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  1. jasculs is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/25/2010 2:30pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Leverage Points for Grappling Part 1

    The Leverage Points of the Human Body for Grappling
    Author: Jason Scully
    www.GrapplersGuide.com

    In this article I'm going to talk about the "Leverage Points" of the human body for grappling.

    What do I mean by leverage points? Well, during my time doing the sports of grappling especially without the gi on I have come to notice that certain parts of the body do not produce as much force or resistance power as other parts of the body. So these tend to be the areas I try to pinpoint my control and pressure as it gives me the most leverage to work with when I am trying to establish a certain type of movement whether it is an attack, keeping control or escaping.

    Do I mean "Control Points" of the body? I guess you might be able to call them "Control Points" also, but the main reason why I call them "Leverage Points is because there are other parts of the body that you can use as a control point but that part may not necessarily be the best part to grab in terms of your opponent producing force against you. I will go into "Control Points" later also.

    Do I mean "Handles" of the body? No. While pretty much all of these "Leverage Points" are handles also that is not what I am talking about. Just like the "Control Points" I mentioned in the above paragraph there are other parts of the body that can be "Handles" of the body but are not necessarily leverage points of the body also.

    Simple definition of leverage - Leverage simply put is doing more with less. In terms of grappling it is gaining more control without applying a ton of force.

    My thoughts - As many of you may already know, muscle produces force. The larger the muscle and the more muscle fibers it has, the more force that muscle should produce. With that being said, it would make sense to say that any control point where there is sufficient amount of muscle in that area would not be an ideal "Leverage Point" because your opponent will be able to apply much more force in that area.

    I have found that where there is less muscle mass, that is the point where you will have the most leverage, because your opponent will not be able to produce a sufficient amount of force needed compared to if you were holding onto an area with a lot of muscle mass. A lot of the joints of the body are great leverage points because they lack muscle mass.

    Let me use an example and as you read on there will be explanations and examples of each leverage point I have found. A good example is head control. Many people who tell you to get head control say to control the back of your opponents neck. Now if you are much bigger then your opponent then this should be fine, but if you are not then you might have a little problem.

    Lets use head control in the guard as an example because it may be easier for more of you to picture what I'm talking about. If I have my opponent in my guard and I was able to break his posture down and get his body and head close to me and I grab around the back of his neck with both of my hands I may be able to keep him down, but I'm going to have to work a lot more for it. My opponent will be able to use the force produced by the muscles in his neck and the ability for him to look his head up to start pulling his head away from me.

    Now lets say I moved my hands up slightly to the back his head where he does not have much muscle mass at all and then he were to try and pull his head away. I guarantee he will have much more trouble. For those familiar with a good Muay Thai clinch you will understand what I'm talking about. There is a reason that good Thai boxers do not grab their opponents neck in the clinch and they cup their hands up on the back of their head. It's because they get more leverage in that area and there isn't a sufficient amount of muscle to produce the force for their opponent to defend just by pulling away.

    This concept also applies to many other parts of the human body. If you learn the concept of the "Leverage Points" I promise it will help your game a lot.

    With the points below I will do my best to keep it in lamens terms and try to avoid anatomical terms to help make it easier to understand.

    Leverage Points



    Shoulder Girdle - The girdle is the joint of your shoulder. It is where the top of your upper arm (humerus) creates a ball and socket joint with the cavity of the bone that is directly behind your shoulder (scapula).
    Application Test - Have your partner lie down flat on his back. Then take both of your hands and cup the top of your partners right shoulder and place pressure down. Now have your partner try and roll away from you to his left and lift his right shoulder up off the ground. Another way to test this is also by placing your chin down on your partners shoulder girdle and seeing if he can left his shoulder up.
    Crook of the Elbow - The crook of your elbow is located in front of your body. It is the crease that is on the opposite side of the pointy part of your elbow. If you were to take your pointer finger of your left hand and put it across the crease of your right arm and then flex your arm your finger will get caught between your forearm and biceps.
    Application Test - Stand behind your partner with him facing away from you and you facing his back. Take your right hand and grab in front of the crook of his elbow. Now have your partner try to raise his right arm up. Try this with him keeping his arm straight and then also trying to raise his arm up while flexing it.

    Now try doing the same thing but instead hold in front of his biceps and then hold the front of his forearm.
    Body of the Hand - With this what I really mean is joint of your thumb where it meets the body of your hand. However when you grab this area of your opponents hand, your hand tends to claw around the outside of the body of your opponents hand.
    Application Test - Have your partner stand in front of you face to face. Then have him place his left hand out palm down. Grab the top of his hand with your right hand with your thumb placing pressure down on his thumb joint of his right hand and your fingers wrapped around the body of his left hand on the side of his pinky. Now have your partner try to turn his hand palm up. He should not use his upper arms and shoulders to help him. Do the same thing with his palm facing up and have him try to turn it palm down.
    Knee Joint - This area is basically right on top of the knee cap.
    Application Test - Have you partner stand in front of you facing away from you. Then you should be behind your partner kneeling down on both of your knees facing his back. Take your right hand and place it in front on his right knee cap. Then while applying pressure on his knee have your partner try to bring his knee up.

