The Phalanx ...
I am often asked to elaborate on the pros and cons of two seemingly different approaches to the development of ones personal game on the mat. Is is better to pick one idea (say: Back-choke) and focus all of your attention on that one thing - or develop a wide variety of techniques instead. On the surface, it can seem that these are two mutually exclusive ideas. my view is that this is not necessarily the case.
Instead of choosing one or the other (obsession with a single technique vs a wide variety of techniques) I think we can have the best of both worlds in a single approach. What I call the Phalanx Approach.
By this I mean that we can put our focus one a single technique - sat back-choke for example - but think of everything else that we know, and can learn, as a way of improving our chances to make that back-choke happen. So the tip of our Phalanx is represented by the back-choke - but every sweep, transition or other attack, can be used to better drive our opponent toward the back-choke.
Marcelo Garcia (one of the worlds most technical BJJ competitors) for example, often finishes with a back-choke. But it is his whole game that drives the fight to that inevitable conclusion. His hook guard, forces his opponents to try to back away and control his legs - this gives him an opportunity to arm-drag and get the opponents back - which in turn gives him the opportunity to execute his back-choke.
The more we learn, the more options we have to drive the fight to the conclusion we want.
Another way to think of it is like a game of chess. In chess, there is only one way to win - Kill the opponents King. But how many possibilities and howe many different ways of moving all the different pieces are there - to achieve that same simple goal. So the goal itself may be one, relatively simple idea, but the almost infinite variety of tools, moves and strategies we use to achieve that goal is what makes the whole think s complex - so interesting - and so mjuch fun.