Is pure strength underrated in grappling?

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by Juugetsu, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. Juugetsu

    Juugetsu White Belt

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    There's this guy in my class who joined recently who also does olympic weightlifting and powerlifting and seen him brute force himself out of impossible situations and do submissions purely on strength and this is against guys who have been training way longer than him.

    I know technique will beat strength and I doubt he can do those things against a purple belt (See early UFC when the Gracies easily dominated a lot of strongmen competitors) but does strength have a place?
     
  2. davou

    davou White Belt

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    Of course it does; anyone who tells you that they can ignore strength is counting on never fighting someone who has any semblance of experience.

    You might get into 2000 juijitsu matches before you retire, and maybe 1-2 street fights (unless your a dick). That's 2000/1 odds that the person you fighting has some technique themselves. Strength will help in those times.

    It's nice to not have to rely on it all the time, but its a huge part of the sport.
     
  3. BJJ_Rage

    BJJ_Rage Gold Belt

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    Of course it does it's a combat sport.
     
  4. Mocrates

    Mocrates Ik ben Groot.

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    It's not underrated in grappling, but BJJ, where a lot of guys shun actually using your natural athleticism in favor of almost pure technique.

    It makes no sense, as the very nature of combat sports requires the use of strength to accomplish your goal.
     
  5. KnightTemplar

    KnightTemplar Ebony Belt Platinum Member

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    Strength is like money: you should never obsess over it, but it's a nice thing to have.

    When skill levels are nearly equal, then being much stronger than your opponent can make a real difference. If your opponent is far superior to you in terms of skill, then you would need a ridiculous strength advantage to compensate.
     
  6. DCnMO

    DCnMO Orange Belt

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    Strength is important, but imo, should be secondary to skill development. Myself, I aspire to be the 'smarter not harder' type of grappler.
     
  7. SuperiorHands

    SuperiorHands Purple Belt

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    Strength and technique in proportion makes the best grappler.

    People like to cite early ufc's and gracie challenges for technique being most important but for the people that do bjj a few times a week between jobs and life isn't the same thing as the guys that built their entire lives around bjj.

    Also there are dimensioning returns on any type of training so if you've been doing all or mostly technique for some time you might hit the point where extra reps and rolls on the mat will have less effect than improving the body performing these movements.
     
  8. magick

    magick Green Belt

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    I think there needs to be a really important qualifier to this-

    Skill overwhelms strength/athleticism only if you're actually... skilled.

    I say this because otherwise some hotshot colored belt in judo or blue belt in BJJ might get the wrong idea.

    It seems extremely unlikely to me that a recreational bjj/judo guy can actually utilize what they've learned effectively against someone who is quite superior physically in comparison to them.
     
  9. NateTx4112

    NateTx4112 Brown Belt

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    After 6 1/2 years of training I decided to add serious lifting into my training. I dropped from 5-6 sessions of bjj a week to 3-4 and added 3-4 days of lifting.

    6 months in it HAS made a difference. I wish I had been been lifting 2-3 times a week vs "I'll beat them with technique!"

    We are at the point in bjj where better athletes are beating some of the more skilled guys on a more regular basis.
     
  10. Commissar

    Commissar Gold Belt

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    Of course strength is important, but so is technique.

    In class, you are afforded a non-competitive venue to train exclusively technique and strategy. Not a place to use a shitton of strength, as that can be used in competition.
     
  11. jeremyemilio

    jeremyemilio Silver Belt

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    From my (admittedly somewhat limited) experience with bjj.

    A significant strength advantage can easily put you on par with a guy a belt level higher (provided a guy gets a few basics down).

    A freakish strength advantage can get you two belt levels.

    I've seen similar results in wrestling, though (which is my background).
     
  12. jeremyemilio

    jeremyemilio Silver Belt

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    In what context? In an actual bjj match, a blue belt is going to have a pretty easy time with anyone who doesn't have a very significant strength advantage.

    A 'recreational' purple belt is going to be near impossible for someone without some experience to deal with, regardless of the strength advantage.
     
  13. JosephDredd

    JosephDredd Gold Belt

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    I think flexibility/mobility is underrated in grappling. Everyone will tell you that you must train technique and training strength is a good idea, too. But very few people mention flexibility/mobility, which has made an incredible difference to me and everyone who's actually tried it.
     
  14. chickenlip

    chickenlip Navy blue belt

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    Yea it does. It somewhat helps to make up for lack of experience and it helps them even more when they know what they're doing
     
  15. fanboysareevil

    fanboysareevil Green Belt

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    Real question: were you really weak before?
     
  16. cjd

    cjd Blue Belt

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    I'd be interested to hear more about the flexibility and mobility works you've been doing. I've been working a lot on my shoulders and hips (mobility wise) for the last 6 weeks or so. I've definitely noticed an improvement in terms of pain and quality of life, but don't see it reaping huge dividends in terms of my game.

    As far as strength goes - I find that there are three categories: (1) the very weak (2) most of the population and the (3) freakishly strong. Going from (1) to (2) isn't terribly hard if you do serious weight training, and can pay huge dividends.

    Being in group (3) generally means you can completely overwhelm people from (1) or (2) with pure physicality. The mistake is most people haven't encountered anyone from group (3) - they mistake relatively strong people from group (2) as being members of group (3). Going from (2) to (3) is very difficult, and generally requires serious participation in a barbell sport (for years) or being a genetic abnormality.
     
