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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a brown belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

31 October 2006

31/10/2006 - ZSK

University of Warwick Zhuan Shu Kuan (ZSK), Rod Richardson, Coventry, UK – 31/10/2006

As with last week, I was feeling a little shitty so was in two minds about training today. However, also as with last week, I got a text from Paddy saying he couldn’t make it, and as I didn’t want to leave the class without anyone to take the warm-up, I forced myself onto campus.

Had a chat with a guy I haven’t seen before, who I think called himself Bly or something like that, who is apparently Chinese but has lived in Thailand all his life. He’s done some form of wu shu before, but didn’t know what I meant when I asked him about san shou and sanda – could well be he doesn’t know it under those terms, or the pronunciation is very different. Same goes for Cung Le, but I’m sure I said that wrong.

I ran the warm-up with my normal routine, but because Rod got stuck in traffic, I had to take a bit of the main class as well. As with the last few times that’s happened, I got everyone to pair up with some focus mitts than work jab-cross, followed by the same but a more ‘alive’ drill (getting the person with the mitts to move around and whack them). That was followed by a simple fitness drill: go as hard and fast as possible with jab-cross for a minute. Much more fun than yet more press-ups, although I have to be careful as I don’t feel comfortable teaching technique – after all, I’m not qualified as a brown belt, especially a brown belt that has only trained on Tuesdays for the past couple of years.

I was just finishing off a turning kick drill when Rod finally arrived. Due to the crappy traffic, he was in a pretty bad mood. We went straight into the formal stuff, and Rod was far from impressed. The one person who is grading this year got a grilling, and it didn’t help that I could barely remember the two-man fixed spar. I may think the formal side of things is pointless, but it doesn’t do anything for Rod’s irritation if I’m forgetting stuff!

The whole class repeatedly got punishment press-ups for things like not doing a kiai when drawing back before the fixed spar. That’s exactly the kind of thing I find really unnecessary, but in ZSK, the formal syllabus is a part of class, whether I like it or not. It did at least work up a sweat, given all the press-ups. Same goes for the linework, although I was getting a little concerned about my left shoulder by this point. Seems to be ok at the moment, but hopefully its not going to start protesting tomorrow.

Really looking forward to my first full BJJ class on Thursday, though I still need to clarify the contractual elements. The only thing that worries me is what happens if I get injured/ill for a long period and the direct debit is running. But we’ll see – I’ve managed to convince my girlfriend it’s a good idea (she was a bit concerned about the finances, but I literally went through my monthly budget so she could see I’ve got enough to afford it), so I should be at Roger Gracie Academy at least twice a week from next week onwards (just the one class this week). Its been entertaining reading some of the training logs on Bullshido, especially people like Bud Shi Dist, where I can see the progression from the first BJJ lesson onwards.

BJJ Beginner FAQ

This post has now moved here.

26 October 2006

26/10/2006 - BJJ Intro Class (Oli Geddes)

Class #0
Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Oliver Geddes, London, UK – 26/10/2006

After much dithering, I found myself walking through the hallowed doors of a Gracie Barra gym. Of course, I managed to walk straight past them the first time, not realising that the entrance was a small door, set in a building with formidably barred windows. However, backtracking once I realised I’d got lost (very regular occurrence with me indeed), I soon saw the big ‘Roger Gracie Academy’ sign. Takes roughly 20 minutes by foot from Westbourne Park (on the Hammersmith and City line), though should be faster if unlike me you know where you’re going and aren’t checking a map every few minutes.

I introduced myself to Pippa (I think that was her name), the secretary, who gave me a waiver (first time I can remember signing one of those, although Paragon Kickboxing Gym might have made me sign one too back in 2004). My intro session was to be taken by Oli, a friendly looking blue belt, who directed me to the changing rooms so I could get changed into my embarrassingly new (and therefore starchy and oversized) gi. I ordered it for £20 from the university judo club last year, where I got injured before I had a chance to wear my thrilling new purchase.

Oli started off by quickly asking what previous experience I had – he assumed I had a bit of ground knowledge due to the gi, though I quickly corrected him that my knowledge of teh gr4pple was woefully lacking. In total, I’ve got about 10 hours of judo (most of which were spent with a judo black belt friend of mine rather than a formal class, so don’t really count) and about 26 hours worth of MMA, spread across a four year period from late 2002 until now.

We went through the basic breakfalls – front, back, side, and back roll (I’m not sure what the official names are: the one where you roll over your shoulder forwards, followed by falling backwards and slapping the ground, then raising a leg in front and falling to the side whilst slapping the ground, finishing with a backwards one again but this time with a backwards roll over the shoulder). For some reason, my performance made Oli inquire if I’d ever done aikido.

Come to think of it, I have done one session (which put me off aikido for life), but I mainly learned my breakfalling from a few sessions of ‘Samurai Jiu Jitsu’ (the Warwick branch of the Jitsu Foundation, now renamed simply ‘Jitsu'), a little Kempo Jiu Jitsu (the old Yawaru-Ryu club at Warwick) and the whole 2 formal judo classes I took before getting injured. We finished off that section with shrimping, something again I was slightly familiar with from MMA, also having been shown more recently by a BJJ friend (who posts on Bullshido as Jinksy).

Having gone through the necessary precautions, Oli moved on to a throw. I wasn’t expecting to be doing any throws, which just goes to show my ignorance of BJJ. Oli demonstrated a hip throw, which I assume has some funky Japanese name in judo – it’s the one where you grab an arm, pull them in to your back with your feet fairly close, hold them round the neck then throw them in front of you using your hip. As that left you with a grip on the wrist, I assumed we’d be moving into an arm bar, which Oli duly did, after which he told me to combine the throw with the submission.

Next up Oli went through the basic positions (guard, half-guard, side-control), deciding not to demonstrate full-mount or back-mount, as he assumed correctly I was familiar (at least on a very simple level) with them from the little bit of MMA I’d done. This progressed to a guard pass, something I’ve never been able to manage properly, so was handy to get the beginner demo.

