Tuesday, December 6, 2011

BJJ Sweeps: Levers and Force

In the last few months, the techniques that have most held my attention have been ones that involve using levers for getting your opponent off balance and then using force in the right direction to take them over. I am always thinking about it when I grapple. What can I trap and how can I take them over?

Here is what I look for specifically:

1) Where is their weight distributed? If they are leaning back, that is the way I am going to try to go. If their weight is forward, then I am going to take them that way.

2) Based on there their weight is, what will they use to steady themselves if I push them that way? Whatever it is, I try to trap it. Usually, it is an arm or a leg, or the hips. I am finding that hip movement is MUCH more important to sweeping--and defending sweeps--than is arm or leg strength. In fact, if I am straining, then I can be pretty much be sure that I have the angle off and I need to hip a certain way to fix it.

3) Be prepared to go the opposite way. Every time I push, I am expecting the person to resist in the opposite direction. Because of that, I try to get ready to pull and block on that direction so they go over.

The Trickity Trap:

A lot of the higher belts I grapple are really trickity. They like to pretend to be setting up a sweep, but then when you counter it, they take you over another way.
Anytime a higher belt appears to be letting me pass their guard... Trap.
Anytime a higher belt sits still for a minute while I am coming around to one side or driving into them...Trap.
Sadly, many times I have a feeling it might be a trap...and I keep going. Something like this usually results.
Sometimes, it is not so much that they planned it that way--although sometimes they do. More often, I think, it is their understanding of levers and force and years of practice doing the kinds of experimenting I mentioned above. They know how to get you off balance and how you are likely to try to regain your balance. Since they know the possibilities of what you might do, they already have a string of options in their minds that they can go to depending on your reaction.

Yeah. It's kind of not fair. ;)

But the cool thing is to think about how that could be me in the future. All I have to do is keep dragging myself out onto the mat and keep trying new ways to trap and trip up my opponents.


leslie said...

Lol, my higher belts do that, too. Any time I seem to gain good position, I know I'm about to walk straight in to a trap. And it's usually so well-hidden that I can't see it... so often I just have to take a deep breath and continue. And then: Splat! Doh.

SavageKitsune said...

It's even worse when you see the trap for what it is, avoid it, then mentally pat yourself on the back... as you plunge wholeheartedly into their SECOND trap. Double shame points if you actually said something along the lines of, "Oh no you don't, you're not going to get me with THAT one..."

Kintanon said...

This post reminds me of my favorite of all physics... VECTORS!!

If you were good with vectors back in physics class then you will always be able to look at someones position and know where they are weak.

Also, this kind of thing is why I love jiujitsu. I thrive on a game filled with tricks and cleverness.

A.D. McClish said...

@ Leslie: EXACTLY! lol
@ Savage: A trap within a trap! I hate that Inception crap. lol
@ Kintanon: I was never good a physics. Too much math. But hearing you talk about it makes me want to try to be more mathy! ;)

The Part Time Grappler said...

For a long time I've been trying to write a good post about sweeps and then you came and wrote a great one! I'm stealing this and posting it on Facebook. Excellent writing, seriously.

leslie said...

@SavageKitsune: Very true. They like those as well. And yes, I frequently think, "Yes! I defeat your silly tricks!" Then WHAM! ... ... And they're giggling like mad men because they know...

Steve said...

One concept that has really helped me is the idea of looking for dead angles. I can't remember now where I first heard the concept, but it was probably either Saulo Ribiero's Jiu JItsu University book or Stephan Kesting.

It really helped me become very opportunistic in my sweeps, instead of forcing my opponent to go where I want them to go, I'm taking what they give me.

Megan said...

This is one of those things that I HAVE to start thinking about more. Nice.

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