger and the critical point were events where actions can be taken. In those two examples, the only difference was that the trigger was looked at from the offensive perspective while the critical point was defensive.

How Does Thinking about Critical Points Help You

This is the question you want answered. I know, I know. It’s completely understandable.

It’s really simple though.

If you put effort to recognizing events where the outcome of situations can be significantly altered, you will be better prepared to take advantage when those events occur.

Also, you start to develop a better sense of how to make those events to happen. That’s definitely what happened to me when I started thinking about triggers. Now I have critical points to think about as well, and so do you.

Take the time to identify the critical points and triggers. Once you make a conscious effort to look, they will start popping up everywhere.