If you think Brazilian jiu jitsu is all about leverage…AND…that you shouldn’t use strength, then you are missing out on a HUGE invisible element of BJJ.

Here’s the story…

Way back in the day, the geeky scientist Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough and I can move the earth.” And then a few decades ago, a 135 pound Brazilian called Helio Gracie started kicking ass and taking names with a newly evolved form of jiu jitsu that relies heavily on the principle of leverage.

But what both Archimedes and Helio Gracie didn’t tell you is that leverage is made up of two separate components. And if just ONE of these components is missing…all that fancy talk about leverage moving planets and beating up bigger and stronger guys is just that, talk.

What exactly is leverage?

Leverage is a mathematical formula. It is force multiplied by distance. The equation is

Leverage = Force multiplied by Distance

This means the greater the distance a force is applied away from a fulcrum…the greater the leverage. Check out the following pictures…


Force Closer to Fulcrum                                                                                Force Far Away From Fulcrum

According to our “Leverage = Force multiplied by Distance” formula, the leverage would be greater in the first picture than in the second picture because the force is farther away from the fulcrum.

Now, we’ve talked about distance. Let’s talk about force for a second.

What is force?

The definition of force is a…push or a pull between two physical bodies.

And what creates a push or a pull? That’s right…


Simply put, it is IMPOSSIBLE to have leverage if you do NOT apply some sort of force. If you do not apply some sort of strength.

That’s why the whole concept of strength vs. leverage is a misnomer. Yes, leverage is a more efficient use of strength…but that does NOT mean you can simply take strength out of the equation.

Leverage and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu