Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Angles

I've been thinking a lot lately about angles lately. Muscles can do a lot for you in BJJ, especially with squeezing and pushing power. No matter what though, no matter how strong someone is, a 5'5 person will never have the same leverage as a 6 ft. person. They are both dealing with different levers. BJJ is more of a game of physics than it is a game of strength. It's the reason why theoretically a smaller man can overcome a bigger man if the smaller man knows his physics better.

Having big muscles with weaker leverage or a weaker understanding of physics is like swinging a 5 inch blade as hard as you can to slice in a half a watermelon that is 10 inches in diameter. Adding extra strength won't help, because the physics to slice the watermelon are not there.

How does this apply to BJJ? With some guys it is so hard to stay on top of them or pass their guard because of their strength. They can just lift you or push you away. Even your own body weight won't help as they can easily maneuver your body weight with one arm. But there is limits to this. I realizing if they just stiff arm me while I am passing and I try to fight this pressure head on, all that ends up happening is I get driven up higher. He can create space because he can only push me away so far, I can't push any further forward, so it ends up that I start to be push upwards, giving my opponent room to recover his guard.

Now thinking about this, especially because I am injured, I realize he can only push me away to the length of his arm. If I slide backwards not forward, I can get to a point beyond his reach. The I can drop down and put direct pressure on his hips.

I also find that putting all my weight flat on my opponent, as opposed to keeping my knees off the ground, keeping my shoulders low, but my hips high, creates an angle and downward pressure that is much different.

You can also redirect their force in the same way you create an arc. A straight line, rotated will create an arc. If they are pushing me straight up, and I try to force my weight straight down, it's like trying to bend a straight line. In this instance the straight line is the bones of their arms, which would take more than my body weight to break. But if I can move my body instead of down but forward or back or side to side, their arms will move in an arc, their shoulders being the center point.

There are angles you can create to diminish their power or create power for yourself. For them to use their power, their power has to be applied through their limbs, which are natural levers. Strength applied at the wrong angles will have diminishing returns. A little strength applied at the correct angles, has minimal effort but big gains.

If you are holding someone in your butterfly and your heels are pressed to your butt, it takes twice as much strength to push someone away in comparison to if your knees were bent at 90 degrees. A right angle will be stronger than an acute angle.

When they say use pressure, what they really mean is, create a better angle.  This is a key difference. If you only weigh 150, you can't all of a sudden make yourself heavier. You are going to lay your 150lbs of pressure and it will stay 150lbs of pressure. What pressure really means is, create an angle so that 150 is not a distributed pressure, but a downward pressure. Not spread out evenly on your opponent as well as onto the ground, but all of it directly on your opponent. This can only be done with the proper angle. Pressure! Smash him! Please. It's not like I can make myself any heavier, and it's not like when I am on bottom where I can lift heavier than my body weight. If I am on top, even if I squeeze and pull myself down, 150lbs will stay 150lbs. If they tell you somehow magically you are getting heavier, you might as well take some chi based martial arts. How you angle that weight though will make the difference.

If you can apply everything you've ever learned to BJJ, then eventually you can apply BJJ to everything.

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