The Fifth Limb of Grappling


The Fifth Limb of Grappling Using Your Head in BJJ

Take a few lessons from wrestlers. They use their head for everything in grappling, from basing to attacking. You may already be using your head but becoming aware of it and actively practicing with it may improve your game.

  • Use your head for base when in the top position. Post with your forehead (not the top of your head) when losing the mount or side control to reestablish position. This works well if your hands are tied up and attempting chokes from the top position when your opponents are bridging. Let’s take a look at Roger Gracie in action.

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  • Use your head while passing the guard. Put pressure against your opponent in specific points such as their hips. An example of a person who uses their head frequently while passing is Murilo Santana. Murilo tripod passes and uses his head for forward pressure and very often pins the person while they’re playing guard with his head.

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  • Using your head effectively will make or break the position when playing positions such as the butterfly guard. Having your head beneath your opponent will increase your control and probability of your sweeps and attacks. In reverse if you are passing butterfly, getting your head lower than theirs will help nullify the guard. We can see clearly with Pedro Sauer‘s demonstration below.

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These are just a few examples of using your “fifth limb” in BJJ. Be aware of it and try to use it effectively in every position you play.

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