As I compete in the Masters divisions on a National and International level, I notice there is two common attributes I see in my fellow competitors. In my division, it is not uncommon to have opponents who are profiled on BJJ Heros, or are third, fourth or fifth degree Black Belts, so we are talking about highly skilled and experienced competitors. The attributes I see are aggression and patience. These may seem diametrically opposed, but are used in an effective strategy.
Firstly, aggression means they are always attacking early, and looking to remain the aggressor throughout the fight. This puts the opponent on the defence and playing the aggressors game and not their own.
Secondly, the patience relates to once they have a strong or dominant position, they don’t rush to capitalise on it, but instead maintain the position and wait for the right opportunity.
This is a balance I struggle with. I my last completion at the Pan Ams I had a reasonably good top position, but was struggling to maintain it. There was a bit of a scramble, and we ended up in a neutral position, me with double underhooks and my opponent holding my belt, preventing me from moving him much at all. I was pushing to improve my position, not being patient enough, and got swept. I recovered full guard and attacked a number of submissions and sweeps, but my opponent battened down the hatches and wouldn’t be moved. He was penalised for stalling, but this didn’t affect the outcome of the match and he won 2-0. In retrospect being more patient, and continue to try and work to a Baja pass would have been the better option, although I was wary of getting triangled transitioning to this. Alternatively, getting to my feet or a top position, rather than recovering guard would have probably been strategically better, possibly resulting in an advantage at most.
I made sure to try and catch the semi-finals and final of my division. The final was pure strategy. The final was 2 penalties to 3, with a score of 2-0. Other than takedown attempts, it was nearly all patience.