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Beginning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: The Basics

From Brazilian Jiu Jitsu basic techniques to basic Jiu Jitsu submissions, I could go on and on about the basics of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. When you’re first starting out, there’s so many different concepts and aspects to learn that you may or may not learn at your general BJJ gym. There are also so many things that you won’t learn or know from your fellow fighters or your instructor. I hope that this Brazilian Jiu Jitsu guide will help give you an introduction to the things you should know and aspects to look out for when first beginning this martial art.
Besides learning about Gis, covering all the details from what it is to how to buy one and what sizes work best, I have a guide that covers it all. So in this guide, I’m simply going to focus on the basics when it comes to positions and the “nitty gritty” aspects, like training and surviving the first few weeks or months as a beginner.
One of the first things to learn is not only how to be a good fighter is how to be a good teammate. During your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, you’ll have to spar with a partner at one point. Therefore, there should be a few things you should know that you probably won’t find in a Jiu Jitsu techniques pdf.
When looking into the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu basics mastering the essential techniques, being an adequate partner and being able to come with all the aspects that you need to be effective is almost as important as learning how to fight BJJ itself.

How to Be a Good Training Partner

How to Be a Good Training Partner
Since you want a useful sparring partner, you should also be pretty useful, yourself. The Golden Rule here works wonders.

Don’t Kill the Guy

Although you might be thinking go hard or go home, keeping it light while sparring is one thing to help your partner learn. Although you might think it’s important to teach them through pain enforcement, they might not have the same line of thinking. Go light at first and establish an adequate relationship before you give your sparring partner some tough love.

Don’t Think You Know Everything or Act Like It

When you’re sparring with someone else it’s important to stay humble. This doesn’t mean losing a fight on purpose. It means knowing when you make mistakes and not assuming that you know everything.

Especially when you’re working directly with someone, you shouldn’t assume you know more than them. If you stay humble and listen to your sparring partner or trainer, you’ll learn a lot. They are the ones often working directly with you and experiencing your fighting hands on, so therefore, can tell you best what they think about your fighting or your mistakes. Just because they might be lower than you level-wise, it doesn’t mean they can’t give you pointers. That goes the other way around, too. Just because you’re higher up than them, doesn’t mean you should always give them pointers. Find the healthy balance.

Keep Sight of Your Goal

With all the new techniques you’re learning and getting caught up on every detail, you might be tempted to lose sight of what your goals or your targets are. Keep the big picture in mind when thinking about your BJJ training. It’s easy to get caught up on the minor details but don’t let it overwhelm you.

Don’t Assume Your Partner is Going in for the Kill

They might not know any better or they might think that you want them to go harder than normal, either way, don’t just assume that your opponent is trying to hurt you. Go into sparring with a good attitude and have the positive benefits roll in two-fold.

Wash Your Gi!

You definitely don’t want to be that person at your gym. This tip might seems to be elementary but you have to make sure to wash your Gi between trainings or at the very least when it starts to get stinky. Let’s face it, BJJ is a physical sport, you will sweat and your clothes will eventually stink. Practice good hygiene. If that means having to buy an extra Gi or two if you are training more often than you do laundry, than so be it or at least wash it by hand.

Don’t Assume Your Partner is Going in for the Kill

Although you should want to play your part in being a positive influence and pose a challenge to your sparring partner, you also shouldn’t be trying to kill him or her. However, just because they go in a little harder than your other partners, it doesn’t mean they’re going in for the kill.

Now that I’ve led you through a few tips to take into account, there are a few things that you should be looking out for and forward to when starting BJJ training.

15 BJJ Beginner Techniques

Most of these positions will be fought from the ground
From basic jiu jitsu positions to Gracie Jiu Jitsu basics, these techniques should help you scope out some of the most important moves that you need to learn to get the foundation of BJJ before moving on to more difficult skills.
For beginners, a few things that are good to know is that positions are generally part of the BJJ white belt curriculum, meaning they are necessary to know to move on and earn your belt—so listen up! They are also the building blocks part of the foundation for your BJJ advanced techniques.
A few things to know:
Most of these positions will be fought from the ground.
They all are important—and will be turned into more advanced and complicated techniques later on.
They will be the techniques used by your opponents so now you know what to expect. They are also used universally, no matter if you are doing a No-Gi or Gi BJJ.
Hone in on the exact skills and techniques for the moves because you’ll be using them for a long time.
They are pretty simple to complete, so don’t think that you have to go all out to take down your opponent. Sometimes, the most simple is better.

1: Guard Replacement with Hip Escape

From the beginning of your first BJJ training to your black belt days, you’ll be using this escape most commonly. Moving your hips on the bottom is key and using this side control escape will set the pace and teach you how to move your hips

The two movements: Bridging and Hip escape are extremely important to learning the other escapes.

