Having an offensive sequence allows you to ‘100-to-0’ your opponent. Skip to 1:44 to see what I mean:
That was the video of the semi-final match of the no-gi division at a tournament I did about a month ago. My opponent was a wrestler and we’d fought to a draw in an earlier match.
He was a strong guy (I found out later that he had about 20 pounds on me that day) and did a good job of taking me down and popping back up every time I went for a submission. I wasn’t having any luck with attacks from guard so I knew I’d have to try a different approach in the rematch.
He definitely had wrestling experience on me (I’d joined my school’s team for a season this year, but that was about five months compared to what was most likely years on my opponent’s end), but since I couldn’t submit him from guard, I figured I’d have to take him down and win from top.
I had about five minutes to prepare for the rematch, and the entire time I whispered four words under my breath: lat drop, spinning armbar
Yes – my entire gameplan consisted of four words and two techniques. The lat drop (or my version of it) was a takedown from the over-under clinch I’d learned a couple years ago that I was pretty good at and probably the only chance I had of taking down a good wrestler. The spinning armbar was one of my highest-percentage finishes from side control.
I knew that chaining these two techniques together would be my best chance of winning the rematch. I would have to hit the lat drop, land in side control, and finish with the spinning armbar.
That was my offensive sequence – two techniques and a four-step plan that looked something like this:
Get the Over-Under Clinch -> hit the Lat Drop -> secure Side Control -> finish with Spinning Armbar
For a primer on what offensive sequences are and why you should start building them, read this.
If you watch the video, you can see that the entire time I’m working towards that specific sequence.
For the stand-up portion of the match, I do nothing but fight off takedowns and try to get to the over-under clinch, and every time I get there, I attack with the lat drop. I don’t let him force me into playing his game – every time he goes for the collar tie (a wrestler’s favorite), I make sure to shrug it off and try again for the over-under.
The moment I hit the lat drop, you can see how smoothly I transition to the finish.
Getting to this level of proficiency with that combination of techniques didn’t just happen by accident. This is the result of going for that same chain of techniques, over and over again in training.
I have so many reps executing that specific sequence and drilling it into my muscle memory that it’s almost automatic for me once I get to a clean over-under clinch.
Imagine how it must have felt on the other end. One moment you’re in a neutral and “safe” position (the over-under) and the next, you’re on the ground and caught in an armbar before you know what’s happening.
That’s the power that comes with specializing in your choice of offensive techniques and chaining them together into offensive sequences.
How This Applies to You
You don’t have to train twenty hours a week to be able to do this. You just have to focus your training time and efforts into building specific offensive sequences and you’ll be pulling off things like this much sooner than you’d think.
Try it out next time you roll. Attack with one specific chain of techniques and don’t deviate from it no matter what kind of defenses you run into. Eventually, you’ll find the answers to the “roadblocks” that your training partners place against your techniques and you’ll be on your way to crafting a deadly weapon in your jiu-jitsu arsenal.
But how do you start building a sequence if you don’t have one by default? It’s really quite simple.
You probably already have a favorite technique for each stage of your offense in a grappling match (a favorite takedown or guard-pull, a favorite guard-pass, a favorite submission, etc).
Put these techniques together into a sequence that takes you from the start of the match to your favorite submission, and practice using this sequence, over and over again when you roll.
Stick to that specific sequence you’ve decided on when you train and don’t deviate from it until you’re able to get the tap using it in at least than 90% of your rolls against people of your skill level.
Over time, you’ll get so good at it that it won’t even look like a series of separate moves anymore – they’ll blend together to look like one beautiful and continuous attack that leads you from a “neutral” grappling position to a submission victory in a heartbeat.
All this starts by specializing your offense.