The Science of BJJ – Biomechanics

Understanding the science of BJJ and the biomechanics that underpin it will revolutionize your understanding of the game.

Biomechanics is the study of the structures and functions of the human body which powers our movement. You can think of it as the rules the body must obey in order to move. Understanding how the body works will allow you to understand techniques instead of just going through the motions.

The first thing to realize is that your muscles and skeleton are a system – the musculoskeletal system – it gives us our shape, posture, and creates movement. For the most part, everybody has the same body structure – a head connected to a torso and four limbs extending from the torso. Each body part moves in the same general way; knees and elbows flex and extend, hips and shoulders can move relatively freely, and spines can bend in many directions. All these movements can happen independently from each other, creating an almost infinite amount of ways a body can be shaped.

Learning how to properly move your body and its parts to be strong and efficient is the first step in becoming a good grappler.

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BJJ can be seen as a complex game in which two bodies attempt to move the other into a position that results in a submission. In order to be successful in BJJ you have to be able to:

  1. Use your body to maintain stability.
  2. Use your body to cause instability in your opponent.
  3. Take advantage of your opponent’s instability.
  4. Produce and control force in order to maximize the results as efficiently as possible.

To do this you have to keep in mind the two most important concepts for keeping stability – your centre of gravity and your base of support. These two subjects are big enough to be worth an article in their own right.

Once you have an understanding of the biomechanics and the science of BJJ, you will be able to take your game to the next level. Even watching videos will improve your BJJ dramatically.

Edwin Peng

Hello! My name is Edwin Peng and I am a huge BJJ nerd. I have been training BJJ since 2008, and received my black belt from the prestigious GFteam in 2017. I went to graduate school at Long Beach State where I received a Masters degree in Exercise Science. I now run The Grappling Lab, a BJJ school combining science and Jiujitsu. You can check out the site at

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