Dilemma

Force your opponent to choose between two equally bad options.

A dilemma is defined by Wikipedia as: “a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is unambiguously acceptable or preferable.” In the context of Jiu-Jitsu, creating dilemmas for your opponent is a sound strategy because, by presenting them with several poor options and limiting the alternatives, you slowly funnel them into worse and worse situations.

Dilemmas are powerful because they take away your opponent’s agency. Your opponent cannot make effective decisions if, instead of making their own choices, they are forced to choose between bad options you have presented to them.

Here’s a strategy for creating dilemmas:

  1. Know the predictable responses to a technique.
  2. Have an answer for each of those predictable responses.
  3. Present your opponent with a dilemma where they must choose between one of the predictable responses.
  4. Apply the predictable response immediately so your opponent is not able to dictate the pace.

Trilemmas, and beyond, exist as well.

Examples of dilemmas in Jiu-Jitsu

  • The classic triangle/armbar combination.
  • Using the omoplata as a sweep or submission.
  • Using the Kimura trap to advance position or submit.

Further study