Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Angle Concept

When you create angles in BJJ, it's what allows someone much smaller to pass the guard of someone much bigger. It's also one of the hardest things to master.

You see 45°, 90°, and 180° angles most often. What happens if you are standing and I simply shove you at a 45° angle? You lose balance on one leg, get heavy on the other leg, and get slightly pushed backwards. This works on either sides. What about when they are on their backs? You drive into them at a 45° angle, you are pushing their knees together, flattening them out, and getting to a chest to chest position.

What if they are standing and you push them at a 180° angle? Well basically you are shoving them backwards and they get heavy on their heels. What do they do? Step backwards. At what angle? 90° from their other foot.

Same things when you are on bottom and they stand up from your guard and you double ankle sweep. They fall straight backwards, 180° angle. What about when they are in your closed guard and you do an up and over sweep? You direct your energy up at a 45° angle. When you have a single leg what angle are you using to push them down? Or how about even a double leg? A 45° angle, 90° angle, or driving straight through to a 180° angle.

Now when you hold cross side what angle are you to them? 90°. What about when you are mounted? You are at 180° to them. What about when they try to hip escape? They are trying to frame off of you at a 90°. What about when they buck and you post? You post out at a 45° angle.

Sounds like a simple set of rules. It's all based off of triangles, the building block of all formations. Nothing can stand without at least 3 points.

So what does your opponent want you to do? They want you to prevent those angles while they create those angles. Or also possibly make you move play outside of those angles. If you are in someones butterfly guard, and they have their feet at a 45° or 90° angle from their heel to their butt, they can generate a lot of power. If you can smash that and make their heels touch their butts, like an angle of 10°, it is easier to press their heels all the way to their butt or to get to 0° than it is for them to push you back to 90°. Or you are passing and they make a frame with their elbow at 90°. You somehow threaten their arm, they seal their own arm in to prevent the submission, and now you can flatten them out because that frame is now less than 90° or even 45°.

If someone is turtled and you make them sit on their heels, it is really hard for them to get up. The concept is sitting on their heels, it's to break any right angles. If you flatten them out bellydown after taking the back, it is also hard for them to get up. Flat or 180° angles stick onto other flat surfaces. If I am flat on top of them, I stick on them, if they are flat to the mat, they stick to the mat. My flat palms stick better to the mat than basing on my knuckles. Which makes knuckle push ups harder because I am forced to balance. It's that centeredness and attachment I spoke about previously. Their whole center is now attached to the mat, and your center is attached to them. Making it difficult to get up, so they are now forced to roll to their side.

Its simple because its only a few effective angles, but BJJ is not 2 dimensional. It's 3 dimensional. So those angles also are created up and down, side to side, front to back, and vary from whatever you use as the center point. Not only that, their is also roll, pitch, yaw. It's also constantly changing and moving and changes with body types and our body types in comparison to theirs. Then there is also weight involved...

So how can we calculate all this? We can't really consciously but our brain and body can do it very quickly. We call this sensitivity, alertness, or experience. This is how smaller guys can literally smash bigger guys at times, they understand being heavy, but it's easy for a big man to fling a small man off of them. So they use proper angles to always alleviate their power. Big men just like little men have to abide by those same rules of angles and if a small man can out play those angles and use it against a bigger man, then the small man can feel very very large. But they are large, look at all the angles and surface degree they control. They control a lot of you, and a lot of the mat, moving from area to area. That's what makes them feel large and heavy, like a mobile rolling pin.

Now with the awareness of angles though, our sensitivity will grow with purpose.

Even the way we stand up in BJJ are based on these principles.

Watch the first 30 seconds of this video. Rickson is demonstrating moves. The guy sweeps Rickson with the double ankle as I described at 180°. He tries to come up and mount at 45° (mounting off of that is a bit greedy as far as strategy goes), Rickson scoots backwards at a 45° angle then comes forward at a 45° to stay on top.

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