Weight Application: Part 5

This, the last my five principals of Weight Application – is in my view, the most difficult to take ownership of; the reason being that it changes for every technique and so it becomes a lifelong pursuit.
Applying our weight, by taking it off the floor and pouring it onto the end of a lever, through a small contact point is very, very effective; but we have a subtle very important consideration to take into account – and that is, the angle (vector) on which this force is applied.
Consider being on the mount position for example, and driving all of our weight down into our partner’s wrist to try to force it to the mat for our Figure 4 finish. If we apply our weight in a downward direction, it may be such that our partner doesn’t like it and so moves his forearm away from his body to alleviate the pressure but this is a strategy that is reliant upon him deciding to do that; if we are driving our weight in a downward direction, we are in fact, driving his wrist into his body, rather than driving it out into space and onto the floor. The angles in which we apply a force, greatly affect the outcomes we get. Levers can be moved in many different directions and by being very clear about what we are trying to achieve we can hone in on the correct angles on which to apply our weight/force. Push a see-saw sideways and not much happens, jump downward on one end and the other end flies upward. Think about angles – for every technique.
I hope this and the four previous posts have made you think more deeply about how you can more effectively apply your weight on the mat. These things took me a long time to understand and even now, I don’t claim full understanding – but the understanding that I do have has afforded me good results. I hope the same for you.
Best wishes


Anonymous said…
Hi John,

Thanks for sharing your well put knowledge.

Your 5-step breakdown of the concept of weight on the mat got me thinking, and I was so profoundly taken by these thoughts that I wish to share them.

I realize the importance of understanding the existence of weight and leverage and their interrelation in grappling. But the idea that struck me while reading was that these two concepts are stagnant by nature, as their aim is solely in maintaining the status quo. What they lack is the dimension of time, and how the aspect of time translates, to me, in terms of grappling is momentum.

It's too soon to put my thoughts in a universal order, and the idea needs to be further refined.

Anyhow a great grappling example of what I mean is a pendulum sweep:
- Starting point: the weight is on top of you.
- You get the grips and adjust your hips = set the fulcrum
- You swing your leg to get the opponent moving = use a small weight and leverage to move a larger weight
- You steer the weight with your grips and ride with it = a complex combination of all three
- Result: You end up on top of the weight

I'm off to experience the joy of trial and error! But I might be back...

Jaakko Töyli
BJJ Vaasa

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