Danaher on Military Strategy

Photo from Jiu-Jitsu Magazine.

Renowned jiujitsu coach of the Renzo Gracie team John Danaher is interviewed in the Sept/Oct 2017 issue of Jiu-Jitsu Magazine. On p. 51 he’s asked to elaborate on studying military strategy to improve one’s jiujitsu. He replied:

“Yes, I believe jiu-jitsu is combat on a one-on-one scale. It’s one individual against one individual. It mirrors many of the elements we find in mass combat – between armies…even between nations. So many of the profound thinkers in the history of combat concern themselves with combat on a grand scale, namely military combat. These outstanding thinkers have written about it in a very profound fashion. Many of the lessons they derive apply just as well to single combat as they do to what they talk about in mass combat.

Often if I find myself bereft of ideas or stunted in growth…I’m not progressing in certain directions..I will draw inspiration from people like this.  And very often it jolts my mind to directions I hadn’t investigated, or I had forgotten about, or I hadn’t paid enough attention to. And then, of course, you have to bring it back in a practical fashion to the sport of jiu-jitsu. It can’t just be abstract thinking. It has to be brought back to concrete results and actually enhance the performance of the jiu-jitsu athlete. So,I use them for inspiration to make me think about things differently, and then its up to me to make the abstract thoughts practical that will improve jiu-jitsu competition.”

If you’ve read your Musashi, it sounds like he’s reading Musashi… Otherwise this is an example par excellence of the usefulness of not only of military strategy, but of the martial tradition – in which jiujitsu (jujutsu) holds an honored place. And it’s usefulness isn’t simply for sport competition, but in terms of tactical and self-defensive performance as well.





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