Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in it’s most purest form relies heavily on techniques and drills. It is said if you are using strength, force, or speed then you aren’t using Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Incredibly true since your refinement in techniques and drilling will give you the knowledge on what to execute and when to execute it. But one of the most neglected and crucial elements of BJJ as a beginner and white belt ( and even some blue belts ) that is seldom talked about, may be due to the mobility of the hips.
Yes the hips play as much of a role as the techniques themselves , the hips are single handedly the most important part of your body when applying techniques that some may argue there is no other single body part responsible for success in achieving a technique.
But what about the hips that makes them so special? Why should you even care what the hips do?
Think of the hips as the gateway , the key so to speak, to the technique you are trying to accomplish. It is said in our community, in our ” Cosa Nostra ” , that hip mobility is what you want to improve, to gain an advantage over your opponent.
In a previous article we talked about Stretching and the importance of flexiblity in Jiu Jitsu , which as a standalone ,you could say is equally as important as hip movement/mobility. That is not always the case.
Flexibility can help you achieve those twisted moves that you only see in high level competition , making the competitor seem as though they are performing the task with ease. Visually it may look simple, but not without sacrifice. Flexibility takes work and over a period of time can be accomplished. What is truly important in addition to flexibility are hips. The ability to move those hips with ease, like a ball and socket sliding along rails moving back and forth transitioning from one technique to the other to the other to the other and so on , is an asset all by itself.
You can have great hip movement and low flexibility and accomplish greater success than great flexibility and poor hip movement when hitting those moves.
If cardio is king in BJJ then hips are the queen in the hierarchy of grappling.
So now that we know what is important in the almighty land of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu , how do we achieve the mobility needed to gain an advantage?
The short answer is attend class and roll more often. While that is a great way to get those hips moving, it is a slow way. After all you will never get a black belt overnight no matter how good you are in any aspect of the game. Realistically, you have to shed blood, sweat and tears to get those hips moving to ultimately get your game to top notch levels when using live rolling as a means to get your hips mobile. Not to say rolling often can’t get you the success you are after, i mean let’s be real we love to roll live and execute the techniques learned and we want to know they work when sparring, but if you have the passion for BJJ you may want to drill or learn new techniques to help you move those hips.
Another way to move those hips is to practice Yoga. What? Yoga ? Really?
Yoga will open up your hips and help you to become more mobile. While Yoga may not give you an edge with strength or explosiveness, it will help you move and give you that muscle memory in flexibility and hip mobility needed to become a better grappler. Yoga can also help give you finesse, coordination, and balance and those are some attributes needed for a better Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game. Don’t neglect Yoga as a supplement to your game, any advantage that can be had to improve is always a plus!
Another way to gain hip mobility is to drill BJJ specific drills , either on your own, waiting to warmup in your respective academy or as an actual warmup drill to get ready for the upcoming session. Below you will find a video i use to help my BJJ game, it shows you drills to help improve hip movement, drills to help with hand/eye coordination , and drills to help with cardio and strength. Using these drills and drilling when not attending class can benefit your game greatly, and ultimately improve your overall BJJ movements.
A big thank you goes out to learnbjjtechniques.com for putting together a quality drill video that can help improve anyones game.
And remember, Shakira said it best with ” I’m on tonight , my hips don’t lie ” , and she doesn’t even train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!
Take care and roll safe, Fight Hard Finish Strong!