The principle of action / reaction might be the most important principle in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
That is quite a bold statement!
If we are going to be successful in applying our jiu-jitsu techniques against heavier, stronger opponents, then we must understand and make use of this principle.
Even your football / soccer watching, beer-drinking uncle who never exercises has heard of the idea that the old little Asian master of martial arts can “use their own strength against them” to defeat an attacker.
There is truth in this stereotype of Kung Fu movies (please forget the Death Touch though).
I learned this concept when I started training judo.
One of my first instructors said memorably “You can not throw someone who does not WANT to be thrown.” The “trick” is that they DON’T KNOW that they are helping themselves to be thrown.
Check out this excellent video illustrating how to get and use your opponent’s reaction.
Judo Basics – Getting a reaction by BeyondGrappling
The principle is simple to understand: create a reaction in your opponent and then go WITH their momentum and movement.
How do we use this on the ground in jiu-jitsu?
A million ways!
I set up my sweeps and reversals with action reaction. If I want to execute a bridge escape to my left, I will first fake you to my right. You feel my movement and compensate by throwing your weight to my left.
You have now placed your weight and balance exactly where I need to reverse you. You helped me by moving yourself into position.
If I try to push you into a position using the strength of my arms, you will resist with all of your weight and force and my effort will be wasted (and in addition fatigue me).
But if I fake you and create a reaction where you move yourself…then I am using your own strength aginst yourself.
Tip: Before all of your sweep and reversal attempts in rolling the next month, use this action – reaction principle to set up the sweep.
Watch how much easier your sweeps become.
On Jiu-jitsus Times: On Jiu-jitsu Times Nicolas Gregoriades on Principle or Concept Based Approach To Jiu-jitsu
I do this exact thing. I tell my students to get them to change from rigid to fluid by going the opposite way first. Great article.