When your opponent passes your guard, you should replace it. To learn this technique, you’ll also learn a lot about guard retention, which can transition to any one of these other guards.

What to Watch For: Be sure to create frames with your arms instead of simply trying to push him or her off of you like a bench press.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

2: Scissor Sweep

Also another essential, basic technique, the scissor sweep will help set you with a foundation that will transition to other guard sweeps. Some important elements that go hand in hand with sweeps are learning how to: breaking balance, establishing an angle, controlling your hips, and control grips. This is a perfect technique to combine.

What to Watch For: Before you try and actually execute the scissor sweep, you have to take your opponent off balance with a sharp pull.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

3: Triangle Choke from Guard

As an essential submission technique learned first to create a foundation for those beginning BJJ, it adheres to any level of BJJ and from no-Gi to Gi BJJ.

With this technique, you’ll learn how to engage and use the strength in your legs to your advantage by choking your opponent during sparring. Designed especially if you are a smaller opponent and you cannot get the top position.

What to Watch For: If your opponent has a strong posture, it’ll be hard for you to take your opponent down. If you notice that your opponent isn’t disciplined in posture, then it will make it easier for you to take him or her down.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

4: Cross Collar Choke from Guard

Using the cross collar choke and grip is a technique that has you get into the attack, directly from the guard.

When combined with a sleeve grip, the collar choke will complete your closed guard. This move will help you get more control of your opponent, by gripping them in a way that you have control of their head and you can break their posture down, which is the number one strong defense against the collar choke.

What to Watch For: Make sure that you have enough leverage with the first hand, diving it deep inside the collar. To put it in easier-to-visualize terms, “grab the tag” of your opponents Gi or shirt.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

5: Bridge and Roll Escape “Upa”

Just like it helps strengthen your hips for the upcoming techniques, powerful hip bridges are essential to learn for all the advanced techniques and escapes.

In BJJ, you need to focus on using your hips and the power and explosiveness behind them to escape all kinds of mounts. The lower body is a great source for your strength and should be used when you can. When you’re executing a bridge and roll escape, you’re engaging the large muscle groups in your legs—your hamstrings and your thighs, as well as your lower back.

The key here is to not resort to your arms when trying to get your opponent off of you. This will give an opportunity for your opponent to get an armbar off of you.

What to Watch For: Don’t trap your opponent’s arm while you’re bridging because this will allow them to maintain the superior position.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

6: Elbow to Knee Escape

Combining this technique with number five will help you escape all those bottom positions that you most likely will find yourself in, especially being a beginner in BJJ.

This escape will also teach you how to frame with your arms—but not resort to them when trying to get out of the bottom position. In this move, you’ll learn how to create space and move your hips to be able to get out of that bottom position. For the first two years of your BJJ training, you’ll probably resort to the elbow to knee escape a majority of the time.

The great thing about it is that you’ll use this escape from when you’re learning the basics to seeing it being used in the UFC.

What to Watch Out For: The important technique here is to move your hips enough. If you’re not doing so and creating that room, you won’t be able to wedge your knee into the small gap.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

7: Straight Armlock from Mount

Specifically from the dominant mount position, this technique is one of the most effective submission moves to know to be as successful as possible on the ground.

In the straight armlock, you can isolate your opponent’s limb and then push your entire weight and force of your body by pressing it against their elbow. It will make them feel so much pain and uncomfortable that they will submit.

Whether you are fighting Gi or No-Gi, this technique is deadly when done right and hard to get out of—almost impossible.

What to Watch Out For: It is crucial that you wrap your leg over your opponent’s head before you grab their arm. If you don’t do that, your opponent will be able to get out of it by sitting up.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

8: Americana Lock from Side Control “Ude Garami”

Using your weight to control your opponent is key when you’re attempting the Americana Lock. It is one of the most effective locks in BJJ, resulting in submission most of the time.

With this technique, you’re using two limbs against the single limb of your opponent. Using the leverage of your shoulder, you can get a tap out from your opponent just with this move when done correctly.

What to Watch Out For: When performing the Americana lock, you can’t allow your opponent’s elbow to drift away from their body—push it back as close to their body as possible so they don’t have the leverage to get out of it.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

9: Rear Naked Choke

One of the most popular submissions in BJJ, the rear naked choke is one of the best techniques used to submit your opponent.

This technique is also called “Mata Leon” or “Lion Killer” and is used to defeat an opponent that is larger than you—hence the name

What to Watch Out For: When you’re performing the rear naked choke, or RNC, you should try your best to not go over your opponent’s chin and choke around it. Do this by sliding your arm under the chin and reaching deep down into the neck. This will make the RNC the most effective.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

10: Over-Under Guard Pass

In BJJ, you have to learn how to properly use your weight to your advantage. Even if you are smaller than your opponent, you can still use your weight against them. This technique has you distributing your bodyweight properly to be able to give enough pressure on your opponent while under the guard pass.