Starting in his guard, I was to grab both the left and right collars in my right hand, twisting it to the left for better grip, keeping my back straight. I was then told, whilst keeping pressure on his right hip with my left hand, to rise up on my right leg, then my left, maintaining a good base. My left hand was then to move up to his knee and push it off my hip, slipping my left arm underneath as I did so.

Keeping as tight as possible and aiming to crush his leg into his body (shifting my shoulder into the back of his knee), the next step was to manoeuvre round with my legs until I was perpendicular to him, still keeping his leg down onto his chest.

Without leaving too much space, I then had to move my head around to the other side of his leg, into side control (putting one hand underneath his head to link up with my other hand, which I think is called scarf hold but I’m not entirely sure). Here's a fairly thorough video by Marcio Feitosa.

That proved to be the last bit of martial instruction for my intro, which all in all took about 20-30 minutes, I think. Oli then invited me to ask him any questions I might have, so we chatted a little about the age, fitness, skill and size range of the students (mixed, with white belts ranging from complete beginners to around 9 months, according to Oli), the instructors (always at least a brown belt teaching, usually black) and the possibility of the Farringdon lesson mentioned to me by Mungkorn Dam over on Bullshido (I was deferred to Nick, one of the brown belts who would be taking those lessons, who was at that time finishing off a private lesson in another room). Turns out that Oli knows PsychoMongoose from Bullshido, and has apparently posted on there somewhere himself, but hasn’t been back for some time.

The physical side of things over, I was directed back to Pippa, to give me the sales pitch. Classes are £90 a month, paid by direct debit, or £18 a session (meaning its not really worth it for just once a week: this was intentional, so that people training there weren’t of the ‘turn up a few times then never show again’ type).

There was also something about a ‘blue belt package’, which included the first month of training (worth £90), a gi (worth £90 again) a year membership worth £50 (which provided insurance, a manual, belts and certificates) for a total value of £254. If I join today, I also apparently get a Roger Gracie T-shirt worth £18 and a Gracie Magazine worth £6. If I join within 1 week, it costs me £150.

However, I can’t say I was too tempted: I’ve already got a gi (albeit a crappy one), and I don’t especially need Gracie merchandise. Then again, another gi would be handy, as that would make washing them easier, not to mention if I do the £150 thing, its only £10 more than I’d get for paying a month and the membership anyway (assuming the offer is still valid next week). I think what I’ll do is try out another lesson (which will cost me £18 a pop), after which I’ll decide on paying the £50 membership and £90 per month direct debit.

My problem is that at present I’m only in London on Thursday nights, as I work remotely in Birmingham on Monday, return to London for the Thursday, then take a 19:30 train back up to Birmingham on the Friday. That would mean I could only make 1 lesson a week, which would mean very slow progress and a lot of cash.

The Farringdon club which is starting up soon might be an option (according to Nick, its going to be on 122 Clerkenwell Road, with sessions of both beginners and above starting at 18:15 from Mon-Thu), but that depends on their pay structure. Nick said it may be pay-as-you-go, but nothing has been confirmed yet: the classes wouldn’t be any more convenient for me to get to than those at Roger Gracie, so probably worth my while sticking with the latter.

Therefore, I think my best option is probably to come down from Birmingham earlier on the Wednesday, in time for the 18:30 class. The only problem with that is I don’t want to upset my girlfriend, as that means she won’t get to see me Wednesday night. She didn’t sound too thrilled on the phone just now, but I’m hoping I can convince her over the weekend. Coming up earlier on the Friday night instead of staying late on Wednesday might work, but we’ll see.

So, hopefully I’ll be training regularly on Wednesdays and Thursdays at Roger Gracie’s from now on, but can’t be certain yet. After all, £1140 is a lot of money, even if it is spread out across a year. I’m pretty sure the quality is worth it, but depends how things turn out.

[Note: Obviously I did decide to join RGA: the next time I attended is here, although I was ill, so just watched. First proper class was in November, here. In case you're wondering, the photo of the academy is from 17th Jan 2008, after they'd painted the walls. ]

25 October 2006

BJJ Technique Summary

[started 21/05/2007, last update 09/03/2010
The text of this BJJ Technique Summary copyright ©2006-2011 by Can Sönmez. Please do not copy online or in print without permission]


Submissions -
--Americana: Mount, Side Control
--Armbar: Guard, Mount, Side Control, Standing Guard
--Chokes: RNC, Cross Choke: (Guard) (Mount), Triangle
Kimura: From Guard

Escapes -
--Mount: (1) (2), Side Control: (1) (2)

Passes -
--Half Guard: (1) (2)
--Leg Pin, Stack
--Twisting Guard Break

Positional -
--Side Control to Mount (1) (2)

--Ankle Grab, Flower Sweep, Push, Scissor, Sit-Up
Half Guard: (1) (2) (3)


^ Introduction: My descriptions tend to be rather sprawling, so I’m going to try and summarise them more succinctly here. Hopefully over time this will become a useful resource I can refer to when reviewing technique at home. Also, the process of going through everything I've learned so far and consolidating that information should be a handy way of revising.

I'll add in a video (page may load slowly as a result) where I can find one (but be aware they may well vary from the approach in my descriptions), along with a link to the blog entries on which I'm basing the summary. Like the glossary, any comments would be much appreciated - I'm still relatively new at this, so no doubt there will be plenty of detail I've missed, or got completely wrong. ;D


^ From Mount [Blog Label]

• Grip their wrist with your opposite hand
• Grip their elbow with your other hand
• Keep both of your arms straight
• Use your weight to drive their arm to the ground
• Remove your grip from the elbow
• Slip your arm underneath their elbow
• Grab your own wrist
• Push their knuckles back like a paintbrush

Points to Note

• Do not grip around their wrist with your thumb
• Use your weight rather than relying on arm strength
• Keep their arm tight to their body

Video (Ryron & Rener Gracie)

^ From Side Control [Blog Label]

