I would expect you to do well walking into a Judo dojo, Kevin, because we already know you are an exceptional martial artist. (Am I correct in recalling that your background is in MACP?) But in this thread we are actually asked to make generalizations about a category of martial artists. For the record, I was coming out for BJJ players and stating that they can be extremely dangerous. I roll with friends who can tap me 3 times in 5 minutes. So obviously, it makes sense to take some prior consideration and appropriate training (which is why I still roll with them).
To do that, we're required to discuss the relative weaknesses in general terms. My statement about BJJ'ers not liking to get hit is based on their UFC performance (yes, my favorite yardstick again). Demian Maia is one of the few really successful "pure" BJJ practitioners (well, maybe Fabricio Verdum and the Nogueira bros. too). And I was thinking of Maia when I said that. He hates it. Top trainers have learned how to counter BJJ, so it's lost the exclusive dominance it once had.
A BJJ player needs to take you down to work their game. Judoka are specialists in take down defense. That is why I say "all other things being equal" the BJJ player will struggle to implement their plan. Once it arrives on the ground, the balance of power shifts, so how do they regain an advantage? This seems to be the original question.
I know you are a Brazilian Ju Jitsu proponent, so it's natural to take it's criticism personally, but I will still encourage you not to. I'm not making any personal judgements. Just answering the OP, which is about how to neutralize "a" BJJ attacker. We assume they meant no one in particular.
I think this is where Mary usually chimes in with her "Circus Pony" comment!
Contrary I don't take it personally, I really don't...I just offer a counter perspective that is all.
It appears the "all things being equal" means within the constraints of competitive rules, so I will restrict my framework to that, especially as it applies to UFC and/or Judo tournaments, and BJJ tournaments.
in MACP training I used to spend a few hours lecturing about the effects of rules on fighting. we would show fights from UFC 1-4 and then later as the rules began to evolve...long story and can't really do this lecture on a forum... Rules matter is the bottom line. The early UFC certainly favored Gracie and Shamrock as they were able to exploit the rules and there were few well rounded fighters that did grappling and striking....there were specialist. As UFC rules put more constraints on the fights such as time limits, weight classes, limit to strikes, refs standing fights back up, and guys began to become more well rounded, it no longer required you to be good at BJJ, but only needed to learn how to defeat the BJJ opponents strategy. Agreed, today, we have no pure fighters in any one style but those that develop strategies that work well for them in UFC. However, those fighters are also specialist at what they do.
That same UFC fighter may not do well in a judo tournament or a BJJ tournament either. Rules matter. However, it is well accepted that you need to be somewhat proficient at grappling as well as striking.
I think the statement that says a BJJer needs to take you down to be successful at his game is an untrue stereotype. Certainly taking someone to the ground is a good strategy if you are good at that and they are bad at that. It certainly is safer than trading blows! Early Gracies in Action videos exploited this lack of understanding of other martial artist to the Gracies benefit!
My argument is that I have found GENERALLY that BJJers tend to be MORE well rounded than most martial art and you simply need to be cautious about forming generalizations. I support that with the proof that no other Martial Art has demonstrated the cross over potential that BJJ. We can split hairs over the relative significance of BJJ in UFC/MMA i.e. 50% stand up versus a ground and pound strategy etc. That may or may not have anything to do with self defense or reality on the street. (although I'd argue that UFC guys can probably hold there own!). We can also split hairs over the significance or percentage of fights that go to the ground on the street. (not important as 100% of all ground fights go to the ground and that is all that really matters if you are in one!)
I would hold up proof as to the adaptability of the BJJ training methods the following: BJJers did very well in Judo tournaments and still do, despite the Judo rule changes to discourage certain takedowns. Judo players do not fair as well in BJJ tournaments typically where the rules are less constrained. Judo and BJJ are not equally interchangeable, there is a distinct correalation that can be observed.
That is all I am saying. Agreed Judoka are specialist in their own right. I dedicated a few years to studying Judo and encourage all my students to study judo as the didactical model has much to offer.
However, the real core issue, IMO, isn't that BJJ is superior, it certainly isn't, but the real cause for success is the paradigm that BJJers typically adopt. That is, if it works...do it. It is an adaptive paradigm that is formed around a framework to make decisions. That is why you see the crossover potential of BJJ. So you will see high level guys studying muay thai for learning striking, going to judo to learn throwing etc. BJJers don't operate on a paradigm that is bound by tradition or style.
This can be frustrating for instructors sometimes when you get guys that need to learn basics emulating the latest Mendes Brothers moves, doing Marcelo Garcia's innovative moves, or going Eddie Bravo...but this is what I think makes it exciting and challenging too.
I sucked at thows (still do), so I strapped on a white belt and did Judo. What I carried with me from BJJ was not the techniques, but the framework of evaluation and decision making. That is the important part that allowed me to learn and adapt.
I use that same framework when I study Aiki. At this juncture, I'd say, I've really developed my own unique framework for decision making and evaluation. The important take away I think is to make sure that framework is not artificially constrained by the limits of your past experiences or martial art style.
For me, it really comes down to this secret...there are no BJJ attacks to neutralize!
A good BJJer has a solid framework composed of branches and sequels, he thinks two to three moves ahead and has five options for everything you are looking to neutralize. The chances are if you are working on an attack to neutralize, he has already moved on...you are behind his decision cycle and working to get back ahead.
So the secret to neutralize an attack is simple...you need to be ahead of his decision cycle and having him responding to your actions. This simply requires you to be better than him within the constraints of the "rules" you are playing by. it is not about the techniques.
This is what everyone above the rank of blue belt in BJJ intimately understands. It is not about techniques, but about understanding the conditions of the fight and simply being better than your opponent at what you do.
This is what makes BJJ culture and mindset adaptive as a methodology.
So if you want to neutralize him...go Musashi on him. Set the conditions of the encounter so they are favorable to you. Put the sun in his eyes. Constrain the situation. I bet you can do kokyu tanden ho better than 99% of the BJJers out there. I bet you can do ikkyo and shionage better than most of them too. I bet you that a Judoka can do Uchi Mata 100 times better and smoother than a BJJer too.
So the secret again is to only agree to fight him or compete with him within the constraints of the rules in which you understand you can beat him at. Don't fight his fight.
The under current is this though....if he cares and values what you do...most likely he will begin to learn it and figure out how to adopt it. His framework and paradigm demands that this happen....for me, this is the real secret to what make a BJJer successful and why BJJ has the reputation that it has. If he doesn't care about it...then he will simply ignore you and not engage you under those rules.
It is nothing special about the collection of techniques or the rules of BJJ.
I think there is something to be learned from this for anyone....have a good decision making and evaluation framework and be open to new things. It is that simple.
So to close. BJJers have been successful in other martial endeavors, not because the base practice of BJJ is better, but because the culture has an adaptive framework that is conducive to crossover. I firmly believe you will continue to see a large proportion of BJJers in MMA because of this. The mindset that these individual have makes them extremely successful in developing successful fight plans.