This technique also doesn’t require speed—just proper form. You have to keep a low posture so your opponent doesn’t have the opportunity to retaliate with armlocks, sweeps or chokes. You can use this technique when your opponent has you caught in his or her closed guard.

What to Watch Out For: It’s not about favoring your dominant side here, regardless of which side it is, you should be reacting to your opponent’s decision. As soon as he or she commits their defense to one side, you can then take action—changing directions and passing to the other side.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

11: Bullfighter Guard Pass “Toreando”

Focusing on speed and setting yourself up for more advanced techniques, the bullfighter guard pass helps you right off the bat—one of the moves you should be learning for your BJJ white belt.

In this guard pass, you will be using grips to control your opponent’s legs and ankles, which is useful when taking your opponent down.

While you’re performing this technique, move side-to-side so you’re keeping out of reach of your opponent’s defensive movements.

What to Watch Out For: It’s easy to favor a side on all these moves. With this technique, it’s not much different. Most students tend to pass on their left side and only on their left side. This will lead to anticipation and make your moves predictable, allowing your opponent to have the upper hand.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

12: Hip Bump Sweep

One of the most basic but effective techniques, the hip bump sweep is effective because it is also a great addition to any combination that includes the Guillotine and Kimura.

It is best used when your opponent’s posture in closed guard is too strong and you just can’t seem to break it. While performing this sweep, focus on using your hips rather than using the strength in your arms. Remember, your lower body has a lot more strength and larger muscle groups than your upper body, so try not to resort to your arms in these situations.

What to Watch Out For: If you don’t get control of your opponent’s arm in the beginning, they can work their way out of a sweep.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

13: Double Leg Takedown

One of the most successful takedowns in BJJ, this technique is not only fun to watch but fun and efficient to use.

To commit to the double leg takedown, you have to start changing levels to maneuver yourself below your opponent’s punches and be able to reach below his or her defensive hand positioning to use it effectively.

First, close the distance between you and your opponent by taking as many step forwards as you can without getting into striking distance. The key here is to get to your opponent as quickly as possible. Then, lift, drive or turn the corner to execute the double leg takedown since your opponent will be thrown off balance.

What to Watch Out For: Make sure to keep a strong neck and stay upright in your posture when entering into the takedown. If you don’t have a good posture, it will give your opponent a better opportunity to sprawl or choke you in defense.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

14: Guillotine Choke

One of the most effective chokes, the guillotine choke is as equivalent as the knockout punch”. If you can get to your opponent’s head and get a guillotine choke in, you can quickly get the W.

This technique is also used not only in BJJ but also regular Jiu-Jitsu and all kinds of BJJ, from Gi to No-Gi BJJ.

Although there are various ways to end up at the guillotine choke, it is equally effective, no matter how you begin. You can get to the choke from:

-A standing position when shooting a double leg.

-The guard when combined with the hip, bump, sweep.

-The mount of the opponent when an opponent escapes the side control.

What to Watch Out For: One of the hardest part of this technique is applying the pressure correctly to the opponent’s neck. To do so properly, you have to have the most control of your opponent’s body using your legs. One of the most common mistakes here is when you are just trying to squeeze by using your arms. This will give your opponent the opportunity to jump cross side.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

15: Straight Armbar from Guard

Saving the best for last, the straight armbar from guard can be considered the most effective technique in BJJ. In this technique, you can submit your opponent even from the bottom position.

Even though it is considered as a beginner and simple technique, it is one of the most effectively used technique found worldwide, from the most beginning levels to UFC. Even though it is a simple armbar, you can have your opponent tap out just by using this technique.

To be able to be dangerous and successful even from being on your back, you should be able to throw a successful armbar. Regardless if you are fighting in Gi or no-Gi BJJ, the straight armbar from guard is extremely successful. However, doing no Gi BJJ will eliminate the possibility of collar defensive moves and retalitation.

What to Watch Out For: In this technique, students are commonly known to, when trapped in the bottom position, keep his or her hips still rather than moving them. When you move them, you create a perpendicular angle that will armlock the opponent. This is done most effectively when the bodies are

aligned straight on. Moving your hips is essential when you’re on the bottom. The great thing about it is that when you’re in this position, the armlock won’t have much leverage. Your guard during this technique can also easily be passed.

Here is an example of how its done: View Video

BJJ by teaching you the basics
I hope that this guide has helped you get started in BJJ by teaching you the basics and going through some important beginner information that every student should know before first getting into it. Through learning the strategies that will make the transition as a beginner student much easier to know the basic moves and techniques that every BJJ student should know.
Through the tutorial videos and accompanying details, you can get through the beginning moves regardless if you are training at home or are training at a BJJ gym with a trainer or sparring partner.


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