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Beginners Guide to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Part 1

April 22, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 164

I began studying Jiu-jitsu in 2004 at the age of 22. Over the years I've analyzed my own approach to the sport to give my own advice on how a beginner should approach it. As I have seen my skill progress, I feel that I have developed a set of key principles and guidelines that can help the beginner progress more rapidly and avoid some of the pitfalls that many aspiring BJJ players experience. In this part, I will be explaining some of the principles dealing with efficient use of force a student should keep in mind while trying to sweep an opponent on the ground.

Control Your Opponent's Momentum

Most people would agree that being as strong and athletic as possible is very useful for becoming effective in any sport. The sport of Brazilian jiu-jitsu is no exception to this rule. It's quite obvious that a larger, stronger and more athletic person is always going to have the edge over a smaller weaker one. Even in a martial art like Brazilian jiu-jitsu, where size and strength don't seem to matter as much, one can attest to the fact that a larger opponent with technique is much harder to defeat than a smaller opponent with technique. A problem arises though when people gifted with such traits rely solely on them to the point which they never develop a full understanding of the principles behind jiu-jitsu.

A lot of people forget that the word "jiu" in jiu-jitsu refers to yielding principles, or the ability to give way and manipulate the opponent's force against himself rather than confronting it with one's own force. Excessive reliance on strength and athleticism can act as a hindrance to your overall progression and lead to unnecessary injury to yourself and to your opponent. It is essential that as a practitioner of the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you develop the ability to react and stay focused on what your opponent does from moment to moment. In the following paragraph I will discuss a few of the ways someone can accomplish this.

There are some key things you need to keep in mind when rolling in class to make make your jiu-jitsu more efficient. In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, it's important to understand that should you strive never to fight head-on with your opponent's strength but rather to move your body in unison with it. This is especially true when facing a larger and stronger opponent. When rolling in class, always try to feel what is happening as your opponent moves his body in different directions. You want to combine any force the opponent gives you with your own to generate more power in your techniques. When your opponent drives forward, pull him forward into you, and when he resists backwards, push into him backwards. When he leans his weight to the right, push his weight to the right or if to the left push to the left.

In BJJ one of the primary positions you spend practicing in is the closed guard. In this position, you are lying on your back with your opponent between your legs and your feet crossed behind his back. It's an important skill in jiu-jitsu to learn how to pull you opponent's posture down into you so you have more leverage to apply different submissions and techniques. To break your opponent's posture in BJJ while he's in your guard, you would use your arms and legs to pull him into you and hold his upper body flat against yours so he can't sit back up. If your opponent shifts his weight slightly forward while trying to gain his posture, that's the perfect time to pull him into you. Sometimes, your opponent may be pulling away from you to obtain posture in your guard and will try sit up straight. This is an ideal posture in BJJ for the top guy and gives him the leverage break the legs open and get around to a superior position.

As your opponent is pulling away from you to do this, you should take advantage of the split second he's moving backwards to sit up and shoot your hips into him, reach you arm over his and take him over to his back. This technique in BJJ is called a hip heist sweep. Many people get frustrated when trying to get this technique to work because they try the technique while the opponent has all his force leaning into them. If they would wait until his weight is going back to regain his posture then the technique would be much easier to perform. On the other hand, if your opponent leans to his right or to his left while in your guard you should perform any multitude of sideways sweeps to take him in the direction he's off-balanced himself towards. A couple of good examples or sweeps for this purpose would be the scissor sweep, the elevator sweep or the v- sweep. It's all about waiting for the opponent to make a mistake, being sensitive to them, and then capitalizing on them.

Sometimes your opponent won't move in the direction you want him to. If this happens you can get him to move by getting him to react to your momentum that you put out there. Here's what I mean by this. Lets assume that you are trying to sweep your opponent with a scissor sweep to the right side. If your opponent isn't leaning to the right this can be hard to accomplish. Your opponent might not be leaning to the left either and have a perfectly balanced base in the center. One way around this is to pull your opponent to the left to get him to react to the opposite side. When your opponent resists, you can sweep him in that direction.

Human beings have a natural tendency to react in the opposite direction from what they are being pushed. For example, if someone is standing in front of you pushing on your chest, to keep from toppling backwards, you compensate by driving your weight forward. If that same person suddenly takes his hands away, you might stumble forwards and fall flat on your face. If you can apply this same principle to your jiu-jitsu, you can lead your opponent to off-balance himself. By doing this, you combine the opponent's force with your own force and you double the amount of power you can generate to sweep him. This helps conserve your energy instead of wasting it as you perform the techniques.

You have to remember to always use your head and find the most efficient ways to accomplish any given task. All these key pointers can apply to the closed guard, open guard, passing as well as standing techniques. By keeping these principles in mind, it makes it much easier to sweep your opponents no matter how strong they are.

Keep training hard, and never give up in your pursuit to one day become a great champion.

Source: EzineArticles
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