Is STRENGTH used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Grappling?
“Shit your f%$&!@ strong coach!” I often get this response from my students when teaching a move or tech rolling. Sometimes I hear my students say this about a particular practitioner at an open mat
"he’s strong as _ _ _ _!!!"
The answer to this question it is an affirmative YES! Strength is used in BJJ and Grappling. However, sometimes it is brute strength with no technique behind it and other times it is ISOMETRICALLY built strength applied with 100% technique. Please note the difference!
What is ISOMETRICALLY built strength?
To answer this question, let’s define ISOMETRICS… ISOMETRICS in strength training or BJJ/Grappling would be defined as “muscles against muscles or muscles against an immovable object”. Here are two links to help get a deeper definition of isometrics.
There are two types of strength used in BJJ/Grappling: 1. Strength with no technique or very little technique. Sometimes referred to as muscling out of a lock-down or submission or brute forcing your position or submission. Sometimes practitioners that are spastic are known for using brute strength rather than technical strength. 2. Technique applied strength or utilizing no brute strength. Sometimes referred to as high level jiu-jitsu, world class technique and/or invisible jiu-jitsu.
So that we understand brute vs. technical, let’s get definitions….
Brute: purely physical, brute strength, brute force, not working by reason. In other words, defying physics, and/or technique as it applies to BJJ/Grappling. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brute
For more information about the science of jiu-jitsu see my article here: https://www.brazilianjiujitsuacademyofqueens.com/single-post/2017/10/11/The-Science-of-Jiu-Jitsu
Technique: a way of carrying out a particular task, especially the execution or performance of an artistic work or a scientific procedure. A skillful or efficient way of doing or achieving something. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/technique
When utilizing proper technique (jiu-jitsu science) while grappling or doing BJJ; you are applying ISOMETRICS in the most efficient, effective and progressive manner. In a simple description: YOU ARE APPLYING STRENGTH CORRECTLY SO THAT IT IS BETTER THAN USING BRUTE FORCE. Renzo Gracie has often said, “If you want to get better in Jiu-Jitsu, put in more mat time”. That is indeed the best recipe to improve in BJJ/Grappling. The more time you put on the mats the more efficient your technique is applied and your strength increases with isometrics. This is why sometimes high level practitioners such as world class purple belts and up feel unbelievably strong when rolling with them; It is because they have been putting in hours upon hours of mat time for 6 to 15 years utilizing technique and building strength using ISOMETRICS. The strength you feel is well applied technique from years of training; thus muscles built through isometrics.
So the next time you are at the gym bench pressing 300lbs and squatting 500lbs, understand that someone that has been applying efficient technique for years upon years with isometrics, may have the advantage over you. Perhaps strength training using isometrics may be more beneficial for you as it applies to BJJ/Grappling or any martial art.
Understanding the science of how your body works, your mind and technique as it applies to the martial art you are practicing is the most effective way of accomplishing your goals. Keep on rolling…