• Place one arm underneath your opponent’s arm
• Wedge the other arm against their head
• Switch your base, looking towards their head
• Grab their wrist with your free arm
• Switch your base again
• Push their arm to the floor
• Grip your own wrist
• Push their knuckles back like a paintbrush

Points to Note

• Keep your weight pressed down at all times
• Do not grip around their wrist with your thumb
• Use your weight rather than relying on arm strength
• Keep their arm tight to their body

Video (Variation by David Thomas)


^ From Guard [Blog Label]

• Grip a wrist with the same side hand
• Grab their elbow with your other hand
• Pull the isolated arm down and across into your chest
• Put your same side leg up on their hip
• Use that base to swivel your hips to the opposite direction
• Raise your hips
• Bring the other leg up into their armpit
• Push them off balance
• Swing the same side leg over their head
• Squeeze your knees together and press your feet down
• Raise your hips and pull back on the wrist

Points to Note

• To grip the elbow, bring your arm underneath their free arm
• Don’t forget to use your hips
• Don’t cross your feet
• Make sure their thumb is pointing up

Video (Ryron & Rener Gracie)

^ From Mount [Blog Label]

• Grab an opposite collar
• Drop your elbow and press your forearm into their throat
• This should make them reach for your arm
• Move your same side knee up to their head
• Push their arm across (you now have an arm underneath)
• Press your weight down
• Bring your opposite foot up to their armpit
• Release your grip on their collar
• With the same arm, grab your own collar or shoulder
• Post your other arm by their head
• Use that balance to bring your leg over their head
• Drop back, now grasping their arm with both of yours
• Squeeze your knees together
• Drive your heels into their ribs and curl your feet back
• Pull back on their arm and raise your hips

Points to Note

• Don’t drop back until you’ve got full control
• Stay as close as possible when dropping back
• Make sure their thumb is pointing up

Video (Rowan Cunningham)

^ From Side Control [Blog Label]

• Trap their far arm by pulling into your head
• Grab your own collar to improve grip
• Move round until their head is between your knees
• Using your grip, get them on their side
• Put a shin into their back
• Other leg should be in front of their head
• Lean back for the submission

Points to Note

• Block their hips with your free arm, preventing guard
• Maintain your grip on the arm throughout
• Keep your weight pressed down
• Could also use knee on belly, as demonstrated in the vid

Video (Variation by Some Korean Guy)

^ Standing Guard [Blog Label]

• They've stood up in your guard
• Pull their arm down and across into your chest
• Walk your guard up high on their back
• Push off their same side hip to swivel
• Raise your hips
• Pull down on their arm for the submission

Points to Note

• Make sure your guard is up high
• Keep your knees tight
• Drive your heels down
• If you need help to swivel, grab their leg

Video (Near the start of this fight)


^ Cross Choke from Guard [Blog Label]

• Knock them towards you with your knees
• Slide a hand into their opposite collar, grip
• Pull your opponent down
• Slip your other hand under the first, grip
• Twist your grips, rise up, and squeeze

Points to Note

• Grip with the thumb on top, four fingers under
• Make sure you use your legs to pull them down
• Grip as deeply as you can
• Use the boney part of your forearm to choke

Video (Don Daly)

^ Cross Choke From Mount [Blog Label]

• Feed a hand into their opposite collar
• Grip as deeply as you can
• Slip your other hand under the first
• Again, secure a deep grip
• Twist your grips
• Lean forward over your top arm
• Squeeze and lean to secure the choke

Points to Note

• They may try to upa when you attempt a grip
• Aim to get your knuckles to the floor
• Use the boney part of your forearm to choke

Video (Aaron Fruitstone)

^ Rear Naked Choke [Blog Label]

• Bring one arm around their throat
• Make sure your elbow is under their chin
• Grip your other bicep
• Bring the hand of that arm behind their head
• Press with your palm or the back of your hand
• Squeeze your arms and expand your chest

Points to Note

• Keep your own head tight to theirs
• Don't leave your second arm straight out
• If you do, they can armbar you

^ Triangle From Guard [Blog Label]

• They have one arm in, one arm out
• Raise your hips and kick a leg up by their neck
• Wrap that leg around the back of their neck
• Immediately lock your other leg over that ankle
• Pull your shin down if it isn't on their neck
• You may need to shuffle back on your shoulders
• Push their trapped arm across your body
• Move your torso to a perpendicular angle
• Lift your hips and squeeze with your legs
• Pull on their head if they aren't tapping

Points to Note

• Maintain a hold of their head, or grab your shin
• Try underhooking their free arm for control
• You can also switch to an armbar or omoplata


^ Armbar Escape [Blog Label]

• Grab the bicep of your free arm
• With your free arm, grip fabric by their knee
• Or better, grip behind their knee
• Stand up, knee by their head, foot by their tailbone
• Stack them
• Gradually jerk your trapped arm out
• Press your weight down
• Sprawl and move round
• Slide into side control

Points to Note

• Time your grab carefully
• Keep your weight pressed down to pass
• Try to trap their leg with your head and arm

Video (Dave Camarillo)

^ Half Guard Escape (1) [Blog Label]

• Grab behind their head and upper arm
• Drive your shoulder into their face
• Push on their shoulder and get the underhook
• Put the elbow of your free arm against their head
• Shift your base to get your trapped foot flat on the floor
• Wrap up their free arm and push it into their cheek
• Post on a knee
• Free your foot

Points to Note

• Your free foot should be perpendicular to their body
• Keep your weight pressed down

^ Half Guard Escape (2) [Blog Label]

• Grab behind their head and upper arm
• Drive your shoulder into their face
• Push on their shoulder and get the underhook
• Put the elbow of your free arm against their head
• Push your knee down
• Use your other leg to push against their knee
• Free your leg

Points to Note

• Keep your weight pressed down

Video (Anselmo Baldin)

^ Mount Escape (Upa) [Blog Label]

• Isolate an arm
• Trap the same side leg with your foot
• Raise your hips up
• Twist to the side
• Drive your elbow into their stomach
• At the same time, roll over on your shoulder
• Come up in their guard

