Prevention Over Cure

Preventing a problem is better than fixing it after the fact.

“What’s the best escape when I’m stuck deep in a triangle choke?”

If you’re an instructor, you’ve probably heard questions like this. Unfortunately, the best answer is: don’t get stuck there in the first place. If you’re in a dire situation, to quote Kurt Osiander, “you fucked up a long time ago.”

That answer often isn’t satisfying for students, because they want a “silver bullet” solution to get out of trouble. However, in reality, it’s always best to avoid bad situations than to fight your way out of them.

Think of personal finance. There are many strategies to get out of personal debt, but it’s far better to avoid getting into debt in the first place. So although the answer is unsatisfying, it’s better to avoid getting into debt than to have to dig yourself out of it.

Similarly, in the context of self-defense: we all want to know the “magic” technique to win a dangerous encounter, but strategies such as self-awareness and de-escalation are far better than fighting. As repeat BJJ Mental Models guest Sergeant Major Seb Lavoie said, “the best fight you can get into is the fight you don’t get into.”

In Jiu-Jitsu, we should prefer maintaining alignment and denying openings, versus granting your opponent an attack vector and trying to recover afterward.

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