    Have him do the same thing while holding onto the front of his right thigh with your right hand and the front of his shin with your right hand.
    Ankle Joint - This is the skinny part of your leg on the bottom where the bottom of your shin (tibia and fibula) meets the top of your foot (talus and calcaneus)
    Application Test - Have your partner stand in front of you facing away from you. Then you should be behind your partner kneeling down on both of your knees facing his back. Take your right hand and grab the front of his right ankle. Then while applying pressure on his right ankle have him try to extend his right leg straight forward.

    Have him do the same thing while holding onto the front of his right thigh with your right hand and the front of his shin with your right hand.
    Top of the Foot - This is the area right before your toes start to begin.
    Application Test - Have your partner stand in front of you facing away from you. Then you should be behind your partner kneeling down on both of your knees facing his back. Have him raise his right knee up so his foot is off the ground and his knee is flexed and his foot is pointing downward. Now take your right hand and place it in front of the top of his right foot right before his toes. Then while applying pressure on his right foot have him try to extend his foot forward like he is doing a slow front kick.

    Have him do the same thing while holding onto the front of his right shin with your right hand.



    [left]Back of the Head - This is the area behind the head where there is virtually no muscle and you feel the skull.
    Application Test - Have your partner stand in front of you face to face. Tell him to look down at the floor. Now place both of your hands one on top of the other in the middle of the back of his head (not his neck) and place some pressure down. Now tell him to try to look up to the ceiling.

    Now have him do the same thing but this time place both of your hand on the back of his neck.
    Elbow Joint - This is the point part of the elbow along with right below the triceps and right above the forearm where there is less muscle.
    Application Test - Have your partner stand in front of you face to face. Take either one or two of your hands and place then on the back of your opponents right elbow. Now have him try to drive his arm backwards without lifting it up. Try this with his arm straight and his arm bent. Also try this not directly on the elbow point but just right above the elbow before the triceps.

    Now have him do the same thing but this time have your hand/hands on the back of his triceps.
    Wrists - This is the skinny part that is at the bottom of your forum arm and top of your hand.
    Application Test - Have your partner stand in front of you face to face. Now have him keep his left arm close to his body and only flex his left forearm forward so his arm makes a 90 degree angle. Take your right hand and grab his wrist with your thumb around. Now have him try to flex his arm up. Then have him get into position again and have him try to extend his arm down.

    Now have him do the same thing but this time grab at the middle of his forearm.
    Crook of the Knee - This is the area that is in the back of your body right behind your knee cap.
    Application Test - Have your partner stand in front of you face to face. Then you should be in front your partner kneeling down on both of your knees facing him. Take both of your hands and place them on the back of the crook of his right knee while placing pressure. Now have him try to extend his leg backwards while keeping his leg straight. Now have him try it with his leg bent.

    Now have him do the same thing while you hold the back of his thigh and then the back of his calf.
    Heel - This is the furthest back hump of your foot.
    Application Test - Have your partner stand in front of you face to face. Then you should be in front your partner kneeling down on both of your knees facing him. Take both of your hands and cup the back of his heel. Now have him try to extend his leg back while keeping it straight. Then having him try to flex his lower leg back.

    Now have him do the same thing while you hold the back of his thigh and then the back of his calf.
    After performing these tests you should see a difference between placing pressure on the joints and the parts of the body with less muscle compared to the parts with more muscle and surface area.

    After learning and applying these concepts it has really elevated my game a ton. I am aware more of what parts of the body may give me a higher percentage in regards to gaining the right amount of leverage I may need to execute whatever movements I may be trying to do.

    The on area I am still exploring is the hip line. A lot of these concepts also apply also. I will be going into the leverage points of the hips in another article so be on the look out as the hips play a huge part in the world of grappling.

    I will also be working on adding video/pictures to this article so I can visually show you the tests above along with adding practical grappling application.

    Thanks for reading,
    Jason
  2. jasculs is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/25/2010 2:46pm


     Style: BJJ

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Just as a heads up. I have more information on this including the very important HIP area which is also a leverage point but I decided not to add it because it deserves it's own article.
  3. Uncle Skippy is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/25/2010 5:32pm

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      Style: BJJ, MT, TKD

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Jason,

    Thanks for this!

    What do you think about the chin for rotational control?

    From the back or near-back, I tend to reach around to cup it with my palm and hold to one side (not crank) when I can't get an underhook for whatever reason. It prevents them from rotating in the opposite direction with very little effort.
    Last edited by Uncle Skippy; 7/25/2010 6:10pm at .
  4. jasculs is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/25/2010 9:45pm


     Style: BJJ

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I think the chin is an excellent leverage point, control point, and handle. I use it a lot as well. I have some things written about it and will add it in my additional write ups as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Skippy View Post
    Jason,

    Thanks for this!

    What do you think about the chin for rotational control?

    From the back or near-back, I tend to reach around to cup it with my palm and hold to one side (not crank) when I can't get an underhook for whatever reason. It prevents them from rotating in the opposite direction with very little effort.
  5. AAAhmed46 is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/11/2010 11:50pm


     Style: karate,MMA(between gyms)

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  6. Kung-Fu Joe is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/12/2010 1:24pm


     Style: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    This ought to be required coursework for all White Belts.

    Jason, this is exactly one of those foundational concepts I was talking about when I texted you the other day. It's been integral to my game since you first taught it to me, and all my favorite techniques revolve around exploiting leverage points from odd angles.

    In my opinion, the difference between a student who earns his Blue Belt in six months and one who takes three years is an understanding of leverage.

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