What is your desired finish in a fight?

One of the backbones of my teaching is the “In fight Intent Triage” idea. It is a conceptual/strategic/tactical roadmap that acts as a mental checklist during a fight to ensure that even in the most chaotic situations, you are attempting to always choose the best and most efficient path to winning, while avoiding opening up unnecessary windows of vulnerability.

A number of people are surprised that I use it for all types of fights, whether grappling, standing striking and clinch, or even weapons. The knee jerk reaction to seeing it presented in one area (for example on the ground) has a tendency to make them look at it very narrowly.

However, it is most certainly not narrow. It is very broad in fact. IIT (In fight Intent Triage) is not about the specific mechanics, but rather about the overall direction of the fight. One area where people are most surprised at this is at the final stage, the “Finish”.

This is at the end of the checklist. I purposefully labeled it the way I did, rather than anything specific. The reason is that whatever finish you would like to do, they all require the same circumstances. If you are unsure of what I mean, or even that you disagree, let’s breakdown one specific type of finish and go from there.

So, to apply a submission as my finish, I need to do three things:

1) I need to maintain the spatial relationship/positioning between my
opponent and myself. If he can move away or even shift around too
much, the submission might become out of reach or closed off, or he is able to move into a position where he can actually turn the tide of the fight in his favor, so I
have to control both mine and his relative positions.

2) I have to have some control or open space for whatever I am putting
the submission on. I need to have the ability to get to his arm if I
want to do a kimura for example. I can’t choke him if he is covering
up his neck. If I can’t get to his legs or prevent them from moving, I can’t do a kneebar.

3) I have to prevent him from stopping my attack. If I am doing an
americana and I leave his other arm free, he can reach in and grab his
arm and defend the sub. If I am looking to do a loop choke and he gets
one or both hands in the way, I will fail, etc..

So, those steps have to be there for me to do a submission (the
“finish”). But those things all also have to be accounted for if I am
going to strike him, if I am going to disengage and escape, if I need
to hold him so others can come to my aid, or if I am going to draw a
weapon. If any of those three things are not present, and I draw a
pistol, my opponent has the same chance of fouling/stopping me as he
would defending a submission! All of the same exact circumstances have to be met in order to make my chosen finish a high percentage move.

Can I try to finish without all those prerequisites being met? Sure, but the chance of failure skyrockets. If I try to draw a weapon without those three steps, I am betting literally my life that I can out drag race the bad guy. Maybe I can, and maybe I can’t. But if I had only followed the above rules, I minimize the effects my opponent’s attributes will have on the outcome of the fight. Which is certainly important, especially if said opponent is bigger, stronger, faster, tougher, in better shape, less injured, etc.

So it is irrelevant what we are looking for as a finish. I need to
have the same steps in play for any desired end state. Whether I want to play the striking game, or get a submission, or be Mr. Gunfighter, I need the same things. Unless I want to risk a
scramble/drag race, in which I have a decent (probably even at least)
chance of failing. If I take the time and effort to fulfill the above
requirements, I am stacking the odds towards my favor.