  17. JosephDredd

    JosephDredd Gold Belt

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    I've been doing the Gymnastic Bodies foundations program, which pairs a strength movement with a mobility movement (and doesn't let you advance until you've mastered the mobility movement, even if it means you're doing wimpier strength movements for a long, long time) and found that my injuries were reversing itself and suddenly, at 35, I was as flexible and as mobile as I've ever been. I recently started their dedicated stretching program and am blown away now at how hard it is to pass my guard when my shin can be brought to my head pretty easily and how heavy I am on top when there's very little space between my pelvis and the ground. I also didn't realize how my thoracic inflexibility really limited all my bridges, oopahs and even shrimping.

    Nic... Gregoriades?... talks about how yoga was the best thing he did in his path to black belt, I know many people who swear by ginastica natural, a few more who have done yoga. Rickson raved about yoga for BJJ. Someone in the Guard Retention DVD thread said doing yoga was the best thing for his guard abilities.

    As a big guy I'm suddenly finding myself able to do a few things like those wiry little guys that always frustrate me. It's a great feeling and I'm really looking forward to seeing what I can do after a year of this.
     
  18. cjd

    cjd Blue Belt

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    Interesting - I've been working on the hip flexibility solution and shoulder flexibility solution (from Eric Wong) and they've really done wonders in terms of loosening me up.

    Would you mind telling me (or rather us) about a few of the paired movements and what the expected progression in the mobility movement are?
     
  19. JosephDredd

    JosephDredd Gold Belt

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    [YT]hlJ46dfg88I[/YT]

    Here's half of the first step of the Foundations 1 workout. I don't want to give away everything since I feel some loyalty to Coach Sommers after the things his program has done for me, but if you look around youtube you'll find the other half pretty easily.

    You'll notice the Superman holds (arch body hold). Since this video was shot, the program has removed the Superman holds and inserted them later in the program. It's now something you work up to with baby steps. Most people do the Supermans by contracting their lower back, but in a proper gymnastic hold there is no lower back contraction. You flex your butt and have great hip mobility to get your feet high up in the air and flex your upper back and have great thoracic flexibility to get your hands and head high up in the air. I would be really surprised if anyone here could hold a Superman hold to a gymnasts standards for any amount of time. If you're contracting your lower back you're doing it wrong.

    The mobility movements don't seem like much, but they get tough in a matter of inches. The scapular push-ups were never something I thought would cause me problems... until I found out how far in front of my body I need to push my shoulders at the top in order to make the standard. Same thing with the ski squat and the alternating knee touches and everything else.

    And, yeah, you'll see the strength work is pretty wimpy, baby steps, but they don't let you advance until you get the mobility. In a forum post Coach Sommers told me that I shouldn't be having any popping or cracking sounds in my shoulder joints as I'm doing any of this and I wasn't sure if that was even possible, so I scaled it back to doing scapular push-ups against a wall and instead of table push-ups doing wall push-ups. I listened to some of his stuff on strengthening connective tissue and took my time and I worked up to the regular baby steps from my scaled back baby steps and now, even though I could probably advance to level 2 at any time, I'm still seeing so much progress in terms of strength, mobility and joint stability that I feel I could continue to milk these baby steps for some time to come.

    The GB people use weights as they increase flexibility because their idea is to increase your range of motion and then increase your strength in that new range of motion.

    Here's a vid of them doing reverse dislocates, it's probably a level 3 or 4 mobility movement. Dislocates those things you see people do with their gi belt or a long stick where they lift it above their head then lower it behind them until they touch the object to their butt. Typically people do it with their arms outstretched quite a distance. The GB people want you to be able to do it with your hands pretty close together before you move on.

    [YT]JqJhILs19mY[/YT]

    Here's a weighted pike stretch. I don't know what level it's at in the program.

    [YT]TROCCITlBrE[/YT]

    Here's an interview Coach Sommers did specifically regarding training tendon strength and connective tissue.

    [YT]Dg2n9Dw9ABY[/YT]

    This has been the best thing I've done. Between 1998 and 2013 I've tried bodybuilding, powerlifting, crossfit and kettlebells and this was what my body needed more than any other modality I've tried. Maybe it's not for everyone, but it was great for me.

    I've done long write-ups on this in the past here and recently a member sent me a PM saying he got Foundations 1 on my recommendation and was really happy with how quickly he was seeing a transformation. He experienced the same thing I did: injuries disappearing and a kind of athleticism he thought was long gone.

    Gold Medal Bodies and Kit Laughlin are other well-respected names in gymnastics training. I've got one of Kit's books, but I never did any of his or Gold Medal Bodies' programs so I can't really relate any experiences with them.

    As I was looking through youtube it looks like Gymnastic Bodies posted daily workout videos for a handstand challenge. I don't know anything about it, but if you look at the videos you'll see exactly how they specifically target strength and flexibility for gymnastics. I also got the Handstand 1 course and a lot of it is increasing finger, wrist and forearm strength for controlling a freestanding handstand, which has had obvious carryover to gripping in BJJ. You might want to look into the Handstand Challenge they did. Again, I don't know anything about it, but it looks free and it does not look like they skimped on any of their training information. It might be a way for you to get a feel for what they do.
     
  20. Kinniku

    Kinniku Purple Belt

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    Mark Kerr had a great run in ADCC.
     

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