Center of Gravity

It’s easier to sweep your opponent in the direction where they’re already leaning.

When you’re fighting from the bottom, you can sweep your opponent in many different directions, but it’s always easiest to sweep if you’re exploiting their center of gravity.

Here’s a great explanation of center of gravity from ScienceDirect:

Figure 1.3

“The center of gravity (c.g.) of an erect person with arms at the side is at approximately 56% of the person’s height measured from the soles of the feet (Fig. 1.3). The center of gravity shifts as the person moves and bends. The act of balancing requires maintenance of the center of gravity above the feet. A person falls when his center of gravity is displaced beyond the position of the feet.”

Paul Davidovits, in Physics in Biology and Medicine (Fifth Edition), 2019

In the context of Jiu-Jitsu, this means:

  • If your opponent’s legs are supporting their center of gravity, they’ll be hard to sweep
  • If your opponent’s center of gravity is not underneath – and being supported by – their legs, they’ll be easier to sweep
  • It’s easiest to sweep your opponent toward their center of gravity, when their legs are not able to support it.

So when you’re choosing between multiple sweep options, choose the one that tilts your opponent towards their center of gravity. Don’t try to sweep your opponent in a direction if they’re leaning in the opposition direction.

And moreover, try to create situations where your opponent’s legs are no longer able to support their center of gravity. This is usually done by creating kuzushi and by isolating levers.

Further study: