The great divide
There are two approaches to winning in jiu jitsu. The first are PROACTIVE methods. Here the idea is to INITIATE THE ACTION. You set the goal and start the work towards it. So if I favor arm bar attacks, I will begin with set ups that PUSH THE ACTION TOWARDS ARM-BARS. This stands in contrast to REACTIVE approaches. Here, I passively observe my opponent’s actions. He initiates and as I observe I see OPPORTUNITY ARISE IN THE COURSE OF THE ACTION. I then match the opportunity with the appropriate technique and score. Let’s understand something very important about these two different approaches. Proactive approaches generally require A SMALL SET OF FAVORITE MOVES ENCASED IN A LARGE COLLECTION OF SET UPS THAT ENABLE YOU TO FORCE THEIR APPLICATION AGAINST SOMEONE EXPECTING THEIR USE. Reactive approaches on the other hand, generally require A LARGE SET OF MOVES TO COVER ANY SITUATION OUR OPPONENT PUTS US IN, BUT VERY LITTLE SET UP AS THE OPPONENT CREATES THE OPPORTUNITY FOR US. This means the stylistic difference between the two can be quite dramatic. Proactive games are all about creating the conditions for a few favorite moves. Reactive methods are all about patience, pacing, sensing opportunity and having the breadth of technique to cover whatever opportunity emerges in front of you. There have been great champions using both approaches - and indeed - great champions who merged both approaches together. Understanding which approach you want to master will help give you a sense of what kind of training program you must adopt to make good progress.