Points to Note

• Pick your moment carefully to conserve energy
• A common set-up for this is when they attempt a choke

Video (Rowan Cunningham)

^ Mount Escape (Shrimp) [Blog Label]

• Straighten one leg, flat on the floor
• Use an elbow to push out their inner thigh
• Use that space to shrimp out
• Bring your knee up and past their's
• Grab an arm to prevent them readjusting
• Shrimp out in the opposite direction
• Repeat until you are in position to recover guard

Points to Note

• Keep your elbows into their thighs, or they'll get high mount
• To shrimp, push your hips back: don't just straighten your legs

Video (Rowan Cunningham)

^ Side Control Escape (Knees) [Blog Label]

• Get one arm into their neck
• The other forearm digs into their ribs
• Use that to make space and bridge them at an angle
• Shrimp out
• Bring your near arm around and grab the back of their gi
• Come to your knees
• Grab round the back of their near knee
• Drive your head into their far side
• Push with your legs and head towards the near side
• Move into side control

Points to Note

• There are two bridging options: for power, use both feet
• Or, off one foot, with the other knee ready by their side
• Can also use the space from bridging to recover guard
• Make sure you clear their leg on your way down

Video (Rowan Cunningham demonstrates the first part)

^ Side Control Escape (Shrimp) [Blog Label]

• Bridge into your opponent
• Your forearms brace against their neck and ribs
• Use the space to shrimp out to one side
• If necessary, then shrimp to the other side
• Keep shrimping until you can get a knee through
• You may need to shrimp yet again
• Recover guard

Points to Note

• Once a knee is through, use your other foot to trap their leg

Video (Anselmo Baldin demonstrates 1 and 2)

^ Triangle Escape [Blog Label]

• Grip their knee with both hands
• Drive it to the floor
• Come up on your legs, bum in the air
• Hold their knee in place
• Push forward, leading with a shoulder
• Break open their legs, slip your other arm in
• Immediately shift to grabbing both legs

Points to Note

• If they grab your hand, often going for kimura/triangle
• Once you grip round both legs, you're set for a stack pass
• Be careful of getting armbarred as you escape


^ Kimura from Guard [Blog Label]

• Raise up to one side
• Grab their wrist
• Bring the other hand under their elbow
• Grip the wrist of your first hand
• Pull them in towards you
• Shrimp out to the side
• Bring your leg over their back to push them down
• Using their elbow as a fulcrum, push for the submission

Points to Note

• Good to try after a failed sit-up sweep
• Also worth attempting any time they post an arm
• When you break their posture, drive their head to the floor
• Grip the lower part of the arm, then slip into position
• Pull their arm in tight to your shoulder
• Your hold should be thumb on top
• Note that they may try to grab onto a gi or a belt to resist

Video (Rowan Cunningham)


^ Twisting Guard Break [Blog Label]

• Grab both collars with one hand, keeping your elbow back
• Press your other hand firmly into their same side hip
• Put your collar grip side foot really tight to their hip
• Angle your knee inwards to increase the pressure
• Stand up with your other foot
• As you stand, twist, ending up in a sort of horse stance
• If that doesn't open their legs, push on their knee

Points to Note

• You can pop your hips back for some extra leverage
• If they grab your collar, step your leg to that hip and continue
• Maintain good posture: don't let them pull you forward
• Can slide the arm back to push their knee as you stand

^ Leg Pin Pass [Blog Label]

• Open their guard, keeping hold of one leg
• Drive their other leg to the floor
• Drop your shin across their thigh
• Grab behind their head
• Swing your free leg behind you
• Switch your base
• Move into side control

Points to Note

• Control the other leg to avoid half-guard
• Aim to get your shoulder right in their face
• Keep their shin secured until you switch base

Video (No-gi variation by Rowan Cunningham)

^ Stack Pass [Blog Label]

• Slide both arms underneath their legs
• Bring your hands round and gable grip
• Pull them in and onto your knees
• Stack them, pressing down hard
• Aim to get their knee right into their face
• Grab their collar on the side you want to pass
• Move round whilst maintaining pressure
• Lift their hips
• Push through into side control

Points to Note

• Keep your weight right down
• Avoid lifting your head and giving them space as you transition
• Stay on your toes as you pass, knees off the ground


^ Side Control to Mount (1) [Blog Label]

• Grip underneath their head and arm
• Dig your shoulder into their face
• Move sideways towards their head
• Having made space, drive your knee into their belly
• Push your knee across and towards the ground
• At the same time, raise up their trapped elbow
• Continue until you get to mount

Points to Note

• Keep your weight pressed down
• Aim to turn their head to the side

^ Side Control to Mount (2)

• Bring your arm from underneath their head
• Drive your elbow into the opposite side
• Switch base, so you're looking towards their knees
• Get your hips to the floor
• Make space by pushing back
• Grab their leg
• Swing round into mount

Points to Note

• Keep your weight pressed down
• Use your leg to overhook and remove any blocking arm
• If you can't directly swing your leg over, grab your foot
• As you pass, secure your foot by their thigh to stop half guard


^ Ankle Grab [Blog Label]

• Grab behind their ankles
• Open your guard and drop your hips
• Thrust your hips up and forwards
• Use their falling momentum to come up into mount

Points to Note

• For safety reasons, grab outside their feet, not inside
• Make sure to follow them as they fall back

Video (Rowan Cunningham)

^ Flower Sweep [Blog Label]

• Grab their same side arm
• Grip behind their head
• Post your same side leg on their hip
• Swivel to the other side
• Head arm grabs behind their knee
• Bring one leg up into their armpit
• Point the other leg directly away from them
• Push with the first leg and pull on their knee
• At the same time, drag their arm
• Draw the second leg back in
• Roll into mount

Points to Note

• Can pull them forward to make space for grabbing the knee
• If they free their arm, underhook and trap by their head
• If they get an arm to your neck, push on the elbow and trap
• May take a few bounces to roll them over
• A variation of this sweep applies to when they stand
• Another variation doesn't include grabbing behind the knee
• Alternately, can try it from the armbar setup

