Brazilian JIu JItsu Techniques

The Brazilian Jujitsu techniques and moves contained in this sections are what have become known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques. A variation on ju jitsu modified by Helio Gracie in Brazil.

Over 95% of street fights finish on the ground, hence ground-fighting skills are extremely important for self-defense. Taking an attacker to the ground eliminates around 80% of their arsenal, leaving you in a perfect position to finish the fight. Of course if there is more than one attacker, taking the fight to the ground is one of the worst moves imaginable for obvious reasons.

Royce Gracie showed the world the relative effectiveness of ground-fighting in the first 5 Ultimate Fighting Championships held in the United States. This tournament accepts any martial artists from any style to battle it out in the ring to prove their skills against other fighting styles.

This section will show you several Brazilian Jujitsu techniques and positions you may find yourself in whilst ground-grapping, including finishing techniques, counters, escapes and take-downs.


When first starting BJJ, you could find yourself pulling guard a lot during rolling. It is completely understandable. Pulling guard takes less energy and puts yourself in an advantageous position with less chance of a counter. But…it is of the utmost importance to get good at handful of jiu jitsu takedowns so you can work more portions of your game and make yourself a more complete grappler. Here are five essential takedowns for anyone to learn and use, regardless of gi or no gi. Also check out our article “The Double Leg” and the “Single Leg” to learn more on those famous takedowns!

Single Leg Takedown

The single leg takedown (often shortened to single leg or single or single leg shot) involves grabbing one of the legs of the opponent, usually with both hands, and using the position to force the opponent to the ground. Typically, the lower part of the leg is pulled in one direction, while the torso or shoulder is used to press the body or upper part of the leg of the opponent in the other direction.

Double Leg Takedown

In amateur mat wrestling, the double-leg takedown is typically the first takedown taught to wrestlers. Executed properly, it can be an effective way of getting your opponent onto the mat. In mixed martial arts, it’s a more complicated maneuver, somewhat less reliable because of the complexities of strikes and guards available, though it’s still a commonly used takedown, especially from mat specialists.

Tai Otoshi

Tai Otoshi, is one of the original 40 throws of Judo as developed by Jigoro Kano. It belongs to the second group, Dai Nikyo, of the traditional throwing list, Gokyo, of Kodokan Judo. It is also part of the current 67 Throws of Kodokan Judo. It is classified as a hand technique, Te-waza.

Ankle Pick Takedown

The key to a successful ankle pick is the setup. To begin with, you need to choose which of your opponent’s ankles you are going to pick. Typically, it’s advised to go for the ankle of your opponent’s lead leg. This, in turn, determines which leg you’ll be focusing on. If you are picking his right ankle, your focus will be on his right leg. With this in mind, you can look to get into a position for the ankle pick.

Guard Position

The guard is a ground grappling position in which one combatant has their back to the ground while attempting to control the other combatant using their legs. In pure grappling combat sports, the guard is considered an advantageous position, because the bottom combatant can attack with various joint locks and chokeholds, while the top combatant’s priority is the transition into a more dominant position, a process known as passing the guard. In the sport of mixed martial arts, as well as hand-to-hand combat in general, it is possible to effectively strike from the top in the guard, even though the bottom combatant exerts some control. There are various types of guard, with their own advantages and disadvantages.

The guard is a key part of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu where it can be used as an offensive position. It is also used, but not formally named, in Judo[1] though it is sometimes referred to as dō-osae in Japanese, meaning “trunk hold”.[2][note 1] It is called the “front body scissor” in catch wrestling.

Closed Guard

The closed guard, in Portuguese: guarda fechada, is regarded today as one of the foundations of guard work in jiu-jitsu, often classified as the first line of defense of all the guard games in the sport. A guard is considered closed once both legs of the guard player are wrapped around his opponent’s waist and the feet are crossed (locked), holding the adversary’s hips close to those of the bottom player.

Half Guard

Half guard is a ground grappling position where one combatant is lying on the other, with the bottom combatant having one leg entangled. Sometimes the bottom combatant is said to be in half guard, while the top combatant is in a half mount. In wrestling and catch wrestling half mount is called Turk ride.

Butterfly Guard

The butterfly guard or hooks guard, in Portuguese: guarda de gancho(s) or guarda borboleta; is one of the oldest and most traditional forms of guard playing in jiu jitsu and is often labelled as a classic guard.

Rubber Guard

The rubber guard is a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu technique, which involves the practitioner ‘breaking down’ the opponent into the rubber guard, while maintaining a high level of control. It utilizes extensive flexibility to control the opponent with one arm and one leg.

Guard Submissions

The closed guard is likely the first guard you will learn when you start your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey. It’s a guard that gives you and your opponent equal weight in terms of position.

Mastering the closed guard submissions becomes essential for any Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. You have to learn your sweeps, defenses, and submissions from this guard, and when all else fails, you have to be able to escape to a safer position.

Triangle Choke

The triangle choke occurs when the attacker wraps his legs around the opponent’s neck (commonly) leaving one of the target’s arms inside this “leg wrap” and another arm out. The pressure of the thigh across the neck will cause the blood flow to be disrupted leading the target to either submit (give-up) or pass out.

