BJJ tips: Pressure, gravity and winning from the bottom

One of the best BJJ concepts I took from reviewing Roy Dean's excellent production: Brown Belt Requirements last year, was that a brown belt in BJJ needs to create pressure from every angle. This is something I've been working on for the past 1.5 years.

Every good grappler /BJJ player will tell you that when you are on top, gravity is your friend. If used correctly, it will fuel your submissions, enhance your positional control and add tonnes to your pressure, generally making life very difficult for the poor soul training with you.

Of course, this is all true. However, I would like to add that gravity should always be your friend whether you are on the top or the bottom. Actually, it should be your friend even in the standing phase. A great mindset I picked up ages ago is that you should never feel alone in the fight. Whether it’s BJJ, No Gi Grappling, MMA you should always look for that trusted friend: Gravity.

“But how can I use gravity in BJJ / Grappling when I’m under someone?”, I hear you ask.

Well, it’s very easy. You shouldn’t really be under them!

At least not lying flat under them. Go to a bookstore and pick up any BJJ / Grappling / MMA book or watch a few matches on Youtube. I challenge you to find a fighter winning when he is directly under their opponent.*

A perfect example is the Butterfly Sweep as demonstrated below: Lying flat under your opponent when attempting this sweep will deprive you of all leverage and put gravity your opponent's side.

In short, you want gravity to be on your side when grappling even (or especially) when you are on the bottom and you can do that by:

  • Breaking your opponent’s posture: Pull his head. Don’t let him rest his hands on you.
  • Anchoring your weight to where he doesn’t want you to anchor it: Armdrag Armdrag Armdrag!
  • Constantly disrupting his base and balance: Your feet / knees / thighs should be pushing his hips and knees. Your hips should be moving freely around him.
  • Get out from under your opponent: Don’t let him apply his weight directly through you. Deprive him of the opportunity to use gravity against you.

  • By always applying the above, a smaller person can leverage their way around a larger person.

    In my next post, I will talk a little more about how to use gravity to apply pressure from the top in BJJ / Grappling.

    * I know I know. Some deep half guard and X-guard sweeps put you directly under your opponent but in those few cases you are that much in control of the opponet's base and balance, it makes up for it. He is hardly applying his weight through you. He’s just trying to survive and not get swept.



    Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

    Proudly sponsored by Predator Fightwear: Built for the kill and Brutal TShirt: Made By Grapplers For Fighters


    Megan said...

    Been having CRAZY issues with this lately. Thanks!

    Liam H Wandi said...

    My pleasure Megan :)

    It was a huge eye opener to see Master Rickson do this when he was taking the back of all these big, strong black belts at the seminar in Amsterdam. They were much younger and more athletic but they just couldn't stop him!