Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Strength | Adam Lauritzen Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Strength | Adam Lauritzen

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Thread: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Strength | Adam Lauritzen

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    Default Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Strength | Adam Lauritzen

    by Adam Lauritzen

    Fundamentals are the basics, the things that we learn in the beginning of training and which apply at all levels for an entire career. In a complex world, fundamental things work reliably and consistently. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as with most martial arts and other combative human endeavors, the fundamental concept is to get in a position where your bigger, stronger tools work best and your opponent’s do not. Every submission in BJJ is designed with this in mind. Every technique in BJJ requires a push, pull, or isometric hold of joints, and these things are dependent on your ability to produce force. Strength training improves your ability to produce force. Strength is, therefore, a fundamental attribute.

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    Excellent Article. It nicely analyzes the lifts and the application of strength in the execution of techniques BJJ uses as staples in their sport.

    Your examples illustrated some of my own anecdotal experiences in the form of Jujitsu I practice and teach, Mushin Ryu. It's a stand up martial art that shares many of the same techniques but with a different emphasis. Time and again, I could overcome all but the most adept senior black belts in the dojo I practiced at.

    This a valuable counterpoint to the hidebound traditions of Asian martial arts which consider barbell strength training is considered anathema. It should be posted at the entry of every dojo.

    Thank you.

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    I didn't know you were a martial artist.

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    No one has ever said, “I lost because I was too strong.”

    Ha, true, but people will often complain that that's why you won and they lost, because you were too strong. Like you cheated.
    Ever win a tournament and the guy you beat comes over and tells you how strong you were?
    That's him getting back at you and telling you that the only reason you won was because of some technicality. Crazy.
    BJJ is probably the only "sport?" that using strength or being strong is looked down upon. (and I'm not talking about spaz's)

    Question: How do dead-lifts help the Berimbolo?

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    Well the number one way to figure out if strength matters is if there are weight divisions in competition. In BJJ competition there are, so strength is a factor. If it wasn’t then the divisions wouldn’t exist.

    Rolling with strong people is definitely more difficult. You have to be that much more technical in what you do to compensate. A stronger person is more able to punish you for sloppy technique than a weaker opponent. The opposite is true as well, if you are stronger than the person you are rolling with then you will get away with more mistakes.

    There is a not trivial risk of injury when doing BJJ. You have to give a lot of trust to the person you are rolling with, trust that they will not deliberately hurt you, or hurt you because they were being careless. Injuries will inevitably happen, probably to a knee, shoulder, or the neck. So a inexperienced and strong person can be a huge risk to your own body. This may be where a lot of the dislike towards ‘strength’ comes from. However that’s applying strength in an ignorant fashion, applying strength is an intelligent fashion is desirable. However inexperienced people might not be able to really make that call. You will probably find people roll with strong beginners in a very careful and conservative fashion.

    BJJ is a highly technical sport, and technique is king. Strength is a benefit where you’re knowledge and experience closely matches the other person, but as that gap widens it is less of an advantage. Any scrawny person can choke you unconscious if they are taught how to once they have your arms around your neck after all.

    It’s a balance, and time is a limiting factor. If two similar people rolled after two years of BJJ, and they both done three BJJ sessions a week, but one of them also done an additional two strength sessions a week, then I don’t think it would be controversial to say that the one doing the additional strength training would probably win. However if those same two people faced off, and instead of the one doing no strength training and only three BJJ session a week instead done five BJJ sessions a week (so they both train five sessions in total), then I couldn’t tell you who would win. Maybe someone else could, but I can’t.

    In competition though you will be matched by skill level as well as weight, so fuck it, get hench, as they say.

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    I don't understand the juxtaposition of strength with flexibility in the article.

    It's not a trade-off in the same way as mat-time vs. rack-time in terms of recovery
    and time spent.

    A minimum amount of flexibility is required even for fundamental BJJ. If you don't have it,
    you need to get it. Same as with lifting weights.

    I've been told I don't move like the old, fat guy I am. Credit goes to the knowledge and strength
    gained by following Starting Strength. I tell all of my mat friends they owe it to themselves to
    train through a novice LP, at least.

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    Judo has the same "technique not strength" ideas... but it is JiuJitsu's very close cousin. At least in the U.S. I have found that to be the case. But at the same time you will find no shortage of training footage of Olympic level Judoka lifting barbells. I think the reality is coaches want their student to learn the technique properly, not skirt technique with strength. That way when you run up against someone as strong as you (or stronger) you at least have the technique to deal with it. My smarter coaches say strength is good, technique is good, having both is best.

    The highest level of BJJ is full of brutally strong guys. Steroids is a huge issue at the highest level of BJJ competition (and testing is poor). Strength matters, even if it is popular to say that only technique matters.

