Shifting Platforms

Continuously move and switch angles to prevent your opponent from applying pressure against you.

You wouldn’t build a house on a shifting foundation, because it won’t remain stable for long. You can apply the same principle in Jiu-Jitsu.

If you aren’t moving, you become a stable platform. This allows your opponent to “settle” into the position, much like how concrete sets if it isn’t in motion. If you’re a stable platform, your opponent can easily apply force or use gravity against you.

If you are constantly moving, you become a shifting platform. This makes it very hard for your opponent to settle into position and get comfortable. If you’re a shifting platform, it’s much harder for your opponent to control you with grips or pressure.

Note that being in constant motion does not mean spazzing out and burning energy. In fact, your movements can and should be small. You’re not trying to create non-stop, big, explosive motion. Rather, you’re using continuous micro-movements to create small but effective changes in angle and force vector.

Think of how an earthworm wriggles. That’s how you want to move. Your motions should not be explosive and temporary. They should be small and continuous.

Example #1: Shifting platforms from bottom side control

If you want an example of how effective this can be in practice, try using the shifting platforms approach next time you’re stuck in side control:

  • DON’T use explosive hip bumps or hip escapes. These burn your energy, leave openings your opponent can exploit, and usually result in you becoming a stable platform for your opponent.
  • DO use non-stop and very small hip bumps and shrimps. The trick is to do this not once, but twice, but to do it continuously and never stop moving.

You’ll find that with the second approach – the shifting platform approach – your opponent will feel a lot lighter and you’ll create more openings to escape.

Example #2: Shifting platforms from top open guard

The shifting platform strategy is also relevant if you’re on top. For example, have you ever been trapped in your opponent’s guard where their grips are so strong, or their foot pressure against your hips so great, that you can’t seem to move? If so, shift your hips a bit to change the angle. Don’t just do it once or twice, but do it constantly.