Guillotine Choke

The guillotine choke, also known as Mae Hadaka Jime in judo, is a chokehold in martial arts and wrestling applied from in front of the opponent. The choke involves using the arms to encircle the opponent’s neck in a fashion similar to a guillotine.

Heel Hook

A heel hook is a leg lock affecting multiple joints, and is applied by transversely twisting the foot either medially or laterally. The torsional force puts severe torque on the ankle, which in turn transfers torque to the knee.

Mount Position & Submission

The mount, or mounted position, is a dominant ground grappling position, where one combatant sits on the other combatants torso with the face pointing towards the opponent’s head. This is a favorable position for the top combatant in several ways.


The Americana, or “Americana Lock,” is a submission tactic used in Brazilian jiu-jitsu whereby the practitioner of the move takes control of his/her opponent’s arm and putting it in an “L” shape, making the elbow and shoulder joints vulnerable


The armbar, also called cross armlock (judo), chave de braço in Portuguese, or ude hishigi juji gatame in Japanese; is a common grappling submission hold used to force the opponent to quit (tapout) thus ending a match in either jiu jitsu, judo or mixed martial arts (MMA).

Arm Triangle

Arm triangle choke, side choke, or head and arm choke are generic terms describing blood chokeholds in which the opponent is strangled in between their own shoulder and the practitioner’s arm


The Ezekiel Choke ,or Estrangulamento de Ezequiel (in Portuguese) or even Sode Guruma Jime (in Japanese) is a common submission utilized by grapplers in which the attacker uses his own gi/kimono sleeve as leverage to choke his opponent.

Side Control Position & Submission

In grappling, side control is a dominant ground grappling position where the top combatant is lying perpendicularly over the face-up bottom combatant in such a way that the legs are free and he or she exerts no control over the combatant on the bottom.

Kimura / Double Wristlock

Double wristlock / chicken wing (catch wrestling), kimura (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), or reverse keylock are terms used to specify a medial keylock known in judo as gyaku ude-garami (reverse arm entanglement) or simply as ude-garami. The application is similar to the top wristlock, except that it is reversed. It needs some space behind the opponent to be effective, and can be applied from the side 

Anaconda Choke

An anaconda choke is an arm triangle from the front headlock position.[1] The performer threads his or her arm under the opponent’s neck and through the armpit, and grasps the biceps of the opposing arm. The performer then attempts to pin the opponent onto the trapped shoulder so as to better interrupt the flow of blood, all the while applying pressure with the grasped biceps. The performer may accomplish this by rolling the opponent over the trapped shoulder, (known as a gator roll) and use the momentum to turn the opponent onto his or her trapped shoulder. The creator of this choke is unknown, although many sources point towards UFC veteran Milton Viera.[2] Viera himself has disputed this however and has gone on record as not claiming to be the originator of the Anaconda Choke, explaining that it is likely that multiple people came up with the same choke simultaneously.[3]

Darce Choke

The D’Arce choke, or Brabo choke, is similar to the Anaconda choke. The difference is that the choking arm is threaded under the near arm, in front of the opponent’s neck, and on top of the far arm. The choke gets its name from Joe D’Arce, a third-degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie. D’arce is not the inventor of the choke however, he merely popularized its use in competition. Instead the Luta Livre practitioners point to its originator being Bjorn Dag Lagerstron who discovered the choke when attempting to perform an Anaconda Choke in practice, and getting his arms the wrong way round.[4] During a sparring session with Jason Miller, the choke surprised Miller, who gave it the name and pronunciation “Darce” rather than the proper “D-Arsee,” when D’Arce did not have a title for the technique.[5]

North South Position & Submissions

In combat sports, the north–south position (also known as north/south or four quarter) is a ground grappling position where one combatant is supine, with the other combatant invertedly lying prone on top, normally with his or her head over the bottom combatant’s chest. The north–south position is a dominant position, where the top combatant can apply effective strikes such as knee strikes to the head, or easily transition into various grappling holds or more dominant positions. Transitioning into side control can be done by first switching into a particular hold known as ushiro-kesa-gatame (後袈裟固) or reverse scarf hold, where the chest points to the side, and the opponent’s arm is controlled similarly to kesa-gatame. The north–south choke is employed exclusively from this position.

North-South Choke

The North–south choke is a choking technique in grappling, employed exclusively from the north–south position, and classified as an air choke-hold. It closely resembles one of the seven mat holds, or osaekomi-waza, of Kodokan Judo, Kuzure kami shiho gatame. This technique is comparable in procedure to the D’arce choke, except that the practitioner is 180 degrees opposite their opponent.

Back Mount Position & Submissions

Back mount, or rear mount, is a dominant grappling position where the practitioner is behind his opponent in such a way that he has control of his opponent. Ideally, the opponent will be recumbent (prone), while the practitioner centers his weight atop the opponent, either in a seated or recumbent posture. Many consider back mount to be a very dominant, perhaps even the most advantageous position in grappling. This is due to the practitioner being able to attack with strikes and submissions with the opponent having a severely limited ability to see incoming attacks and defend against them.

Rear Naked Choke

The rear naked choke is a chokehold in martial arts applied from an opponent’s back. The word “naked” in this context suggests that, unlike other strangulation techniques found in Jujutsu/Judo, this hold does not require the use of a keikogi or training uniform.