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BJJ INVERSION
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BJJ INVERSION

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become one of the premier Martial Arts throughout the United States of America. The growth of the sport is steadily rising every year, as an inundation of students across the board are living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle. The modernisation of Jiu Jitsu has led to a mountain of different bjj transitions that are now taking centre stage. Many of the world's most iconic grapplers are making considerable statements with their inception of technical components like berimbolos, crab rides, cartwheel passes, granby rolls, and the truck position jiu jitsu. Some of these positions involve inversion techniques, and this has become a widespread phenomenon throughout the stylings of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

What this article covers:

Although the community of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is divided in the sense that the old school versions of grappling are much more traditional in their techniques, and how they move. The modern version of grappling has become a much more versatile form of combat, with a wider range of more intricate positions, and techniques that can be obtained. The new era of grappling is responsible for the brand new innovations of how the game has evolved. The international rise of No Gi competition is a major factor in why the art has jumped in leaps, and bounds towards a higher dynamic, and transitional form of combat. Even though the art has strayed away from its self defense purposes, on the other hand the sporting aspect of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is hitting new levels of excellence.

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WHAT IS AN INVERT IN BJJ

The art of inversion is usually a tactic that is practiced, and executed by higher level athletes within the sport. You do not often see beginners jumping out of the blocks in a race to invert during a competition match, and this is due to their lack of experience, and core strength. An invert in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is when an athlete goes from the sitting position, and spins upside down onto their shoulder blades, as a way to attack an opponent.

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inversion bjj

Inversion techniques can be used as a defensive measure from underneath an opponent to escape from positions, and also attack into leg lock entanglements. Inversions can also be executed from the top game player, as a way to attack their opponents with leg locks, and berimbolo techniques transitioning into back takes. It can be quite common to see Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes spinning upside down onto the shoulders, and waiting upside down for their opponent to walk into danger. Although this may seem dangerous, an experienced competitor will know when to spin back into guard, and secure some sort of advantageous grips.

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THE INVERTED GUARD

The inverted guard began during the 1990's, this was a time when passing the guard was a dominant force amongst IBJJF competition matches. This era saw technicians like Royce Gracie, Wallid Ismail, Renzo Gracie and Jean Jacques Machado, all competing in famous fights throughout history. Roberto 'Roleta' Magalhaes was a famous Gracie Barra Prodigy who rose up through the ranks with a creative genius for understanding, and developing systems in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Roleta developed his own system called the inverted guard, where he would roll onto the crest of his shoulders, and play an upside down game. This active position in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will allow an athlete to attack their opponent using a different style of power, and precision. The Brazilian World Champion realised how powerful an athlete can be if they were to lead into an opponent with their legs, and his development became extremely influential on the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 

This position was only further endorsed by his coach, and mentor, Carlos Gracie Junior, as he watched Roleta carve up the 1996 World Championship Mundial. Roleta would face off against Wallid Ismail, who was the heavyweight favourite to win the tournament. Roleta attacked Ismail with his creative form of Jiu Jitsu, before defeating him in the final seconds with an inverted guard sweep. Roleta carried on into the final of the tournament, before submitting Luiz Duarte with a triangle, and winning his first World Championship title. After the event Roleta was awarded his black belt by Carlos Gracie Junior. Roleta went on to become a four time World Champion, and a four time Pan Champion, using his creative skills of inversion. He also opened his own academy called Roleta Jiu Jitsu, where he continued to innovate, and teach the next generation of upcoming athletes his creative brand of grappling. The art was further evolved by Ryan Hall, and Roberto Abreu, as the tornado guard was developed with a slightly different footprint to its predecessor.

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HOW TO PRACTISE INVERSION

Learning how to practise an invert will take some considerable time, as well as a lot of core strength. From the beginning an athlete that attempts to use the invert will struggle to activate their core muscles, in order to effectively use an inversion technique. Many new athletes will try to invert during jiu jitsu rolls, as they can fail miserably, and will often end up injuring their necks after their opponent put too much pressure bjj on them. Watching a high level athlete use inversion techniques does not mean a beginner can simply just attempt these maneuvers, as these higher level athletes have put in mountains of practise. Having the ability to invert does not just happen overnight, and it does not just happen after becoming good at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Athletes must have a significant amount of core strength to be able to firstly hold themselves up, but more importantly withstand enough pressure from a defensive opponent. There is also the added element of knowing when to bail from these positions in order to keep their safety fully intact.

In order to practise inversion techniques it is important to build up some strength and conditioning. This can be an extensive amount of Jiu Jitsu, but also building up core muscles in their abdomen, hips, quads, and hamstrings, as this will help an athlete have the ability to achieve their goals. Once an athlete has enough strength to be able to practise these techniques, they should then use repetition, and start some simple maneuvers. It is important to practise granby rolls, which is basically the act of an inversion without any training partners putting pressure onto an athlete's neck. Like all grappling techniques, they need to be practised without pressure first, so the athlete can understand the mechanics of how the move actually works. Once an athlete has an understanding of how an invert works, they can then begin to implement simple practises against lighter opponents, and this will help them to stay safe during their development of the position.

