Path of Least Resistance

Go around obstacles rather than through them.

If your opponent establishes a frame you can’t get past, go around it rather than trying to muscle your way through it.

Intuitively, this makes sense.  If you were confronted with a wall, you wouldn’t try to run straight through it; you’d look for a door.  However, during sparring, we often fail to think critically about whether we are actually running headlong into a wall that we’re never going to break through.

A common and relatable Jiu-Jitsu example is attempting to pass the half guard when your opponent has established a knee shield.  You’re almost never going to be successful in plowing through the knee shield, but that doesn’t stop many of us from driving our weight into our opponent’s knee and hoping it’ll move.  Spoiler alert: it won’t.

To defeat your opponent’s frames and barriers, find the past of least resistance.  Go around the obstacle rather than through it.  In Jiu-Jitsu, the path of least resistance usually means switching angles and establishing a dominant angle.

In the knee shield example above, the path of least resistance involves changing the angle by standing up and pulling your opponent’s legs so he is on his back instead of his side.

If you catch yourself pushing hard against your opponent with your muscles, this is often an indication that you need to find the path of least resistance and change angles.