Martial Arts do - the long way of the fighting styles


A fighter can use the mass of his body (or part of it) as a strength to perform an action by pressure, pull or twist.

However, the ideal would be to make use of leverage to reduce his effort.

He must find a point of support, which allows to multiply his strength, as during the execution of submissions, sweeps, throws, and take-downs, or during a defensive move.

Leverage was put into practice by Helio Gracie and constitutes the basis of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (other fighting styles also apply it).

Principles of Leverage:

Leverage is the act of using a small amount of effort to move a large load.

A lever has three components:

Fulcrum: The point about which the lever rotates;
Load: The force applied by the lever system;
Effort: The force applied by the user of the lever system.

It can be described by the following mathematical equation:

           E x FE = L x FL

E - Effort
F - Fulcrum
FE - distance between E and F
L - Load
FL - distance between F and L

The mechanical principles of the lever were first described by the Greek mathematician Archimedes (287-212 BC), who reportedly told: "Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough and I will move the world."

There are three kinds of levers, all used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:

  • First Class Lever  –  The fulcrum lies between the effort and the load.
    Examples: Arm lock, leg lock.

    First class lever.

  • Second Class Lever  –  The load is between the effort and the fulcrum.
    Examples: Front choke with hands, triangle.

    Second class lever.

  • Third Class Lever  –  The effort is between the load and the fulcrum.
    Example: Front choke with the arm.

    Third class lever.

In ground fighting, the application of leverage is done by isolating one part of the opponent (arm, leg or neck) and then applying pressure from a superior position.

Leverage can also be applied during the execution of sweeps, throws, and take-downs when the oponent find himself in an imbalance position. In Judo, the use of shoulders and hips allows to lift and throw an opponent easily.

The body can also be used as lever in striking fightings. The rotation of the torso in Boxing allows a greater efficiency and potency of the punches.

Leverage can even be applied in gripping techniques: the wider the hands are placed across an opponent the greater the advantage will be to turn him.

The principles of leverage, in proper application, make it possible for a smaller and weaker person not only to defeat a much larger and stronger opponent, but also makes it painful, even impossible, for this last to counter an attack.

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