On the Gentle Art #7

bjj evolve


As with everything in life, it’s all in the hips. From running, jumping, dancing (including the horizontal lambada), and yes Jiu-Jitsu, it’s all in the hips. You can’t move without them, and moving them well makes all the difference. The hips are the transfer stations (fulcrums in lever mechanics) that connect your powerful leg muscles, calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes to the rest of your body.

So let’s revisit the problem of being stuck under your heavier, stronger partner’s mount? In this situation you are probably not going to be able to power your way out from under them even if you have an incredible bench press. I’m not saying that you can’t try? Certainly try, but if you do you are soon going to discover a few noteworthy problems. The first of these being how long can you push? Remember the problem about the Higgs boson, mass, and gravity from On the Gentle Art #3? Well, when you are stuck under your partner, all of the force that you have to exert has to counter not only your partner’s mass, but the force of gravity exerted on it. Your partner is being actively aided by gravity accelerating her or his body into you at 9.8 meters per second squared, or one gravitational unit denoted as 1g. (This is on Earth. If you are stuck under mount somewhere in Jupiter, given a solid surface, your partner would weigh 2.5x more. In scientific terms you’re screwed!)

Let’s get back to the tatami here on Earth. Additionally, you have to overcome your own mass before you can start to push against your opponent’s mass. If you choose this direct force on force approach, you are most likely going to lose. The harder you push against your partner, the faster your muscles will reach failure. Given enough exertion your cardio will also give out. So what to do? Well, we could try the bridge technique from before (see OTGA #3). What if that doesn’t work the first time or the second? If you try the bridge long enough, and your partner keeps shifting her or his weight on top of you, you are also eventually going to get tired. Yes, you are no longer pushing directly against your partner at a 90 degree angle, but you are still pushing at a 45 degree angle. In either case, you are pushing against gravity, though slightly less force is required to redirect your partner’s force using the bridge.

Here again the crushing problem of mass remains. Sometimes there is so much mass that nothing can escape it. Take the most massive objects in the known universe: black holes. Their gravitational forces are so massive that they suck planets, stars, and entire galaxies into them. Not even light can escape them. That had been the common knowledge for quite some time. Then Stephen Hawking (I don’t really know how, but let’s just call it voodoo) theorized that actually some stuff can escape. How you ask? Through something called Hawking Radiation. (Humble much?) Without getting too complicated, in essence particles are crushed so powerfully that they rip apart, and some squeeze their way out of the black hole in the form of radiation. It doesn’t sound too appealing, but hey it’s a way out!

So how does this help us with our mount problem? Well, like that tiny particle we can squeeze our way out. Hip escape! For those who don’t know, the hip escape is like a weird jazzercise dance move that you learn in the first jiu-jitsu class except instead of performing it in a leotard on your feet you do it in your pajamas on your back. This is where being small actually helps your cause. (There’s a reason it’s also called a shrimp.)

The hip escape allows you to move away from your partner’s force instead of fighting your partner’s force. In the mount, your partner is sitting on top of you perpendicularly while you are lying on your back. He/she is at the 90 degree point. Gravity’s force is driving down through your abdomen to the center of the Earth which is beneath you at 270 degrees. Your head and feet are laying at the zero and 180 degree points respectively. (A simple XY axis problem) Any force that you exert above your body (the X axis) will necessarily have to overcome gravity and more of your partner’s mass. But if you move along that X axis, you can avoid most of that. In the hip escape, you use your hands (jazz hands?) to push off of your partner’s hips while sliding your hips out from under theirs. You can target one side at a time, or push off on both hips to squeeze out from under her or him.

Fantastic! Now you’re free and ready to keep going. There is one small caveat however. In Hawking Radiation, the particles that squeeze their way out are actually the surviving twin of a pair of particles: one a positive mass particle, the other a negative mass particle. The positive mass particle always makes it out. The negative particle gets eaten by the black hole. So you’ve got a 50/50 shot (Jiu-Jitsu pun). Don’t be the negative particle!

© J. Manuel Writes


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s