A-Game Architecture: The SWOT Analysis

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This is article 3 of 5 in a series about architecting your A-Game for Jiujitsu.

  • Article 1: A-Game Architecture: Discover Your Current Self
  • Article 2: A-Game Architecture: Define Your Future Self
  • Article 3: A-Game Architecture: The SWOT Analysis
  • Article 4: A-Game Architecture: Monitor Your Technique Mastery
  • Article 5: A-Game Architecture: Your Jiujitsu Maturity Level

Where should we start in developing our A-Game? That was covered in more depth in our first 2 articles.

Analyzing YOURSELF and the Competition

In business, it’s common to assess your market and position in the market, your competitors and your position relative to those competitors.

It’s also important to assess all of the known threats in the environment with which you operate as they can affect all players.

Then you develop a plan of action to keep your market position (strengths), attack your opponents weaknesses (opportunities), and manage your exposure to threats.

In Jiujitsu training, we make these assessments often in real time, as we spar with our training partners.

So how do we begin to deliberately infuse this mindset into our training?

Let’s review the use of the SWOT Analysis.

SWOT stands for:

Technique = analyzed

Your A-Game Analyzed

From a big picture point of view:

Your A-Game is when your Strengths exploit your opponents Weaknesses.

These are your Opportunities to keep them in a state of Threat in a Jiujitsu battle.

The opposite is also true that your weaknesses become opportunities to exploit towards your opponents strengths.

Since we use the SWOT to analyze our position relative to our competitors in business, we can use it in the same way for looking at our Jiujitsu.

As a general practitioner, it’s highly recommended that you assess your individual game in the context of your training environment with consistent training partners.

This can also work for competitive athletes that have the ability to train with high level talent frequently and mimic challenges that expose your greatest weaknesses.

Here is a general flow of how to use the SWOT analysis:

  1. Pick a Phase of Jiujitsu Battle and one technique category (e.g., Grappling from Mount)
  2. Start with the known Threats when you are Defending.
    • When mounted, what threats am I exposed to? (e.g., armlocks, chokes, pressure)
    • What is my current exposure to these threats? (e.g., my top threat is I get arm-barred regularly). Assess all threats and rank by highest to lowest.
    • Do I have any Strengths that mitigate or reduce those threats? Or do I have a clear gap I need a solution?
  3. Continue this train of thought when you go from Defending from all offensive scenarios with which you are losing the battle from this position.
  4. Work through the same position but now from the point of view of Escaping, Controlling, or a Submitting.
  5. This will give you a comprehensive list of your current capabilities, as Strengths and Weaknesses, across the Jiujitsu battle.
  6. Strengths become part of your game to keep doing. Weaknesses are your areas of greatest exposure. Together, they become Opportunities to focus your training plan. All items are added to your Jiujitsu Backlog which becomes your action plan.
    • A backlog is a list of all things to be worked on. You prioritize them based on areas of greatest exposure to threat or greatest opportunity to exploit an opponent.
    • You can use any free app to track your backlog. Here is an example of a backlog for the Mount position. You can elaborate with as much detail as you need. The key is to consistently use it and track your progress.
The Backlog is your full list of To-Do’s
Move Weaknesses to “In Progress” with a plan
Done means you ran the plan and it worked

Analyzing Your Opponent

Just like your A-Game, when you practice this process, you can run through it more quickly.

In a competitive setting, if you know your opponents ahead of time, you can prepare a SWOT of your bracket that gives you more clarity on your potential game plans for competing.

If you don’t know your opponents, then this assessment is more macro to your competition level.

If you can assess your opponents in real-time you can gather intel on their game day preferences and have a high level plan of what to expect.

Regardless of the info you gather from watching potential opponents, your focus is always to steer the match to your strengths and away from theirs. If they have clear weaknesses, you should seek to exploit it and link it up to your strengths.

Developing Proficiency

As you evolve in this exercise over time, you will be creating a custom version of Jiujitsu that works for you and develops your proficiency across your game.

Over time, your collective proficiencies become your overall Jiujitsu capability maturity. This will be a topic in Article 5 of this series.

Keeping your overall goals and training plan focused, aligned and individualized to you requires patience, time and practice. These topics were covered in more depth in article 1 and 2 of this series.

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