Andre "Dedeco" Almeida is a master of open guard sweeps. This week he demonstrates how to create more kinetic energy by bridging your hips. He uses his hips like a boxer would to generate the power he needs to move his opponent's base, sweeping him over.
We coaxed Ralek into showing us a "secret" technique. He said a lot of people ask his about his armbar setup that he catches so often. Ralek walks us through the steps necessary to close the deal and submit your opponent. He also stresses the importance of making sure both legs are over your opponents body. If you follow this blueprint your armlock percentage will increase drastically.
In terms of importance for Jiu Jitsu proficiency, be it in practice or competition, the hips are by far the one area that has the greatest impact on performance in the sport. Whether being used in the most fundamental of positions to create space to escape, generate angles for attack or producing speed and power for more advanced sweeps and takedowns, the hips are responsible for bridging the gap between lower and upper body power generation and creating the leverage needed to apply the forces used in Jiu Jitsu techniques. Looking into their function, specifically within the art of Jiu Jitsu, studying the science behind the hips will help give us a better understanding as to how we can maximize their potential for creating energy efficient movements and improve our all around game on the mats.
Hips and Principles of Physics
Going back to science, we know that force is any action that causes a body to undergo a change in velocity, speed or direction, usually from a pushing or pulling force exerted on the body. In attempting sweeps and takedowns, we are applying force to accomplish this goal, by using leverage and technique, coupled with speed and power. Power is the rate that this force is applied and transferred to this body or object. In the case of Jiu Jitsu; we normally are referring to our opponent when we talk about the application of force on an object. When an object, or opponent, is then moved or repositioned such as the case of performing a takedown for example, we can say that work has been done on that object. The amount of work done on an object is in direct proportion to the amount of force that can be generated and applied to the object. The more force applied, the more work that can be accomplished.
In terms of Jiu Jitsu application, we can sweep, pass, defend and perform takedowns with greater speed and efficiency when we apply these principles of physics. The goal of any Jiu Jistu artist is to use the least amount of energy possible to create the greatest impact and movement of your opponent. As the hips are the body part responsible for coordinating our upper and lower bodies, as well as positioning our bodies to take advantage of angles and space, the impact that they have on generating force and power is profound. When the hips are used properly, we can maximize our potential strength and generate more power to ultimately use less energy performing the same amount of work as compared to someone trying to “muscle” their way through the same technique. When one uses just their arms to try and move an opponent or only their legs to complete a movement, they waste energy and have a much more difficult time applying their technique properly. Correct hip positioning will maximize efficiency of movement and conserve energy, time and power as well as decrease the chances of failure in attempted techniques. When this happens, and the hips are used properly, you will see effortless Jiu Jitsu, the kind of jiu jitsu where a person looks as if they are using no strength, yet easily manipulating their opponent.
Pete and JT spent the past 10 days in Abu Dhabi competing in the World Pro. After the tournament they had some down time and shot this fun Rolling Reflections. This is a fast paced flow roll with a lot of technique squeezed into 8 minutes. It is not a competitive roll but instead communicative roll. Each person lets the other work their techniques with minimal resistance.
This week, Alexey Cruz wraps the arm with his leg. On occasion your opponent will stop the position and not let your foot wrap completely. Alexey does not stop the momentum and drives his hook across his opponent's body creating torque on the shoulder. A quick shift of the hips and your opponent concedes the sweep.
Ralek shares another secret with us this week. Standard defense from the armlock position is to grab your own collar or your own wrist. Ralek demonstrates two ways to break the grip. One of his secrets is to shake the head of his opponent vibrating the hand free. This shaking makes you lose focus and release the grip. It is very uncomfortable and a bit frustrating on the receiving end. Give it a try in your next class!
I am going to preface this article with "what happens in Abu Dhabi stays in Abu Dhabi". With that said, you can use your imagination as to how a bunch of 20 something pro BJJ fighters would celebrate after training for months and given the keys to the castle. At one point after the competition, Xande and Rodolfo were in the lobby trying to Berimbolo each other and Megaton was the ref. They were chanting "Rodolfo Miayo", playing off the success of the Miayo Brothers and their upside down Berimbolo game which we are all a fan of watching.
I am going to share with you my own experiences as both a competitor and a fan of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I won the Canadian trials as a brown belt to secure my ticket to the big show. It was an honor just to be there and even cooler that my roommate for 10 days was Wellington "Megaton" Diaz. No one knows Megaton's age but I think it is safe to say he is between 45-55. We may never know his age but what we do know is that he is the most consistent BJJ fighter of all time and is the only one to compete in every world championship. What was even more inspiring was he is out there doing it with 20 year old's in the adult division. I was honored to spend this time with him, and many nights we stayed up till early in the morning just talking about life, BJJ, business, and family. I didn't have any teammates over there but I really hit it off with the team Llyod Irvin guys and between Megaton and these guys they became my surrogate family during my stay.
The flight to Abu Dhabi was tough, 12 hours with no way of getting comfortable. My body was so tired but sleeping longer than 30 seconds at a time was impossible. On the plane we immediately had our first taste of the food we would be experiencing for 10 days. I am not going to elaborate but let's just say I lost 7 lbs in 4 days. I had a very hard time adjusting to the time change and the food. Eventually I was able to settle into life in the UAE. I now understand why they fly us out so early. It takes days to get acclimated to everything.
This week we welcome new expert of the month, Ralek Gracie. Ralek is the grandson of Helio Gracie and he does not disappoint. This week Ralek shares some of his secrets for securing the triangle. He always off balances his opponent and never lets them control his collar. This technique is very high percentage and works in sport bjj, mma or on the street.
Dedeco continues this week with another power play sure to improve your open guard game. This week, Dedeco wraps his opponents arm in an effort to create leverage for a sweep. High level BJJ players will try to rotate their hand away from the wrap in order to regain control. Dedeco shares with us a nice way to keep them from doing so.
This week Rafael "Formiga" Barbosa shares with us one of his secrets from reverse half guard. If you want to know how to attain the reverse half, check out one of our former experts Ricardo Liborio in the archives. When Formiga swings his leg over, he makes sure to pinch his knees together which keeps his opponent's leg and hips trapped. This power play is simple but may be the missing piece for your reverse half guard.