A good way to practise inversion techniques is for an athlete to hold a big fit ball between their ankles, and keep the ball off of the mat at all times. The next step is to roll over their shoulders, and into an invert position, as they practise rolling in and out of the inversion state. This may seem strange, but the fit ball will represent an opponent, and the student will actively be squeezing with their legs, while they are practising the invert. This can be extremely important for when they are successfully inverting, as their legs need to become hooks, and latch onto different parts of an opponent's body, especially when attempting a berimbolo to leg lock maneuver, or a transition into a back take. Once an athlete has a decent understanding, and can flow into an inversion technique, they should then practise how to bail out of an invert from left to right. Once a student knows how to invert this technique is extremely basic. Once the athlete is in the inverted position they can move their head from left to right, which will inevitably force them to roll over their shoulder, and alleviate any downward pressure the opponent is giving. They can also walk their lower back down, as this will also ease the pressure. After learning these processes, students can start adding in attacking elements like latching onto arm bars, or leg locks, as they look to invert. They can also use this in the Gi, as they secure the lapel, and use wrapping techniques while they invert. 

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IS IT DANGEROUS TO INVERT

Using inversion techniques in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be extremely dangerous, and quite often an athlete will end up getting stacked onto their neck. This is not a desirable position to be in, as an athlete can suffer from bulging discs, fractured vertebrae, broken collar bones, and many other strains, and pains in their neck, and shoulders. Using an invert should only be done by high level athletes, or athletes that have quite a lot of experience with the inversion game. Quite often a guard player will play high guard, as the guard passer will push their legs to one side, and this can force their opponent to invert. To an experienced athlete this is not dangerous, as they know how to safely initiate, and maintain this position. Beginners of the art have a completely different take, as they are not sure on which way to move, which can ultimately lead to their demise. Students that do not have a good inversion technique, or good strength in their neck and shoulders, can wind up suffering from debilitating injuries, and can even lead to a broken neck. It is extremely important to know when to invert, and when not to, because some opponents are just too big, and too strong, and know how to apply pressure to an inverted opponent.

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HOW CAN INVERSION HELP AN ATHLETES GAME

There are many facets involved in a successful Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game style. Of course an athlete needs to have an intricate knowledge of the fundamentals, as well as a definitive game style, which involves controlling opponents, transitioning between positions, understanding how to escape positions, knowing how to take opponents down to the mat, and an advanced knowledge of various submission maneuvers. These are all core principles in becoming high level in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but there are ways that can help athletes fill in the blanks. New innovations of BJJ like Eddie Bravo's rubber guard, Keenan Cornelius' worm guard, knee reaping bjj techniques that most leg lockers will use, along with an inversion game with the likes of Craig Jones, Lachlan Giles, and Gordon Ryan have all mastered these concepts.

Mastering the inversion game can be extremely advantageous for the modern grappler. Athletes that find themself under significant pressure from an opponent can use an invert as a defensive mechanism, which will help them to escape many dangers, and re-guard their opponent. The art of guard retention can be extremely annoying to a top game player, which can inevitably force them to make mistakes, and give up their position. Quite often a top game player will attempt to pass the guard, grabbing hold of an opponent's ankles. This can be extremely debilitating to an opponent if they have no skills in inversion. An athlete that knows how to invert can basically live on their shoulders, while maintaining an impassable guard. This is a great way to not only annoy the opponent, and stifle their guard pass, but it will also stop them from scoring points in competition matches. 

10th Planet Superstar Jon "Thor" Blank is ready to reveal THE UPSIDE DOWN his guide to INVERTED ATTACKS!  Get your copy here at BJJFanatics.com!

Jiu Jitsu inversion

Having a solid inversion game is not only a defensive measure, it can be a great attacking platform to enter into the world of leg lock mastery. There are many different entries into a leg lock entanglement, as the modern grappler will commonly pull a seated guard, and wait for their opponent to step close before inverting, and latching onto a leg. This may not be the most sound way to take on a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fight, but it definitely works. Using inversion techniques like an imanari roll, or a k-guard entry into a berimbolo, is not only gorgeous to watch, but it showcases the technical proficiency. Many athletes in the modern era are going over inversion maneuvers to attack their opponents, as this has become a popular trend in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Athletes will commonly set up a de la riva guard, before inverting into a crab ride, and taking back control. These are just a few techniques amongst many, that are making the invert one of the most formidable, and popular movements in the Brazilian art of Jiu Jitsu.

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