Video (Rowan Cunningham)

^ Half Guard Sweep [Blog Label]

• Make space by pushing up with your shoulder
• Get the underhook
• Shrimp to the same side
• Come up on your elbow
• Roll to the same side

Points to Note

• Be sure you have enough space before you shrimp

Video (Variation by Willyboy)

^ Half Guard Sweep (2) [Blog Label]

• Get an underhook
• Shrimp out
• Reach behind their gi
• Slip down to their leg
• Grab hold of their ankle
• Pull it to their bum
• Switch hands and grab their toes
• Bring your leg over, rise up
• Use your free hand to grip their knee
• Get your own knee free
• Roll them over

Points to Note

• Make sure they haven't got their knee past
• Get low on their body to faciliate grabbing their ankle

^ Half Guard Sweep (3) [Blog Label]

• Get an underhook
• Shrimp out
• Underhook their lower leg
• Wrap your arm round and grip your own collar
• Secure their arm into your side
• Roll them over

Points to Note

• They need to step forward first for this to work

^ Push Sweep [Blog Label]

• Grab their opposite collar
• Grip above the elbow on the same side arm
• Post a foot, rise up on your elbow
• Shrimp away from the arm you're holding
• Put your shin into their stomach
• Hook your foot round their side
• Put your other foot
• Pull them towards you, sit up
• Push on the collar, pull on their sleeve
• At the same time, push with your shin
• Also at the same time, drive their knee back and out
• Roll over into mount

Points to Note

• Make certain you've got plenty of space to shrimp
• Aim to pull them in high, getting their weight off the floor
• Push on the inside of their knee
• Keep hold as you sweep to faciliate mount

^ Scissor Sweep [Blog Label]

• Grab their opposite collar
• Grip above the elbow on the same side arm
• Post a foot, rise up on your elbow
• Shrimp away from the arm you're holding
• Put your shin into their stomach
• Hook your foot round their side
• Drop your other leg down next to them
• Pull them towards you, sit up
• Push on the collar, pull on their sleeve
• At the same time, push with your shin
• Also at the same time, chop their leg with yours
• Roll over into mount

Points to Note

• Make certain you've got plenty of space to shrimp
• Aim to pull them in high, getting their weight off the floor
• Chop right through with your leg
• Keep hold as you sweep to faciliate mount
• If you mess up, try a Push Sweep instead

Video (Rowan Cunningham)

^ Sit-Up Sweep [Blog Label]

• Open your guard
• Come up on one hand, or an elbow
• Reach over their opposite shoulder
• Grab their upper arm
• Bring it tight to your stomach
• At the same time, bring your leg right over
• Drive with your hips, swivel in place
• Roll into mount

Points to Note

• Good sweep to try if they're leaning back
• Alternately, bump them forward so they give you an arm
• Go for a kimura if you mess up

Video (Rowan Cunningham)

^ Sources: Anselmo Baldin, Rowan Cunningham, Don Daly & Aaron Fruitstone, RGA, Ryron & Rener Gracie, David Thomas

Glossary of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) Terms

[started 19/03/2007, last update 11/12/2016.
This BJJ glossary and its contents copyright ©Can Sönmez. Please do not copy online or in print without permission]


-A: ADCC, Americana, Armbar, Arm Drag
-B: Base, Belt, Breakfall, Bridge, Butterfly Guard,
-C: Clinch, Closed Guard, Collar Choke, Crank
-D: De la Riva Guard, Double-leg
-E: Ezekiel Choke
-F: Figure-Four, Flower Sweep
-G: Gable Grip, Grapevine, Gi, Guard, Guillotine
-H: Half-Guard, Hooks
-K: Kimura
-L: Lockdown
-M: Mount
-N: No-Gi
-O: Omoplata, Open Guard, Overhook
-P: Passing the Guard, Post, Posture, Push Sweep
-R: Rear Naked Choke, Reversal, Rolling, Rubber Guard
-S: Scarf Hold, Scissor Sweep, Shrimping, Side Control, Sit-Up Sweep, Sliding Choke, Sparring, Stack, Submission, Sweep
-T: Takedown, Take the Back, Tapping, Technical Mount, Triangle Choke, Turtle
-U: Underhook, Upa
-X: X-Guard

^ Introduction:Brazilian jiu jitsu terminology is an irritating problem, as due to a lack of standardisation, the same technique will often have numerous names. So, for my own reference and anyone reading this, I thought it would be worth developing some kind of BJJ glossary of terms, which I'll update as I learn more terminology. Please feel free to add a comment at the bottom of the Brazilian jiu jitsu glossary if you have any suggestions for more terminology - it would be great to have some help (especially with the judo terms), as this Brazilian Jiu Jitsu glossary is likely to be a long-running work-in-progress.

I'm mainly concerned about whether or not the BJJ terms are commonly used as opposed to if the terminology is actually accurate (e.g., the Japanese words may well be used incorrectly: for example, I've heard that 'gi' is technically not quite the right word, but nevertheless has become the accepted term), but would be useful if people know which is more 'correct' for Brazilian jiu jitsu.

For each term in the BJJ glossary, I'll put in a link to the relevant label/summary on my blog, depending on if I've been shown it in jiu jitsu class yet and have put up a description.

[BJJ Glossary from]

^ ADCC: stands for 'Abu Dhabi Combat Club'. The ADCC is a sports club founded by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and a black belt in BJJ under Renzo Gracie. However, the term 'ADCC' most commonly refers to the ADCC World Submission Fighting Championships, an event which began in 1998 and is currently held every two years. It is the most prestigious nogi tournament in grappling. The ADCC has been dominated by practitioners of BJJ, but it is open to all style of grappling: for example, the wrestler and MMA champion Mark Kerr has several ADCC gold medals.

^ Americana: also known as American armbar, bent armlock, figure-four, figure-4, hammerlock, paint brush, top wrist lock, ude garami, keylock, lateral keylock, v-lock, and chave de braço (Portuguese). A submission in which you grasp your opponent's wrist with one hand, then bring your other arm underneath theirs, grabbing your own wrist (see FIGURE-FOUR). With the opponent's elbow pointing downwards, you then use your grip to simultaneously push their wrist back and lift their elbow up.

