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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Techniques and Aikido - Balance, a Common Thread

Updated on July 2, 2011

BJJ Combinations - A great example of the importance of balance

Balance is Central to BJJ and Aikido

Balance is a concept, which unifies Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques and those of Aikido

Balance is critical to these arts because:

  • A centered practitioner is, by definition, in balance.
  • Balance maximizes power.
  • Accuracy is optimized.

Triangle Choke

An example of the Triangle Choke, popular in BJJ.
An example of the Triangle Choke, popular in BJJ.

Balance, a Common Thread Joining Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Techniques and Aikido - Continued

Balance is essential to the optimum performance of many sports. Punching power is maximized when a boxer is in balance, while the Artistic Gymnast is judged on the degree of balance in every technique executed from handstands to dismounts. All of us would agree that both accuracy and distance are optimized when a quarterback is in balance.

The four basic principles of Aikido, Keep One Point (center), Relax Completely, Weight Underside, and Extend Ki (energy), are required for the proper execution of techniques. All four exist simultaneously if the practitioner is fully in balance. If properly applied, the Aikido technique called Iriminage appears to an outside observer as a technique which “clotheslines” uke (the attacker) as he crashes into the arm of nage (the defender). Actually, nage is creating a mismatch causing the upper body to move slower than the lower body resulting in loss of balance. The “clothesline” effect is simply a follow through as the arm and body – as one unit – create the downward force leading the unbalanced opponent to the ground. If the mismatch is not achieved the opponent will be in balance and much more difficult to throw.

The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu artist knows that balance can be taken even if in full mount by a clever shift of weight of the opponent resulting in a sweep or even a reversal. BJJ practitioners depend on the sprawl (a fundamental wrestling technique), which drops the body to the floor and creates a center of gravity low enough to thwart a single or double leg takedown.

In conclusion, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques are different than those of Aikido yet, the idea of balance plays a critical role in both. A person in balance has his center, the source of both power, and accuracy. This is but one example of a thread that joins not only these arts, but also seemingly unrelated sports such as football, gymnastics, and boxing.


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    • aikidk01 profile image

      aikidk01 9 years ago

      Stay tuned. The next Hub will discuss Ukemi (the art of falling) and how the knowledge gained when being thrown often translates into improved throwing techniques in both arts.

    • GreatTattoosNow profile image

      GreatTattoosNow 9 years ago from San Jose

      Another great hub Aikidk01. I really enjoy your commentary ont he mental game of martial arts. It is a very deep perspetive and one that comes from a person with many years in the field.

      I hope you keep publishing them and I excited to see what is next!