Biomechanics of BJJ 1: Intro to Biomechanics

Biomechanics is the study of the mechanical structure and function of a human body which give rise to movement – how and why the body moves. The human body is confined to the rules of physics. By examining the body through the lens of physics we can understand how the body operates and what constraints it must operate in. The benefits of such knowledge should be readily apparent. Proper understanding of how the body works will allow a coach to communicate knowledge in a clear way and will be instrumental in the success of their students. In turn, proper understanding of the conceptual basis for movement will allow students to understand techniques instead of simply parroting the techniques.

All humans navigate the world using the musculoskeletal system – an organ system that allows for shape, protection, posture, and movement. This system that allows for movement is made of a skeleton that acts as a rigid structure, muscles that act as motors to provide internal force, and joints that act as levers. If the muscle provides enough internal force to overcome the
external forces, the body can move.

For the most part, everybody has the same basic body structure – a head connected to a torso, and four limbs extending from the torso. Each of these body parts will allow for movement in the same general way; knees and elbows flex and extend in one plane of motion, hips and shoulder move relatively freely, and spines can bend in many directions. Each of these joints move independently, allowing for almost infinite configurations, shapes, and postures the body is capable of. It is imperative for students to understand how to properly use their body and its parts in order to be strong and efficient.

BJJ can be seen as a complex game in which two bodies attempt to move the other into a position that yields a submission. In order to be successful in BJJ a student must:

  1. Use their body to maintain stability
  2. Use their body to cause instability in their opponent
  3. Take advantage of the opponent’s instability
  4. Produce and control force in order to maximize the results as efficiently as possible

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6 Replies to “Biomechanics of BJJ 1: Intro to Biomechanics”

      1. No, Mayhem cannot read and I believe he is in prison without computer privileges.

        Great article. I too like the concept and look forward to following.

  1. Just wanna say I’ve read the first four chapters and I’m enlightened!!! I always enjoyed concepts and taught BJJ through concepts more than techniques.

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