Triangles and BJJ - Triangulation?

Does anyone wish to share any interesting details on what they have learned about triangulation and how it applies to the general theories of movement that embody bjj and other forms of grappling?

Here's one from me - the figure 4 has nothing to do with the number 4, it has at it's center a triangle, and is a 90 degree cross with a 45 degree intersection making a triangle. The smaller the triangular hole in the middle, the less slack, the better energy transfer upon application. Targets may vary.

Just curious on the thoughts of the collective.

Dave in Oregon

Dave you are the definition of a BJJ nerd

Buckminster fuller said "I am a verb" I think that's cool.

You know Positional Dominace works because of a triangulation between your center, your opponents center, and the center of the earth (gravity).

You may not understand triangulation, but that doesn't mean you don't get it to work for you every time you sprawl or pull guard or mount.

You may not like it that I point these so plain things out to you because you knew them all ready, but that doesn't mean your not actively using 3 different triangles when your executing a kimura from guard timed prefectly w/ forward motion.

The triangulation is obviously taking very good care of itself bro. I have nothing to do with it. Everytime you cross a bridge you benifit from it.

Humans build to transcend death. You ever wonder what would happen to people with bad knees and backs if chairs didn't exist?

Dave the Nerd Verb

Uh, Dave, I'm not sure the sense you mean when you use the word "triangulation." Do you mean recognizing triangles? Forming them? Seeing them? Applying force in triangulating vectors? You don't really say what you're talking about.

Furthermore, statements like "The smaller the triangular hole in the middle, the less slack, the better energy transfer upon application" make you sound like a fruitloop. I mean this in a nice way. What energy are you transferring? To and from where are you transferring it? By what means? (And DON'T say "by triangulating"....because that will be meaningless).

I think you are trying to say something like this: "The triangle is a shape that we often use in BJJ. We form triangles with our body in order to create a certain kind of strong frame. Has anyone noticed that we do this?" However, I am giving you a LOT of the benefit of the doubt in my translation.


I have noticed a triangulation between me, my wallet, and BJJ.


No offense intended at all, but purely in the interests of 'keepin it real', I must inform you that outside of the JKD forum, no one is impressed by or interested in this kind of pseudo-intellectual masturbation.


The angle of the dangle...

In defense of my intellectual masturbation.

Obviously by opening a discussing of what I feel is the underlying themes of jiu jitsu I'm trying to impress someone? Maybe I'm trying to figure some shit out? Something a little more than 'when he do dis, you do dat' mindlessness.

"Do you mean recognizing triangles? Forming them? Seeing them? Applying force in triangulating vectors? You don't really say what you're talking about."


Those are really good observations. All of them! I'm talking about all those things. Hopefully as many as possible at once.

I use the term triangulation because it seems to allow itself to be attached to wide range of applications and abstractions. Ranging from strategy, to the known mechanics of locks and holds.

If I was to use a term like frame building, which brings with it the stigma of being static, I don't believe the mind of the technical grappler would be stimulated. Everyone knows what a frame is, but I'm personally trying to figure out how to really USE them, which means learning how they interact. What their relationship is to each other.

At the same time I aspire to use vocubulary that takes advantage of the medium, and fully engages the participant vs. passively entertaining them. Words are forms to cling to as well right? Learn and forget right?

Triangulation: The location of an unknown point, as in navigation, by the formation of a triangle having the unknown point and two known points as the vertices.

Triangulation is also a part of Spherical Trigonometry: The modified form of trigonometry applied to spherical triangles.

You don't need formulas to use triangulation of energy in in jiu jitsu. It's a part of the science of grappling. For example both the Center Line Theory and Positional Dominance is based on it.

TT- example:

  1. Slap a kimura on someone from x-side top or guard. Notice that the kimura is a three edged frame. Your two arms, and your opponents arm. A triangle. What effect does the volume of 'negative space' within the frame have on the mechanics of the lock?
  2. In the "mechanics" of the kimura I was traditionally taught the closer the opponents elbow to the torso the tighter the lock, (ideally due to clean 90 degree angles, give or take)
  3. To finish the kimura is to apply rotation to these triangular angles isolating the shoulder thru an arc.

Experimental questions: So how does "slack" effect the kimura? How does one TIGHTEN the kimura up? Is it simply by applying a stronger grip? Does gripping with the thumb matter? What effect on frame building does gripping with the thumb have? What effect does building the smallest triangle possible have on ROTATIONAL leverage?

These questions are directly relevent to the "triangulation' of energy, leverage, hands arms torso, whatever we're using.

Good jiu jitsu is good technical movement. Technical movement seems to follow triangles to one degree or another. And some people are saying spirals, but I won't go there. If you disagree please tell me why? And give examples to contradict me.

Dave in Oregon

PS - If using technical terms in a medium that provides an outlet for any individual to do their own research makes me sound like a fruitloop, I welcome it. The real fruitloops are people willing to eat what is served them without looking to see what's in it.

There are people who genuinely desire to to know how and why things work. I'm one of these people. I also am the type of person that needs to write it helps me organize my thought.

I'm not selling anything. I'm being honest in presenting what I think is relevent information about jiujitsu on the internet medium. If I was talking philosophy would your critisism change? What does philosophy have to do with jiu jitsu anyways? It's just a sport.

Scott Sonnon, you have an imitator.

To demonstrate the ineffectiveness of language to fully communicate jiu jitsu, and the EFFECTIVENESS of conceptual symbolism, I will post a photo to accompany my remarks on triangulation.

