Dominance: Nullifying Levers

To nullify limb leverage we need to get arms and legs as straight and as far from the torso as a scenario allows:

In the case of the legs this involves uncoiling the knees, as locked leg action effectively shuts down the pushing and pulling power of the hamstrings and quadriceps, making movement hip flexor dependent.

Likewise, getting an arm straight disengages the pushing and pulling power of the biceps and triceps, while moving the elbow away from the body isolates movement dependency to deltoid/shoulder muscle instead of the much stronger back/lat.


Thinking about this now, where the leg connects to the hip is similar to the ball and socket shoulder joint, albeit less range of motion.

Last but not least, this concept can be utilized from structural disadvantages illustrating that you can dominate from cross-sides bottom (this is where the point thing messes with people’s natural sensibility).


Defense: Active Framing

Unless you’re a relative beginner, frames from structurally inferior positions should not just be there to prevent armlocks and chokes. They’re there to feel and re-direct energy as well as create space.

Call this defensive offense through use of structure to hitch rides and exploit anatomical weakness. Root, connect, and move into them, or if there’s energy use it!

Training: Maturity

Maturity in training is when you have the most fun doing whatever work gives you the most gain.

Such work is usually the monotonous, defensive, detail work that people avoid at all costs, which is the very reason why it generates massive benefit over time.

We all start out as noob sheep, but can learn to work like a wolf.

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Design: The X-Factor

Not sure how to put this into words, but continual artistic growth requires a general openness as insight favors a loose state of mind.

In the context of design, I think it’s good to have a fun project or two that don’t have much surface return. This helps nurture ideas that elude us when our approach gets too narrow in scope and fosters a healthy work/play balance.

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Design: The Golden Rule

Going to explore the intricacies of building a Jiu-Jitsu game in future posts, but wanted to point out first that game planning eventually collapses in on itself if not built on the foundation of what Jiu-Jitsu is.

Although I hold no illusions of understanding Jiu-Jitsu as a whole, one thing I know it’s not is imposing a series of positions from the outside-in at the behest of what’s present.

So, if there’s a golden rule of design it’s this:

While having and designing game plans is inherently useful in planning stages, the position ruling the roost is the one our opponent, or more accurately, the situation presents to us.

In summary, have a game plan, but be aware and adapt. This way, planning and the present work in concert and continually inform each other.

Design: Faceless Study

Art is possible when we understand the principles of a given domain well enough to create things through the filter of our individuality.

So, while it’s great to study practitioners whose Jiu-Jitsu is both effective and makes sense, from a creative perspective make such study as faceless as possible.

Off the top of my head I accomplish the above in two ways:

Mechanics– How does a position make use of momentum and capitalize on the inherent limitation(s) of human anatomy?

Motivation– Why is this individual choosing this particular solution? What makes this solution superior to other possible answers?

Since this Jiu-Jitsu is art I don’t believe in right or wrong answers, but there are effective solutions designed to meet specific goals.

In closing, copying is necessary in the beginning stages of learning, but there can only be one Rickson Gracie. We can’t go back in time and learn from Helio and then Rolls, nor fight Zulu in his prime as a teenager. Luckily though, we can honor the BJJ greats by striving to understand how they think and use this knowledge to meet our specific needs.

Dominance: Spine Isolation

Been thinking this past week about how spinal torsion can inhibit movement.

The more twist we can create (imagine indian burn or wringing out a wash cloth), the more we reduce hip movement.  As an example, while cross-faces don’t create lower body twist and won’t shut down upward bridging spinal flexion, the cervical twist involved does hamper shrimping ability on one side.

We can also position ourselves on the sternum and shoulder girdle from mount and cross-sides respectively.  I guess this could be classified as a geographic nullification of the shrimping, bridging, or lifting action of lumbar spine and hip.

Next up, we can encircle the hips with our legs in back position, or get a half hug around far or near-side hip from cross-sides with closest arm. Such control doesn’t provide much in the way of twisting torsion, but it does shut down shrimping to one side and allows for a hip ride. 

So there you have it, encircling, twisting, and geographic isolation.

When in doubt, take what’s there!

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Dominance: Harmony & Overall Objectives

Awarding points for maintaining side-control, knee-ride, mount, and back-mount is great as it encourages time invested in defensive positional skills to prevent offensive opportunity.

However, from a Jiu-Jitsu perspective, what I like is the idea of mobility and using these positions together in fluid fashion with the overall goal of hip/core domination. Functionally, I don’t care what position I’m in so much as nullifying core power and inertia via bridging, shrimping, and leg-lifting.

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Training: Drilling & Context

Drills are meant to develop specific skills.

A fun exercise is to watch a drill and asking what primary skill is intended to be honed?

On a related note, time-wise I would say the modern competitive athlete spends roughly 80% of practice time drilling. From what I’ve observed the typical BJJ practitioner takes instruction before sparring, with drilling being a novelty.

Additionally, as far as class time, I know the University of Oregon football program doesn’t consider instructional segments a part of practice. Practice for them is working on and applying what they covered in seperate technique oriented sessions.