Waypoints

Prioritize getting to positions where you have lots of good options.

Some positions grant excellent options for you and minimal options for your opponent. These are positions you should actively seek out. We call these positions “waypoints.”

When you’re in a waypoint, it’s much easier to execute the techniques you want, and much harder for your opponent to disrupt your gameplan. Prioritize getting to waypoints whenever possible.

If you’re having trouble executing techniques, there’s a chance you need to focus on getting to a waypoint first, where the technique will have a higher chance of success.

Waypoints are a specific application of funneling: you’re trying to steer your opponent into a position that’s good for you and bad for them.

Waypoints are sometimes referred to as “pit stops,” or in the case of guard passing, “base passing positions.”

What makes a good waypoint:

A good waypoint position is one where:

  • you have a lot of good options
  • you’re well versed at all those options
  • your opponent has few, or predictable, options
  • you’re well versed at the predictable responses from that position
  • there’s good return on investment (maximal benefit with minimal risk).

Examples of good waypoints:

Some positions are naturally suited to be waypoints. Common waypoints include:

Headquarters: A powerful one-leg-in, one-leg-out passing position. There are numerous excellent passing options from headquarters, especially in no gi.

Prayer position: A variant of side control where your elbows are tucked in and your hands are up, often framing against your opponent’s bicep. This is a great defensive position for escaping side control.

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