When in Doubt, Return to Fundamentals

Anyone who has ever gotten decent as a sport is usually a quick student of game. This is because athletes know how to approach a new discipline. Athletes also know how to troubleshoot.

I’ll give you an example by discussing the most effective martial art system ever devised – Gracie Jiu Jitsu (what guys now call Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or BJJ).

To use BJJ effectively in a fight, you must master some fundamentals:

  • Close the distance.
  • Clinch.
  • Takedown.
  • Submission.

That took  30 seconds to write but that will take you a couple of hundred hours on the mat to get good and it will take several thousands of hours to master.

You can watch all of the Gracie in Action videos and see those tactics at play. First, the fighter will close the distance by using a push kick to the knee. Then the fighter will clinch with his opponent. This prevents the fighter from getting punched. Next comes the takedown. (Sometimes the clinch is skipped as the fighter goes for a double leg takedown rather than a body lock.)

After the opponent is on the ground, the fighter passes guard (if needed) and attacks from the mounted position. In mount, the fighter rains down punches. Since people do not like getting punched in the face, the opponent will throw up his arm to defend himself (in which case he’ll be arm locked) or he will roll to his belly (and be submitted with a rear naked choke).

Once you understand these fundamentals, you can always tell where you need to improve. Some guys are great grapplers once the fight is on the ground but they cannot take the fight to the ground. This means you train takedowns. Other guys are too afraid of getting hit. This means they need to focusing on learning how to close the distance.

Whenever there is a problem, the solution is to look towards fundamentals.

Game is no different. The fundamentals of game are:

  • Make the approach.
  • Build attraction.
  • Establish comfort.
  • Maintain momentum.
  • Overcome last-minute resistance.

Simple, right? You approach a girl. You build attraction by demonstrating value. You can demonstrate value through any number of ways – directly by just looking the part or less directly have having interesting stories.

Creating momentum is what it means to “sweep a  girl off of her feet.” Once she is attracted to you, you create momentum by physically escalating through touching, squeezing her, and dominating her (for example, by leading her to a new venue).

If you create too much momentum, the girl will get skittish. This is where comfort comes in. (I actually don’t personally use much comfort, but most guys tend to find it works well for them.) Sometimes a girl just wants to talk about innocent subjects a few minutes, which means a man needs to lay off the sexual talk and stop going for make-outs for  a few minutes.

Finally, you have to anticipate last-minute resistance. No girl has ever just had sex with me without pausing for a minute. You can overcome LMR in many ways. One girl said, “Wow, you don’t waste any time,” after I started undressing her within 5 minutes of getting her on my bed. I just chuckled and kept going for it. In my college days I used to stop to “talk about it.” I always lost the bang. Now I never do.

What does this all mean? It means that if you’re not getting laid as often as you should, it’s not because you’re missing out on some zany opener. Your fundamentals are fucked up.

If you’re approaching often but not getting numbers, it’s because you’re not building attraction. (You don’t need to establish comfort in order to get a number.) If you’re getting a lot of make-outs but no bangs, it’s because you’re not creating comfort. She feels like things are “moving too fast.” Slow down and relax.

Have you ever tried pushing a car? If you just push on the car, it’s not going to move. To create the momentum needed to move the car, you have to let it rock back a bit (comfort). Then you push it forward (attraction). Then you let it rock back again. Finally you have the momentum needed to keep the car moving.

Even if your view of the fundamentals differ from my own, you need to have an idea of what the fundamentals are. Otherwise you will be randomly changing variables without any conception of what problem the change is supposed to address.

Incidentally, BJJ and game have something else in common. Namely that you need to spend time actually applying it. Sitting around all day over what works and what doesn’t is of limited value.

There is no substitute for time on the mat and hours meeting women.


  • samseau

    Very nice article.

    Question about BJJ: In a real street fight there are no boundaries. What if your opponent is faster than you? You’ll never be able to get to the clinch. He won’t be able to hurt you either, though. But it seems to me BJJ is primarily a defensive art.

    • Danger & Play

      In a self-defense situation, not losing is as good as winning.

      The ego needs to win to validate itself, but there aren’t any prizes for winning a street fight other than potential jail time and lawsuits.

  • samseau

    Another problem is if you’re outnumbered. What does a BJJ fighter do then?

    I’m not knocking BJJ. It’s obvious it’s superior to other fighting forms. But when it comes down to a street fight, the rules are:

    1. Have more friends
    2. Have the better weapons
    3. Gouge their eyes out

    • Danger & Play

      Why would you assume that groups of guys who all train BJJ don’t go out together, don’t have weapons, and can’t gouge eyes?