So.... No one else admires the undersides of bridges? Is this true? 45's and 90's everywhere. If I can figure out what 22.5 degrees has to do with anything I'll just skip from white belt to blackbelt next week like that guy who decided to promote himself to purple and said his instructor didn't say anything to him. LOL

You know i think the 6 degrees of kevin bacon is suppose to mean you and me are connected in some way. Humor is the random event that entertains the mind with the absurdity of human reasoning.

Language is absurd.

Thats an interesting story Lew. I'm sure that guy fit right into the types of people that think woody allen is funny, so his character flaws don't surprise me.

Would you like to discuss geometry and jiu jitsu now?

It's not numerology I'm talking about, it's mechanics. The wheels, levers, ropes and pullies of the body.


By introducing ambiguity and vagueness (trying to use the word in ANY sense people will hear it) you eliminate whatever shot you had at sounding "technical".

Let's discuss your kimura. What makes the kimura effective is a combination of various angles of pressure which achieve two goals on your partner's anatomy (the raising of the elbow towards the ear, and the rotation of the arm to put the wrist below the plane of the body). Why do you need to "tighten" it? Is someone escaping? If so, what anchors have you placed at points of inefficiency (for him) to prevent that movement?

Now, here's what I'm hearing: You see triangles when you look at people grappling.

Well, fine. You see triangles. I'll bet you see other shapes too. Kenpo Karate's Ed Parker created a pattern called the Universal Pattern, which he said represented all of the directions in which the human body (especially the limbs) could move. It is filled with interlocking circles, triangles, squares, diamonds, hearts, and all kinds of other shapes. Maybe what you need to do is sit down and try to figure out all the shapes you see when 2 people grapple.

You are still, however, in a very abstract place, and you're trying a little prematurely to jump into a concrete place. Figure out WHAT you are trying to apply, and then you will be able to apply it.


Sometimes analogies, be they geometric or otherwise, help people understand a technique, concept, or movement better. Sometimes they turn on a light bulb. Other times, they just turn it all into a big convaluded mess.

It's all just wrasslin'.

Good wordsTT and JR. Thanks for your input you guys. I'm already working on that.

On the kimura, I gotta maintain that the less space there is in the 'center' of the kimura, the more leverage is transmitted. Regardless of the positional context. (guard mount x-sides etc)

When all the slack is removed, you just simply move less to generate more leverage.

I'll take some photos this week and see if I can illustrate what I mean.



I disagree. I think the factors that allow you to effect the angles of pressure with more leverage are actually the proximity of your elbows and forearms to your torso, and the proximity of his elbow to your torso. I think these are results of your "tightening" that are giving you the visible results. It's an issue of causation/correlation.


Dude, draw a 4 on paper like the one on this page (the kind with the top lines touching) and you will see a triangle there.

Your arms and your oponent's one arm make that number 4. Can you see it now?


Thanks for everyones honesty.

Yeah Elbow positioning will effect the slack between the shoulder and the elbow for sure. Great observation.

But doesn't elbow position tighten up slack from the outside in? What about how you join the frame together? It seems to me how much space you allow inside the center of your frame tightens it up from the inside out. That doesn't discount the importance of elbow positioning.

I'm looking at it this way; it your wrench is a little loose you have to turn more then you would if you used the right sized wrench. (or you strip the bolt)

Elbows in is like setting up the wrench so you can get the best leverage on it... but taking the slack out of the center of the kimura is adjusting the wrench to fit the bolt just right.

The rotation of the kimura takes place within a sphere. Elbows in effect the outside edge of that sphere, the actual weaving of the hands/arms into the kumura position is the inside of that sphere. I believe how you build the joint in the center makes a difference.

Ultimately i just want to have tighter fig-4's and am trying to understand it from as many perspectives as possible.

Thanks for everyones comments so far!



I'll be honest here. In the beginning it sounded like you were asking a question. Now it's getting clearer that you seem to be trying to "convert" everyone to your weird point of view that BJJ is all about triangles. You haven't even been clear what that point of view is.

If you mean that body parts form triangles, well, put on your Mr. Wizard cap. Take a diploma. Your and your partners' bodies form lots of shapes. Triangles are one of the common ones. So? This doesn't get us anywhere.

If you mean that there is something special about this, well, then you haven't really said what it is. You've implied that triangles are everywhere, and making them smaller triangles makes jiujitsu better. Well, then my response is a big fat yawn. Jiujitsu is all kinds of shapes, and taking space away is what control is all about. So where is this groundbreaking leap you've promised?

This is getting boring in a hurry. Find a point, make it, and move on.


PS - If you are just asking how to improve the leverage on your kimura, here it is:

1) Left hand grabs partner's right wrist.
2) uncross ankles, push hips away, and sit up (this is to get your shoulders closer to his shoulder)
3) place your chin over his tricep to make sure you are close enough to his upper arm
4) right arm reaches over his left tricep and under his forearm. grab own wrist, without thumb. you may now switch left hand to thumbless grip if you prefer
5) place your back on the ground, keeping his upper arm secure against your chest.

6) place your left foot on the ground, and move your hips to the left
7) push with your right calf and move your head and shoulders to the left
8) move your hips to the left a second time
9) move your head and shoulders to the left a second time
10) pull your right elbow into your body to increase the pressure on his upper arm. be sure that it stays above his elbow joint.
11) keep the lower part of your left palm on the thumb side of his forearm to maintain a strong base
12) keeping your arms close to your own body, rotate your trunk to the right by pushing with your left foot and twisting to the right. create a 2-way action by pulling in your right elbow as your body pushes his wrist towards the back of his head.