The name 'Americana' comes from a trip Bob Anderson made to Brazil in 1978, during which he trained (initially by accident, as he was supposed to be meeting with the Brazilian Wrestling Federation, not a jiu-jitsu school) with the legendary Rolls Gracie. According to Anderson, "I didn't come down there and go 'ok, I'm going to show you the Americana armbar and I'm the guy that invented it', it just grew out of what I knew and what he [Rolls] liked...he later - I didn't even know - he called it the Americana because I was the American wrestler that came down and showed him the move and that's how the Americana armbar got started."

In The Gracie Way, Anderson told the author, Kid Peligro, that "Rolls and I would be brainstorming. He would bring one of the students and put him in a position and ask me what I would do to get him on his back or something. One time I showed him what I would do to get an arm bar when the student was all rolled up in a ball. I did what we call a ‘turkey bar’ and he liked it. We developed some new options." (p69)

^ Armbar: also known as armlock, juji gatame, armeloque (Portuguese) . A lock in which the elbow joint is hyperextended. This versatile submission has numerous variations and can be attempted from a broad range of positions, but is most commonly used from the mount and the guard.

^Arm Drag: A movement mainly used from guard but also possible standing up, where you grab their opposite wrist and pull it across your body. That is then enhanced by using your same side hand to grab behind their elbow, which becomes available due to the earlier pulling of their wrist. If this grip and the 'dragging' motion proves successful, it should expose their back. A similar motion can be achieved from a collar grip (a 'collar drag').

^ Base: generally refers to balance (e.g., someone who is difficult to sweep may be described as having a "good base"), in particular the position the person on top takes when in someone else's guard: keep your weight low, back straight, head up, knees wide.

^ Belt: In BJJ, there are five belts (faixa) - white (branca), blue (azul), purple (roxa), brown (marrom) and black (preta).

On average, to go from white to black will take 10 years, but this varies: there are also famous exceptions, like BJ Penn. The way to get promoted at most schools is through the instructor observing your performance in class and in competitions, giving you your next belt when they feel you've proved your ability on the mat. Some instructors, like Roy Harris, have a more formalised system involving tests, but this is comparatively rare. Stripes on a belt are also common, which can sometimes merely be a measure of how long you've been training, while at other clubs they are added in the same meritocratic fashion mentioned above.

In addition to the five belts, there are a further two honorary belts: red-and-black (also known as a 'coral' belt) and red. The IBJJF, one of the larger BJJ companies providing tournaments, has also brought in a judo-style red-and-white belt, given before the coral belt. The criteria for all the honorary belts is normally time served, but there is no universally accepted standard.

^ Breakfall: a method by which you can reduce the impact of being thrown or falling. The general principle is to disperse the force by slapping the ground with your hands (specifically the palm heel) and feet. Differs slightly depending on direction - for example, with a backwards breakfall, both hands slap the ground, whereas with a side breakfall, you only use one hand.

^ Bridge: see UPA

^ Butterfly Guard: a type of OPEN GUARD, in which your upper body is raised with your feet inside their legs (see pictures by Stephan Kesting).

^ Clinch: A position in which one person has gripped the other whilst standing, such as UNDERHOOKING their arms. In BJJ, this will generally be the precursor to a TAKEDOWN. Also seen in many other martial arts, especially muay thai, which uses the same position as an opportunity to throw knees into the opponent's legs and body.

^ Closed Guard: a position in which one person is on their back and has their legs wrapped round the other, feet hooked together using the ankles and instep. See GUARD (also, pictures by Stephan Kesting).

^ Collar Choke: Might see this referred to as x-choke, lapel choke, cross choke, jujime. A choke accomplished by gripping the collars of your opponent with opposite hands, which provides additional leverage – the actual choke comes from your wrists pressing against their neck.

^ Crank: A term used to describe submissions that operate by twisting parts of the body into abnormal positions in order to cause pain. Cranks tend to be crude and rely on brute force, in comparison to submissions like chokes and armbars. Due to the increased risk of serious injury, particularly to the neck and spine, cranks are often either frowned upon or outright banned. A typical example is the 'can opener', performed by grabbing behind the head and pulling it towards you while in somebody's guard. Note that there can be a grey area, especially between certain chokes and neck cranks, such as the guillotine choke. Crank may also be used to describe the process of locking on a submission: e.g., "she cranked that armbar".

^ De la Riva Guard: this is a type of OPEN GUARD in which your leg goes around the outside of their same side leg, hooking on the top of their other leg with your instep (see Stephan Kesting). It is named after Ricardo de la Riva (I've seen that as De La Riva, de la Riva and De la Riva, but when I asked the man himself, he said 'de la Riva' was correct), a Carlson Gracie black belt who is best known for the position.

^ Double-leg: also known as morote gari (judo) and baiana (Portuguese). A takedown executed by attacking both legs, generally gripping the back of the knees to facilitate bringing your opponent to the floor.

^ Ezekiel Choke: Might see this referred to as forearm choke, sleeve choke or Ezequiel choke. A choke performed using the inside of the sleeves for grip, with a forearm on either side of the neck. From what I've gleaned from the net, this technique was named after a Brazilian judoka known as 'Ezequiel' (full name Ezequiel Paraguassu, I think), who apparently had great success with it against BJJers.

^ Figure-Four: also written as figure-4. When used on an arm, also known as a double wrist lock. A hold in which the positioning of the limbs resembles the number '4'. For example, used in the AMERICANA and the KIMURA.

^ Flower Sweep: also known as pendulum sweep and see-saw sweep. Performed mainly with the legs. Note that there can also be a slight difference between terms: some people use 'pendulum' to describe the sweep where they raise their knee first, whereas the flower is initiated by grabbing their lower pant leg.