    Deadlifts probably help Berimbolo with grip strength at very least. Maybe something about hip power and general strength helping to execute techniques. I dunno, I am primarily a Judoka so we don't really get the time to Berimbolo anyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAD9692 View Post
    No one has ever said, “I lost because I was too strong.”

    Ha, true, but people will often complain that that's why you won and they lost, because you were too strong. Like you cheated.
    Ever win a tournament and the guy you beat comes over and tells you how strong you were?
    That's him getting back at you and telling you that the only reason you won was because of some technicality. Crazy.
    BJJ is probably the only "sport?" that using strength or being strong is looked down upon. (and I'm not talking about spaz's)

    Question: How do dead-lifts help the Berimbolo?
    Being capable of more force production helps in general, but the berimbolo is based on timing, controlling angle and distance, and looking for attacks. These are fundamental concepts applied to every position in BJJ (and all combat sports. I think the primary problem to solve is being able to leave if it goes bad because you are potentially on your head when you get caught. But if your feet are in contact with your opponent you can produce force against them as a frame to help control angle and distance. The deadlift helps you be better at producing force from the hips via the feet. Does that make sense?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thirdstation View Post
    I don't understand the juxtaposition of strength with flexibility in the article.

    It's not a trade-off in the same way as mat-time vs. rack-time in terms of recovery
    and time spent.

    A minimum amount of flexibility is required even for fundamental BJJ. If you don't have it,
    you need to get it. Same as with lifting weights.

    I've been told I don't move like the old, fat guy I am. Credit goes to the knowledge and strength
    gained by following Starting Strength. I tell all of my mat friends they owe it to themselves to
    train through a novice LP, at least.
    My contention(s) would be that 1. By doing BJJ you will develop the necessary flexibility for your game. 2. Flexibility as an attribute reaches a point of diminishing returns sooner than strength does. 3. Strength is not improved by BJJ in an appreciable sense, so the resource of time off of the mat would be used better by getting stronger as opposed to more flexible due to the first idea above.

    I agree that there is a minimum amount of strength and a minimum of flexibility. I just think the time is better spent on strength. While flexibility is a useful attribute, it is not as useful as strength and should be prioritized appropriately when considering training off of the mat.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianhunter View Post
    Well the number one way to figure out if strength matters is if there are weight divisions in competition. In BJJ competition there are, so strength is a factor. If it wasn’t then the divisions wouldn’t exist.

    Rolling with strong people is definitely more difficult. You have to be that much more technical in what you do to compensate. A stronger person is more able to punish you for sloppy technique than a weaker opponent. The opposite is true as well, if you are stronger than the person you are rolling with then you will get away with more mistakes.

    There is a not trivial risk of injury when doing BJJ. You have to give a lot of trust to the person you are rolling with, trust that they will not deliberately hurt you, or hurt you because they were being careless. Injuries will inevitably happen, probably to a knee, shoulder, or the neck. So a inexperienced and strong person can be a huge risk to your own body. This may be where a lot of the dislike towards ‘strength’ comes from. However that’s applying strength in an ignorant fashion, applying strength is an intelligent fashion is desirable. However inexperienced people might not be able to really make that call. You will probably find people roll with strong beginners in a very careful and conservative fashion.

    BJJ is a highly technical sport, and technique is king. Strength is a benefit where you’re knowledge and experience closely matches the other person, but as that gap widens it is less of an advantage. Any scrawny person can choke you unconscious if they are taught how to once they have your arms around your neck after all.

    It’s a balance, and time is a limiting factor. If two similar people rolled after two years of BJJ, and they both done three BJJ sessions a week, but one of them also done an additional two strength sessions a week, then I don’t think it would be controversial to say that the one doing the additional strength training would probably win. However if those same two people faced off, and instead of the one doing no strength training and only three BJJ session a week instead done five BJJ sessions a week (so they both train five sessions in total), then I couldn’t tell you who would win. Maybe someone else could, but I can’t.

    In competition though you will be matched by skill level as well as weight, so fuck it, get hench, as they say.
    I agree, training time and consistency lead to better timing in general. A slightly bigger division 1 wrestler can be a pain to deal with even if you are a 'higher belt' but eventually the higher belt wins out. But precisely as you said that's why there are weight classes in competition. I've since refined my argument with regard to competitors to be more succinct: "The question isn't whether or not Marcelo Garcia can beat a 220lb novice, he can and does. The question is 'who would win Marcelo Garcia or a 50% stronger Marcelo Garcia?'" With the linear progression it's pretty easy to get someone 50% stronger than they were, probably staying in the same weight class too.

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