When, How and Why to post in Grappling.

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How often do you feel you are getting somewhere with an escape only to find that you get shut down again and again? Do you feel like people hit sweeps on you without much difficulty? I'm thinking you got bad posts, or you post alone with no backup plan. Don't fret or lose your head because this is easily fixed with some education and a little elbow grease.

But first...

Posting to avoid the Omoplata

What is a post?

A basic way of explaining a post is using a limb as a support structure that allows more stability in dynamic grappling situations. These grappling situations are where you are compromised positionally, like getting swept or forming a base to use an escape. A very narrow way of thinking of a post is using a limb on the ground to not fall over like a crutch.

What can you use to post?

Depending on the situation, you can post with your hand, elbow, knee, foot or even your head. The shorter posts like elbow, knee and head are the easiest to collapse as the lever is shorter, meaning less effort to roll over them.

Think of the posts holding up a long fence. They work to hold up a fence in one linear plane, but in another, they can be knocked down. Think of a strong wind blowing against the flat side of the fence compared to one that blows along the fence. The flat side will absorb a lot of the force imposed upon it based on the direction of the wind, or force and determines how easily the post can be pushed past its structural threshold and fail. 

This leads to it getting collapsed or, in BJJ, rolled over.

So the direction of the force in regards to where you place your post is very important.

Where should I use a post?

The most prominent places to use a post are to create more dynamic movements especially in regards to:

  1. Last moment avoidance of powerful sweeps when on top.
  2. Creating effective attacking angles when on the bottom. 

The biggest issue new grapplers have with their posts is that they post too close to form a strong post and do not create one that is directly resisting the external force of their opponent. 

Now that we have some of the exposition out of the way, let us bite down on the nitty-gritty and fix some of the ailments that concern the beginner grappler posts.

Posting to avoid the sweep

Post straight.

Much like our fence post analogy, they have got to be as straight as you can get them while keeping in mind you do not want to hyperextend your elbow. So posting when your legs are over your head and you're about the get took down is a no-no. The force is just simply too high for the structural threshold of your post and that arm will break. But if the force is manageable and the post is structurally strong, the use of said post seems reasonable. 

Legs are strong posts. So, if someone was to attempt the same takedown and you posted with your leg, this is good. If you are simply getting hip bumped maybe just use your hand, different horses for different courses here.

Post must resist the force head-on.

Your post has got to meet the force imposed upon you head-on or you are doing yourself no favours. Some instances you will have a great post with simply too much force for it to bear and that is the way of things. You will not succeed in this instance of either avoiding the sweep or initiating an escape. 

But for you to have a misplaced post is a gift for your opponent and you just shot yourself in the foot. If you're getting swept you will innately feel that there is a sweet spot for you to place your hand as your proprioceptive intuition (a sense of where you are in space) will take over. This is a bit more tricky in the cases where you a posting from the bottom. 

You will have to make a conscious effort to understand where the force is and where best to place your post to oppose it. 

Post dynamically. 

Sometimes a lonely post just won't do and you might need to shift that post depending on where your opponent shifts their force. Think of a sweep on one side and you post your hand out as you are off-balance, then they try and sweep you in a differing direction while your off-hand is tied up with a grip.

That post has got some work to do...

Understandably, the odds are against you here and chances are you will need to include some backup posts if you can not readily shift your initial post in time. It might be prudent to come up to a knee on that side rather than eat the sweep. Either way, keep your first post dynamic and always be mindful of secondary attacks that could require a second post. 

Using posts on your opponent to enable the guard pass

Post on your opponent.

You might think of this as a frame and you would be right in some respects. But posting on your opponent is more of a top position move that is less dangerous than posting your hand on the mat which can invite submissions against you. For more on this check out our previous blog here.

And that is your crash course in all things post related. For any questions, comments or queries feel free to comment and share.

Jake Anderson is a Bachelor of Sport Development and Mixed Martial Arts commentator with over 18 years of combined training in various Martial Arts and tertiary education in health & sport. His blogs on the foundations of health and martial arts are dedicated to the communication and education of leading a holistically fulfilling life.

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