^ Gable Grip: a grip in which your palms are together, fingers wrapped round the edge, not using the thumbs. As far as I'm aware, its named after legendary wrestler Dan Gable, but I don't have any further information on that - feel free to put up a comment if you know anything about the origins.

^ Grapevine: a type of control that most commonly applies to MOUNT. You have your legs threaded through your opponent's, hooking around with your feet to stop them escaping. This makes for a stable defensive position, though attacks are mostly limited to the EZEQUIEL.

^ Gi: also known as kimono (Brazil) and quimono (Portuguese). This is the uniform practitioners of Brazilian jiu jitsu wear, made of heavy woven cotton. It is similar to the uniform worn in judo, though there are some slight differences in a specifically BJJ gi: e.g., the 'skirt' of the jacket tends to be shorter than a judo gi. Note that in Brazil, a gi is frequently referred to as a 'kimono', a confusing practice which has filtered down to some non-Brazilian schools as well.

^ Guard: also known as do-osae. A position where one person in underneath another, but maintains a neutral position through the use of their legs (as opposed to MOUNT or SIDE CONTROL, where the person on top is dominant). The basic position is CLOSED GUARD, but can also be OPEN, each of which have numerous variations.

^ Guillotine: may see this referred to as guilhotina (Portuguese), mae hadakajime and front headlock. Applied by wrapping one arm under the neck, gripping your own bicep of the other hand, securing that behind the head, then squeezing for the submission.

^ Half-Guard: also known as meia guarda (Portuguese) and ashigarami. Similar to GUARD, except that in this case, only one leg has been trapped as opposed to the waist or both legs (see Stephan Kesting). There are several variations, such as deep half guard, where you spin right underneath their leg.

^ Hooks: also known as gancho (Portuguese). Normally refers to getting your feet wrapped under a limb, especially under the leg. For example, for butterfly guard, you need to 'hook' your feet to secure the position. This is also important when TAKING THE BACK, to stop your opponent REVERSING you.

^ IBJJF: stands for 'International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation'. The IBJJF is a for-profit company that provides some of the largest BJJ tournaments in the sport. It is sometimes erroneously thought to be the governing body of BJJ, but the IBJJF's rules are not binding and many teams ignore them, particularly when it comes to rank. It also lacks most of the features expected of a true governing body, most notably that it is run by unelected businessmen for the purposes of making money rather than than improving BJJ.

The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation was originally founded by Carlson Gracie Jr in 1997. Confusingly the right to use the same term was then bought by Carlos Gracie Jr in 2002, who adopted it as the English name for the CBJJ (Confederação Brasileira de Jiu-Jitsu). The CBJJ was originally a separate entity, formed in 1994 from a combination of the Rio Federation and several other state federations. Two years later, it began an annual tournament now known simply as the Mundials, which has since become the most prestigious gi tournament in BJJ.

There has been plenty of criticism of the IBJJF. The cost to compete in its competitions is extremely high, especially when compared to similar companies offering tournaments. The fact that Carlos Gracie Jr is both head of the IBJJF and the head of Gracie Barra, the largest team in BJJ, is also a considerable conflict of interest. Most controversial of all is the IBJJF's attempts to regulate rank despite not being a governing body, insisting on hefty fees to officially register a belt with them.

However, the IBJJF has undeniably popularised the sport of BJJ, helping to greatly raise its profile through an extensive calendar of events around the world. Along with his cousin Rorion, Carlos Gracie Jr can legitimately claim to have had an integral role in expanding BJJ into the global martial art it has become.

^ Kimura: might see this referred to as bent armlock, chicken wing, reverse figure-four, hammer lock, ude garami, entangled armlock or keylock. Reverse of the AMERICANA, named after Masahiko Kimura who famously used it to defeat Helio Gracie.

^ Lockdown: entangling a leg from the HALF GUARD, by bringing one leg over theirs, hooking under your other knee, then with your other foot, hooking under their trapped leg and straightening it out. This is often used as a stalling position: while beginners may find it a cause of frustration, it is relatively easy to escape. Simply follow Kev's advice.

^ Mount: also known as tate shiho gatame. Position where one person is sat on top of the other, legs straddling the torso. There are several variations, such as a high mount, where your knees move up into their armpit, a low mount, where you GRAPEVINE your legs, and TECHNICAL MOUNT, ideal for when they are attempting to roll free.

^ No-Gi: also known as nogi, no gi and gi less. Training without the gi jacket, normally in some combination of rash guard or t-shirt and shorts or gi pants. In no-gi training, you cannot use many of the grips available when rolling with the gi. This means that UNDERHOOKS and OVERHOOKS become much more important. Manipulating your opponent's clothing is generally not permitted, ruling out COLLAR CHOKES.

^ Omoplata: might see this referred to as sankaku garami or shoulder lock. A submission which uses the legs against an arm in order to attack the shoulder. Hence the name: omoplata means 'shoulder blade' in Portuguese.

^ Open Guard: also known as choza, I think. This is a GUARD position in which the legs are not wrapped around the waist with the ankles crossed (as in CLOSED GUARD), but instead may be between your opponents legs, on their biceps, across their stomach etc. Hence 'open' rather than 'closed', because the legs are not locked together, remaining mobile (see Stephan Kesting).

^ Overhook: also known as a whizzer (from wrestling). A position in which you have managed to get a limb secured over the top of your opponent's arm or leg - i.e., 'hooked'.

^ Passing the Guard: also known as passando a guarda (Portuguese) and hairigata. The process by which the person 'in the guard' (between the other person's legs) gets their legs past, commonly moving into SIDE CONTROL or MOUNT.

^ Post: used as a verb, posting. A term which refers to placing a part of your body on your opponent or the mat in order to gain stability and prevent or set up movement. For example, if someone is attempt to use the UPA to escape your MOUNT, you can 'post' your arms to the relevant side in order to prevent being swept.

^ Posture: also known as postura (Portuguese). Good posture means that your back and neck are straight, your head in line with your spine.

^ Push Sweep: Also known as the 'stupid simple sweep'. Similar principle to a SCISSOR SWEEP, except that you push on the top of the knee rather than chopping with your leg and don't necessarily have a shin against the stomach. Aesopian notes it can work off a failed scissor sweep as well.

