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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Techniques vs. Aikido Techniques: Blending
BJJ: Triangle Choke
Is Blending or Harmonization Possible in BJJ?
While Blending or Harmonization is a fundamental component of Aikido techniques, can such principles be applied in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques? The short answer is yes. Blending focuses on:
- Not meeting the momentum head on or in direct opposition.
- Finding areas or "openings" where resistance is minimal.
- Exploiting the weaknesses with a countering technique to achieve the desired outcome with an effective technique.
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Aikido Techniques and Blending
Off the Line: As previously mentioned, blending is a central focus of Aikido techniques. The initial attack is not met directly. Rather, nage (the defender) steps off the line of attack so as not to meet force with force. In the Aikido defensive technique referred to as kokyunage (loosely translated as timing or breath throw) from a shomenuchi attack (an overhead blow), the defender step to one side of the attacker so as not to absorb the direct impact of the blow.
Leading Ki: The ki or energy of the attack is then harmonized with in a way that permits nage to lead uke (the attacker) in a manner that will disturb balance. This often involves applying ki energy through a lead in the same direction causing a disturbance in balance. In the above attack, nage moves his whole body to flow with the direction of the overhead blow and applies ki (force) in the same direction as the overhead blow.
Redirecting Ki: Once balance is upset, the attacker loses stability and power. At this point the technique, whether a throw or a joint lock can be applied. In the kokyunage defense, the attacker's energy is redirected so as to throw him out of balance creating the opening for the kokyunage with minimal effort.
O'Sensei Demonstrating Aikido Techniques
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Can Aikido Principles be Applied to BJJ Techniques?
While the Aikido technique of shomenuchi kokyunage involves the blending and redirecting of the attacker's energy, can any of these concepts be applied to the explosive and dynamic nature of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques? In short, the answer is yes.
Take the defense against a single or double leg takedown. One could try to meet the force head on like a sumo wrestler's initial contact. However, if the attacker's force is below the the defenders center, the takedown will succeed unless the defender does something else to counter the attack. In reality, one of the most effective defenses is the "sprawl", which is the same as that used in wrestling.
Blending with and Redirecting: If one looks closely, the sprawl involves a beautiful blending with the force and momentum of the attempted takedown. The defender's lower body moves with, and often ahead of the attacker's upper body preventing a solid grip around the leg or legs. In addition, the move involves a redirection of the movement from a drive straight at the defender to a downward direction allowing the defender to prevent the force from driving him off balance onto his back. In addition, a properly executed sprawl may break the grip on the defender's legs permitting him to take a potentially superior position on the back of the attacker - another example of redirecting of force and the advantage that can be gained from it.
In conclusion, the techiques and application of Aikido techniques may not seem to be related to those of Jiu Jitsu. Yet, key fundamentals make them more similar in the net effect than different.