No Gi Reflections #6 | The Principle of Localised Force feat. John Danaher

The legend that is John Danaher, perhaps one of THE most successful sports performance and BJJ coaches of all time, speaks again, this time about the Principle of Localised Force.

Upon reading you’ll see how the Danaher system of leg locks likes to utilise the heel hook as an area to focus on to apply force, no matter the size nor strength of the opponent.

The principle of localized force: The central feature of jiu jitsu is to use mechanical advantage to control greater strength and aggression with less. How is this possible? It is done largely through the principle of localized force. Let's say we have an opponent who can apply an average of one hundred units of strength in standard strength tests while we can only generate 50 units of strength. As a whole, he is roughly twice as strong as us overall. How is victory through grappling possible in such a case? The key is to understand that it is possible to use a very high percentage of our overall strength to attack a small percentage of my opponents overall strength at a point of his body which, if attacked successfully, will end his ability to continue the fight. If I can use the various movements of jiu jitsu to maneuver into a position where I can create a temporary LOCAL strength advantage at a critical point of my opponents body (neck or joints), I can overcome an OVERALL strength disadvantage. The whole basis of our sport is precisely to develop the skill of maneuvering into these local advantages as efficiently as possible and using that to create a threat to a critical but vulnerable body part in a way that leads to submission. A good example would be ashi garami, where a very high percentage of our overall strength – both legs, both hips, back and both arms are used to restrain an opponent's single leg and hip in a way that allows us to threaten severe damage. If a good ashi garami allows us to use 90% of our 50 units of strength against an opponent's single leg, 33% of his 100 units of strength, then we shall have a considerable local strength advantage on an opponent twice as strong as ourselves overall. This is one of the core principles of our sport and one which we must constantly keep in mind as we train and develop. Here, Gordon Ryan uses a high percentage of his total strength on the isolated leg of his opponent through a variation of ashi garami, creating a local advantage long enough to threaten a break and get a submission on his way to victory at EBI 8

A photo posted by John Danaher (@danaherjohn) on


The principle of localised force is a conerstone in any effective combat system. What I like about jiu jitsu and the world of the floor is that once grounded, strength isn’t so pinnacle as the principle of leverage, i.e. properly applied leverage can easily overcome non-calculated strength. And perhaps more so on the floor than in the standing world. So, when it comes to women, I think grappling is such a powerful asset for them to understand and delve in to, as strength is not a priority compared to localised force, leverage and strategy; facets that can be improved and mastered, regardless of gender.

Jiu jitsu, the great leveller!

No Gi Reflections #3 | John Danaher – Jits, Darwinian Theory and Coaching 101

I could listen to John Danaher speak for hours on end. There’s not a lot of press or content surrounding the guy but believe me, as and when I find it, I will post it!

This is a fantastic interview that elicits a little insight towards John’s approach to his coaching system, his ideas behind his world view (based on Darwinian Theory) and some interesting thoughts behind the phenomonon of violence.