“Invisible Jiu-Jitsu” Weight Distribution with Henry Akins
From the Mount Position
Easy Drill: Start in the mounted position and have your partner on bottom push off at different angles for one minute then switch. The partner on top’s goal is to shift his angle away from the point of contact to eventually get his chest to his partner’s chest.
Perform the above drill for five rounds with each of you taking turns on the bottom. Take a break, and then do it again, and again. If you have more than one partner to perform this drill with, change it up and maybe do a round robin. Getting a feel for how to shift your weight to kill the angle is probably the biggest key to mastering this concept. Drilling with partners of different weights and sizes will only help you grasp and properly employ the concept.
The weight distribution concept that Henry’s showing us can be used any time you’re on a top position. This is where it has the most benefit; however, it can also be used when you’re on the bottom in certain circumstances. Henry’s going to give us a glimpse of that as well. There are a lot of benefits to being able to properly use your weight. One of the most useful benefits is the toll it takes on your opponent’s breathing and heart rate, especially from side control. Using your weight properly makes it more difficult for your opponent to breathe. In a long match, that can have a huge effect. In the short term it can take him off his mental game. He may look to force an escape that isn’t there if he’s at all claustrophobic or really uncomfortable. The second dramatic benefit is forcing your partner to deal with your weight. Any time he wants to move, or to move you, he’s going to have to deal with much more of your static mass than he would if you were in a more traditional position with your weight. The side-control example we’ll get into later dramatically shows this concept. When you properly apply your weight on top of your partner, it’s like a CrossFit workout for him. Imagine him having to rep 160-180lbs non-stop for the length of time you’re on top. It doesn’t take very long to break him down both mentally and physically.
Proper weight distribution allows the person on top to relax, not fight so much, and really open up his mind to focus on the opportunities the person on bottom presents. These opportunities will come because the person on the bottom constantly has to deal with a huge amount of resistance any time he wants to move or do anything.
Weight distribution is crucial when it comes to passing the guard. The whole idea of passing the guard is to move forward, and to soak up the space between you and your opponent. You’re trying to get past the person’s legs, trying to get your chest to his chest. Any movement backward is counter productive to your goal. When the person on the bottom is playing open guard, the idea for him is to create distance, to keep you away. He’s using his legs to keep you at bay, he’s trying to control your arms so he can sweep you or keep you off balance. He’s trying to constantly keep distance from you so you cannot pass. Any time he puts anything on you, a foot, a leg, an arm, a knee, you’re going to do the same thing you did in the mount drill. You’re going to engage your weight and shift angles to basically kill whatever he’s putting in front of you. Henry tries not to use his arms when passing. He feels that it’s inefficient, the guy on the bottom is using his legs, which are so much stronger than the arms. This is not a fair fight and will tire out the person on top if he’s relying too much on his arms.
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