Finding your Fixed Points in Jiu Jitsu
Happy New Year Bots! 2015 is going to be a BIG year here at Robot! Since we’ve all been so good about staying consistent and keeping those holiday lbs off, we can stay focused on taking our training to the next level this year! No matter your goal, we can all agree that hard work will pay off for you and your training partners. Last month, this idea of a “fixed point” came up during our discussion of knee on belly. For the beginning of the year, we’d like to revisit some of the foundational principles of the techniques we teach. After all, you have to have a strong foundation to build a monument.
What is a fixed point?
As you might have guessed, a fixed point is the spot at which we attach to our opponent. A collar grip when standing, planting the shoulder on the thigh during a bullfighter pass, and the knee during knee on belly are all fixed points. What makes these points so important, though? Not only do fixed points provide the mechanism and place at which we attach to our opponent, but they also serve as the location at which we will can create torque (and remove slack) and/or rotate around. Finally, a fixed point provides you a spot on which to balance. We all know the feeling of planting the shoulder during a bullfighter pass. When done correctly, the shoulder is placed and fixed. From there, we are easily able to remove our feet from the ground to finish the pass. When our feet leave the ground, we are naturally required to balance on whatever is still in contact with the ground. Think of it like a circuit through our bodies to the ground. Without our feet on the ground any longer, the charge goes through our bodies, to our opponent, and out to the ground. With our fixed point on our opponent, we balance on them while influencing their movements and advancing our positions.
Rotating around a fixed point.
Let’s start with rotation. Take the bullfighter pass, for instance. As you come around the legs, your shoulder should plant on your opponent’s thigh. The shoulder, is fixed to the thigh (as mentioned above) which gives us a point around which to rotate. Now that we have rotated around the legs, think for a second what would happen if we kept rotating. Remember, a la bullfighter pass, our hands are still pulling the legs down and now that we are past the knee line, we can keep walking around towards the head. As you approach north-south, what happens? You’ve guessed it, you’ve removed all of the slack from the legs by rotating it out. Your shoulder continues to press at the thigh and your hands try to follow you, effectively creating torque.
Applying torque at a fixed point.
Continue thinking about the above example. Where would your opponent feel the torque being applied? Would it be at the shoulder line with cross face pressure? How about at the waist? The torque will be applied exactly at the fixed point. Effectively, the fixed point is where the pressure created through torque is being applied. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense: where is the pressure going to be applied? Directly at the spot at which we are attaching to our opponent. Another way to think about this is to consider the fixed point as an impact point.
With all of this in mind, try to be thoughtful of where you’re creating fixed points on your opponent. Generally, any fixed point is better than none but as you train this month think about where you and your opponent are coming into contact and try to be intentional as to where exactly you’d like to be applying torque.
Coach Drew and Coach Tim