^ Rear Naked Choke
: also known as hadaka jime, sleeper hold, mata leo or mata leão ('to kill the lion' in Portuguese), often abbreviated to RNC. Same principle as the GUILLOTINE, but from behind the opponent as opposed to a front headlock position.

^ Reversal: also known as inversão (Portuguese), and can be a verb - reverse. A term used to describe a movement or technique that manages to change the combatants position. For example, if you managed to SWEEP an opponent who previously had MOUNT, meaning that you ended up in their GUARD, this could be described as a reversal.

^ Rolling: a term often used in BJJ and other grappling styles, which has the same meaning as 'sparring' or randori - in Portuguese, the noun is either dar um rola or escrima. Generally when rolling, one person attempts to submit the other, who fully resists them. This is sometimes referred to as 'free sparring', due the lack of restriction regarding the positions and level of resistance.

Alternately, the instructor may use 'specific sparring' in order to familiarise students with certain positions. For example, that could be specific sparring from guard with the end goal of passing or sweeping, or even more specific situational sparring, such as standing up in guard while your partner tries to break your posture.

^ Rubber Guard: a complex position popularised by Eddie Bravo, which requires a high degree of flexibility. It has been well marketed, which has had the unfortunate side effect of beginners foolishly treating it as a magic bullet, rather than focusing on the fundamentals they need to develop first. There are numerous variations, detailed in Bravo's book, Mastering the Rubber Guard (see Stephan Kesting for pictures of the position).

^ Scarf Hold: also known as kesa gatame (judo), head and arm (wrestling). This is a controlling position in which you are facing towards your opponent's head, with one arm threaded under their armpit and around their neck, while your other hand is pulling their remaining arm tight into your stomach.

^ Scissor Sweep: also known as hasamigaeshi. A sweep partly accomplished by applying force with a leg on either side of your opponent, hence the 'scissor' description.

^ Shrimping: also known as snaking, snake move, hip escape, hipscape and ebi. Used to describe a motion in which you use your legs to shift your hips to one side or the other, pushing out your posterior. This is an integral part of BJJ, especially escapes.

^ Side Control: also known as sidemount, cross-side, across side, thousand kilos, one hundred kilos, 100 kilos, cem kilos (Portuguese), mune-gatame and possibly yoko shiho gatame. A position in which you are on top and perpendicular to your opponent.

^ Sit-Up Sweep: also known as chest to chest, hip bump and hip heist. A sweep from the guard where you open your legs, sit up (pushing off an arm), isolate an arm by the elbow, raise your hips, then swivel in place to end up in mount.

^ Sliding Choke: A choke in which one forearm is pressed against the neck gripping a collar, while the other pulls down on the remaining lapel, the additional leverage of which results in the choke.

^ Sparring: See ROLLING

^ Stack: can be a verb - stacking. A position in which you compress your opponent by squeezing their legs towards their head or chest. Ideally, their knees will be pressing against their head. This is often used when passing the guard, or when escaping submissions such as ARMBARs.

^ Submission: sometimes abbreviated to sub. The term used to refer to any kind of finishing hold which results in one person TAPPING.

^ Sweep: also known as raspagem (Portuguese). Numerous techniques in BJJ which enable the person on the bottom to REVERSE their opponent and end up on top - e.g., SCISSOR SWEEP.

^ Takedown: also known as queda (Portuguese). As the name would suggest, this term is used to refer to any technique which takes the opponent down to the ground. For example, a throw or a trip.

^ Take the Back: also known as taking the back and pega as costas (Portuguese). When somebody manage to secure a position on the back of their opponent, aiming to get their legs wrapped around the hips, with feet acting as HOOKS - can be referred to as back mount and rear mount.

^ Tapping: when someone indicates they wish to concede by slapping the ground with their hand, normally due to the pain caused by a particular SUBMISSION, or occasionally simply out of exhaustion. Sometimes they will tap on their opponent’s body instead, or even with their feet if both arms are trapped – this is uncommon, however, and potentially dangerous if the opponent can’t hear you (their head may well be nowhere near your feet). An agonised yell tends to work too. ;)

^ Technical Mount: also known as seated mount and sitting mount. This is generally a transition from MOUNT, when your partner attempts to turn onto their side. Your knee shifts up towards their head, while your other leg steps across, the foot staying tight to their hip. It is common to attack with chokes and armbars from here.

^ Triangle Choke: also known as triângulo (Portuguese) or sankaku jime (or possibly sangaku jime). A choke performed mainly with the legs, in which your opponent has one arm inside, helping you to block off the flow of blood to their brain. The name comes from the position of the legs, with one across the back of the person's head, the other securing the hold by locking a shin underneath a knee.

^ Turtle: can be a verb - turtling. A position in which you are on all fours, with your posterior pressed to your ankles, limbs tightly tucked into your body.

^ Underhook: opposite of the OVERHOOK. A position in which you have managed to secure a limb underneath one of your opponent's, such as under their arms when in the CLINCH.

no gi essentials roy dean^ Upa: might also hear this referred to as bucking, bridging, bumping, barrigada (Portuguese) etc. Raising the hips when on your back, normally in an attempt to make space from under mount, but can also be used as part of other escapes.

^ X-Guard: a position in which you have your same side hand gripping over the top of their knee, while one of your legs hooks behind their other knee, while your other foot is up by their hip (see Stephan Kesting, who categorises it as a type of HALF GUARD). There is also a book about the position, The X-Guard, by Marcelo Garcia.

^ Sources: ,, E-Budo, Fightworks Podcast, Global Training Report, JudoInfo, Matt Kirtley, Mastering Jujitsu, MMA History Project, Oliver Geddes, Paul Smith, Quirk, Stephan Kesting, Valerie Worthington, Wikipedia

Pictures: Blue Belt Requirements, Cindy Omatsu BJJ, Jiu Jitsu Revolution, Purple Belt Requirements, No Gi Essentials