      Gouging eyes, incidentally, is one of those mythical things that krav maga, kung-fu, kenpo, and other traditional martial arts claim is effective in a fight. It’s how they rationalize training an inferior form of self-defense. You will also hear them talk about “throat strikes” and other such nonsense.

      How is a guy going to gouge the eyes out of a BJJ guy? Is the BJJ guy just going to stand there and let him?

      And if you can’t reach your arms out to punch a guy, how are you going to gouge his eyes?

      BJJ = red pill. Eye gouging and other “deadly techniques” = blue pill.

      • http://nexxtlevelup.com Nate

        “In a self-defense situation, not losing is as good as winning.”

        Truth. My wrestling background and the half year I took of pretty rigorous BJJ (not claiming to be expert by any means but it translated easily) have been good enough so far and instrumental in de-escalating situations. Taking dudes to the ground before shit gets out of hand- usually people start breaking it up, you can calm him down and what not or you can, like my 140 lb instructor, get huge mofos who are trying to fight at clubs in arm bars and have them tap out in front of security and the police. Regardless, everyone can dust off and go home assault charge free.

        “The ego needs to win to validate itself, but there aren’t any prizes for winning a street fight other than potential jail time and lawsuits.”

        Can’t be repeated enough. There are a few times that I’m am really fucking glad people broke it up because I was raging pissed and had the dude all pretzled up and wide open. Could have turned out badly for everyone. But once again, having those takedown and ground fighting skills helped get those situations resolved quickly.

        BJJ for the win.

      • sfer

        According to the history book “Albion’s seed”, eye gouging was no joke:


        “An English boxing match,” he wrote, “. . . is humanity itself compared with the Virginian mode of fighting,” with its “biting, gouging and (if I may so term it) Abelarding each other.” Anburey described “a fellow, reckoned a great adept in gouging, who constantly kept the nails of both his thumbs and second fingers very long and pointed; nay, to prevent their breaking or splitting . . . he hardened them every evening in a candle.”

        This doesn’t happen all that often nowadays because it is gross, but apparently it used to happen.

  • Constantine

    Game and BJJ: Both consist of bodies rubbing on each other.
    BJJ requires strategy so does game. BJJ at first seems chaotic, so does game and corporate navigation. I agree that practical application puts theory into a comprehensible framework. Trial and error etc. Your analogy, at first may seem to be crude, but fight and fuck (and corporate life) are rarely refined realms.

    But to be honest, if someone is inclined to take the fight to the ground, he must be prepared to be on the receiving end of ground and pound. Krav Maga (I do not know about other martial arts) assists the practitioner of forming the mentality of not going to the ground, thus increasing the probability of escaping a nasty situation. Even being on top, you cannot control your surroundings and you are exposed to surprise attacks. Furthermore it cannot be ignored that fight situations are not only classic one on ones but may be predatory attacks and ambushes.

    Now if the fight is a “one on one” for the eyes of a lady or any other reason of honor (I personally avoid all kinds of fight since knives and gun powder are always around…) by all means spin the fucker around and choke him to death, for all I care. In all other situations, kick in the groin, grab an object and smash it on his face or chew on his carotid artery.

  • http://aboutlifting.com/ About lifting

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    Apparently I don’t use dope as of now, I believe I haven’t reached my physical potential yet, but I am very much knowledgeable to the fact that steroid-hate is “so” overrated and unscientific as proven by that post.
    Thanks dude

  • anon1

    solid article which pairs up quite well with Krausers post on dead and alive arts: http://krauserpua.com/2013/07/13/daygame-and-compliance/

    • Danger & Play

      Yes, there are many parallels between game and fighting.

      If you go into an MMA gym, you’ll see a lot of guys dating above their looks league.

  • http://www.wellbuiltstyle.com Manny

    If someone truly wanted to hurt you they would just ambush you. Plain and simple. No style of fighting is going to save you from getting stabbed half a dozen times when your back is turned and your just minding your own business sipping a beer at the bar.

    This is not to discredit any system of fighting, it’s just reality. If a guy REALLY wanted to kill you he’s not going to square up.

    There is a great book on the subject called “Meditations on Violence” written by Rory Miller. About as red pill as it gets with respect to martial arts and real world violence.

    • Danger & Play

      Do you live in Somalia where every fight involves knives and AK-47s?

      Some of you guys just think of exceptions all day when the reality is that most fights are one-on-one and end within 30 seconds.

      So asking, “What happens if the guy pulls a sword out of his cane while another one pins you against the wall and starts sodomizing you” is just fantasy island shit.

  • DVY

    Comfort is a tricky thing. In fact, the only “comfort” I give to a girl is that I am a young professional, who has hobbies and likes to travel.

    The less conventional “comfort” I did, the better I did. At least for Americanized girls.

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