Breaking Mechanics

There are four types of breaks: linear, rotational, compression, and hybrid.

There are three different types of breaks:

  1. Linear locks, such as kneebars and armbars
  2. Rotational locks, such as heel hooks and Kimuras
  3. Compression locks, such as calf slicers
  4. Hybrid locks, which combine two or more of the above.

As with chokes, it's often in your best interests to combine multiple breaking mechanics with a hybrid lock. As an example, if attempting a kneebar (a linear lock), add some rotation to make it more effective.


Steps to breaking:

There are several steps involved in breaking mechanics.

#1: Isolate a lever.

Effectively isolate a lever by creating grips and wedges around said lever. This may involve a secondary grip or "dig" to actually apply a submission, such as in the case of a heel hook.

#2: Prevent the defense.

Understand your opponent's predictable defenses and put forth preventative measures. This usually involves improving your own alignment while further breaking your opponent's alignment.

#3: Maximize leverage.

Fully immobilize the joint being attacked. This is usually done by using wedges around the target joint and the surrounding joints.

It's important to immobilize not just the joint being attacked, but also other joints nearby. If the nearby joints still have some room to move, pressure can distribute, or "bleed through," to the other joints and weaken your attack.

Ensure your grips on the targeted lever are placed to generate the maximum force possible. This may involve "digging" to expose a hidden hand or heel.

It is important to exhaust all leverage opportunities before moving on to power and strength. Once you start using power, you will greatly reduce your ability to make small adjustments during the submission attempt. The big hip movements should be saved for last.

#4: Apply overwhelming force.

Only after you have isolated a lever, prevented defenses, and maximized leverage are you ready to use power and strength.

Ensure you are applying overwhelming force by engaging your core and as many limbs as you have available. Pulling, pushing, or rotating with only your arms is not efficient.

Use power only when you have maximized your ability to use technical leverage. Strength and power are to be called upon last.


On the podcast:


Further study:

Master this mental model with our audio courses.


Learn over 150 mental models for Jiu-Jitsu.

Exclusively on BJJ Mental Models Premium.

Try it free. Cancel anytime. No bullshit. Only $20/mo.