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Going Upside Down: Is It for Me?
To the average practitioner that’s just getting started on their BJJ voyage, inversion can seem insurmountable. It’s kind of bizarre looking if you’ve never actually delved into the mechanics. Being exposed to the basics of inversion can seem intimidating at first, but once you take a crack at it, you may find it’s a little easier and more accessible than you think.
Inversion often gets a bad rap as a skill that lends itself to the more flexible practitioner. But with a little practice and some perseverance I believe its accessible to anyone. Inversion doesn’t have to define your style as a BJJ player, but being able to pull it out of the toolbox from time to time can’t hurt. It’s gotten me out of trouble more times than I can count, and it’s a great to way to mount some sneaky attacks as well.
There are countless drills that can be performed with a partner to get the hang of inversion. I do feel however that at first, when things are a little clumsy, it’s nice to have a more solid structure to work with that you can adjust to, and it never changes. What do I mean by that? A wall of course. Almost every BJJ school has one, and I’m guessing there’s a good chance you have one at your home as well. I’ll admit, your first few tries might not be very graceful! Mine certainly were not, but the option of starting on the wall gives you the opportunity to try inverting for the first few times in the privacy of your own home.
At first glance it may seem like inversion has a lot to do with the neck. Which I think is the number one reason it scares people away. But this is a common misconception. When we invert we do our best to leave the neck out of the equation and roll across the shoulders instead. Here is a perfect example of what I’m referring to from Mike Bidwell.
From start to finish Mike walks us through the different stages of getting comfortable being upside down. This particular sequence is a great place to begin. As Mike explains, you will begin to progress and feel more comfortable, allowing you to eliminate the assistance of the hands and begin to work towards full revolutions. Look closely at the position of his body. The neck almost has no curve in it whatsoever, through the entire process. Will it take a little practice? Of course. But don’t write off going upside without giving it a fair chance to work for you.
You know you’re curious. Give it a shot!
Once you've spent some time getting the nuts and bolts of inversion down, your next step might be checking out the Miyao Brothers and their instructional Berimbolo and Beyond from BJJ Fanatics! Check it out here!