BASE= most important in jj.

I think.

Hugely important. You can tell immediately if someone is good by how solid their base is when rolling.

I can't argue with that. Now please tell me how to improve it (besides rolling).


Id love to know some tips on base improvement outside of bjj practice as well

Define what you mean by "base".


When someone sits all the way back on their heels and sits straight up with a straight back and their head forward, I immediately know I'm in for a war (or more likely, a drubbing). If they lean forward and use arm strength, I should be able to sweep or submit them.

All your base are belong to us.

"Base" and "posture" are the two most over used terms in BJJ. And NO the answer to increasing it is not "just training harder, my frien'" No matter what your Brazilian instructor says.

"Base" is the alignment on the body. It is the point when the body is at its strongest and most balanced. Think about squating, deadlifts, kettlebell swings. They all require the hips to be in alignment with the shoulders for either max lift, power or strength. I'm willing to bet that someone who understands Olympic lifting will have a solid "base"

Hips forward, shoulders back, lower back arched slightly. The ability to apply this is "base". It doesn't matter from what position.

I diagree,Body Remover.When I started training BJJ,I was taught the hips forward base,always had trouble with that base.I learned later hips back(think roll hips back,stomach forward),head up ,chest out,shoulders forward.Ceasar Gracie teachs that type of base on his 1st set,my game improved lots after that.

Base, could be thought in terms of a foundation, a structure, usually the lowest part that is supporting weight.

Base and balance go hand in hand, but you can have a base, but terrible balance. You can think in terms of weight placement on the base structure. The lower to the ground the weight is placed, usually the better the base.

From my experience, unless the person has a wrestling backround, new grapplers have terrible base and balance, lots of times you don't even have to sweep them, a simple shift will tip them over.

Posture is the alignment of body parts.I also see posture in terms of frames. The 3 base, balance, posture all parts of the overall body package.

The aggressive part of BJJ is attacking base to make the opponent off balanced, and attacking posture,using leverage. The defensive side is keeping base, balance, and posture.

I have never trained at a school where there was a lot of high level belts, or a school where a black belt taught the classes, so i don't know how this aspect is taught.
I do know at the seminars i attended, it was always spoken about, and posture was mentioned, as in "get in this posture",but that was basically it.

The question of how to get better at it is to understand it, really start looking at all techs in terms of base, balance, and posture, and leverage. Rolling has developes your feel and sensitivity of those aspects, so if one only rolls, they will get better over time, but IMO, if your understanding and thought processes go into those aspects first, you will get better much quicker.

The REAL fundamentals of grappling is Base, Balanse, Posture, Leverage, BJJ is a system that attacks those fundamentals.

This is a good thread. We need some definitions.

1 - Base

'Base' refers to the position of your lower body in order to maintain stability and balance.

Some people use the terms 'base' and 'balance' interchangeably. This is a little sloppy, and this is why there can be some confusion. Some people also use 'base' as a verb, meaning "to catch one's balance" (i.e. "next, I base out on my hand..."). In my book, this is also sloppy and leads to confusion.

2 - Posture

'Posture' in BJJ can be tricky to define. Roy Harris coined the term in the mid 90's as a way of discussing the position of your upper body within the guard (and later, in other inferior positions).

Now, everyone uses the term 'posture' all the time, and with lots of different intended meanings ("alignment", "balance", "position of my spine", "position of head", etc).

3 - Leverage

"Leverage" is probably the most overused (and overly misused) word in the BJJ community.

'Leverage' is a term that refers to the factor by which a lever multiplies a force. It is a type of mechanical advantage.

In short: a force applied to a lever is multiplied by the length of the lever.

Applied to BJJ: I need to place my weight on my partner's forearm to push it into his chest. The closer to his elbow (in simple terms, "the fulcrum", though the elbow is technically a pulley) I place my weight, the more force I will need to overcome his isometric tricep strength. As I move my weight farther from his elbow and closer to his wrist, I am able to create a much stronger force (against his tricep) without increasing the effort or poundage that I am applying.

This concept was first identified by Archimedes, who wrote: "Give me a place to stand and I will move the Earth." (This is also sometimes written as "Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough, and I will move the Earth.")


ttt for Archimedes - he has great base and perfect posture!

IMO, 'base' refers to the ability to dynamically maintain a correct posture in a given situation against various forces to off-balance him.

So it's posture, balance, strength, sensitivity and awareness all combined. Ratio of these elements depends on the person's attribute.

Roy Harris coined the term posture?

Roy is definitely awesome, but that's a really bold statement.

There was a great few paragraphs about base from Rickson knocking around here a while back. He talked about the basis of BJJ being having good base and taking your opponents base.


Bold? I don't know why it would be bold. I'm not making a guess....

Roy holds the distinction of being the first person to answer BJJ questions via text on the internet. He's been answering questions since the mid-1990's (remember, he's been training BJJ since January of 1991...the first month that the Gracie Academy opened outside of Rorion's garage. He was also training JKD and other styles since 1981.).

I remember him telling the story at a seminar about how it was really difficult to describe BJJ in text, because many of the techniques didn't have names, and nobody had come up with consistent terminology. The big question everyone wanted answered was "How do I pass the guard?" So in answering it, he took a bold step forward and wrote "To begin with, you will need to establish base and posture...." and defined those terms.

History lesson for the day, I guess. :)

TT, I'm afraid you are incorrect. Maybe he was the first to say it in English, but in Brazil they use the portuguese term for it all the time (and most there havent heard of Roy).

i was using 'bold' in the nautical sense of the term meaning: "deep
enough to be navigable close to the shore: bold waters."

just kidding. thanks for clarifying what you meant. good stuff.


I only said that he used it first, and defined it.

How many instructors do you know that DEFINE it?

I've heard plenty of people say "when I'm here, I posture up." I have no idea what they mean when they say that, and these people are speaking english. (I would not even recognize it in Portuguese.) I think they are using the term, but not in a "technical" way. In the same way, many people use the word "leverage", but without really sticking to an assigned definition ("grab him with leverage"...what does that mean?).

And sure, lots of people use it "all the time". But I'm talking about when it came into use. I do not recall (off the top of my head) what year he said this happened, but I think it was around 1994. Because that pre-dates my involvement in BJJ, (and because in 1994 I had a 2400 baud modem,) I did not read it at the time.