Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art famous for its technical sophistication and effectiveness in controlling and finishing fights on the ground. While many techniques and strategies are involved in this art, three essential concepts form the cornerstone of victory: base, posture, and structure. These concepts are crucial for all practitioners of BJJ, regardless of rank, and serve as the foundation upon which all other techniques and movements are applied. Today, we’ll go over these concepts and explore how they build the foundation of Jiu-Jitsu as a whole.
The 3 Important Concepts
Base, posture, and structure are terms that all Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners have heard of in their grappling journey. As newbies, we were taught that how we position our bodies relative to the opponent’s can be the determining factor between successful or failed techniques. As we improve our grappling knowledge and go up the ranks, we are then introduced to techniques to help us improve our position and tap our opponents. Behind these techniques, base, posture, and structure are still present, as they are the ingredients to any successful move you perform on the mats.
For uniformity purposes, we’ll reference this video by Stephan Kesting and Rob Biernacki, as they gave a comprehensive and concise explanation of these concepts. Stephan Kesting and Rob Biernacki are highly regarded in the BJJ community and have produced excellent instructionals on various BJJ-related topics.
What Is Base In BJJ?
Let’s define these concepts individually, starting with the first essential concept – base. Rob Biernacki describes a base as a platform from which you can apply and absorb force. It is important to note that when you talk about base, it is not always in the context of being in contact with the mat; sometimes, it can also mean your position in relation to your opponent’s or even barriers like a wall (or cage in MMA). A good example of this is the technical standup. Technical standup is a fundamental movement in BJJ and is generally taught to beginners. The difference between a stable technical standup and a weak one depends on your ability to stand up without compromising your balance. Having a good base means that you can absorb force when in position. If you fall on the mat with the slightest resistance, consider your base unstable.
In order to develop a strong base in various positions, you must be sensitive to your overall body position. Key examples of these include foot positioning and low center of gravity. Foot positioning means your feet should be placed at an optimal distance to maintain balance. It should not be too far apart that you’ll quickly fall over, but also not too close to each other. Finding the sweet spot is super important so you don’t get off-balanced easily. Having a low center of gravity is another important one to note because your center of gravity depends on how your body is set. The more compact you are positionally speaking, the better you can apply and absorb force.
What Is Posture In BJJ?
Now, let’s talk about posture. Posture basically means having proper spine alignment. This means that the more your spine is aligned, the easier it is for you to generate force. On the flip side, if you are in a position where your spine is misaligned, you are undoubtedly in a bad spot. Even a slight mistake, like looking downwards when inside the opponent’s closed guard, for example, can make you that much easier to control. To produce maximum force, you must be properly positioned to do the technique you want to pull off.
In order to develop better posture, we recommend that you focus on your head position as well as your body alignment. As previously discussed, be mindful of your head position both in offensive and defensive cycles, as where your head goes, the body follows. Also, make sure that your spine, shoulders, and hips are aligned as best as possible at all times. Correct alignment maximizes your ability to exert force regardless of what you want to do.
What Is Structure In BJJ?
The last concept is structure. Rob defines structure as finding the most efficient ways to use the limbs. An example of this is framing, a simple technique all grapplers know. If you keep your arms straight while framing against the opponent or mat, you can stay in the position much longer than someone who is not framing with a straight arm.
Application Of Base, Posture, And Structure In Training
It is a must to study how you position yourself, regardless of the techniques you use in training. By being mindful of how your body is placed, you can objectively assess if you are using the most effective body alignment for that given position, which leads to smoother movement and application of technique. It is an intelligent idea to film yourself whenever you train so that you have data on how you move in the training room. You can also ask for feedback from your instructor and regular training partners for added feedback. From here, finetune your movements incrementally until you sharpen your chosen techniques.
Applying these three fundamental concepts is essential for anyone who wants to be great at BJJ. These concepts provide the framework for all BJJ techniques, and mastering them will significantly improve your effectiveness on the mat. If you are new to these concepts, we encourage you to watch the video carefully and internalize the main points discussed. By doing this, you can identify your steps to improve your use of base, posture, and structure every time you train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. These concepts may seem too abstract and, in many ways, boring to train, but we guarantee that your game will improve significantly once you take these concepts to heart.
Whether you’re a newbie or a grizzled veteran, devoting time to improving your base, posture, and structure will boost your BJJ game and contribute to your success in this fantastic grappling art.
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