As a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioner, you’ll likely have come across a variety of terms and phrases that you haven’t heard before.
Which is why we’ve decided to put together this BJJ glossary.
Here, you’ll find definitions and explanations for several essential terms and concepts, helping you build a solid foundation on which to develop your martial arts skills.
From basic positions to common submissions and other jargon, this glossary aims to be your go-to resource for all things related to BJJ.
Remember that BJJ is a constantly evolving sport, with new techniques and strategies emerging regularly.
Therefore, it’s crucial to stay open-minded and continue expanding your knowledge as you progress in your journey.
As you delve into the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I hope that this glossary will serve as a valuable reference, helping you to better grasp the techniques and terminology that you’ll encounter on the mats.
- 50-50: Refers to a specific position that occurs when both you and your opponent have one leg inside and one leg outside of each other’s legs. This results in a symmetrical and neutral position where neither practitioner has a clear advantage in terms of control or leverage.
- Armbar: A submission hold where you extend and hyperextend your opponent’s arm, typically targeting the elbow joint, by trapping their arm between your legs.
- Americana: A shoulder lock submission hold in which you isolate your opponent’s arm and apply pressure to their shoulder joint.
- Anaconda Choke: A type of chokehold where you wrap your arm around your opponent’s neck and trap their head and arm with your body, creating pressure on the carotid arteries.
- Advantages: A scoring criterion used in BJJ competitions to break ties, awarded based on who had more control or offensive attempts during a match.
- Ashi Garami: A leg entanglement position used to control or submit an opponent, often leading to foot locks or leg attacks.
- Attack Points: Points awarded for initiating attacks and gaining advantageous positions in BJJ matches.
- BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu): A martial art and combat sport focused on ground grappling, submissions, and positional control.
- Back Control: A dominant position where a practitioner takes the opponent’s back, often leading to rear-naked chokes or other submissions.
- Berimbolo: A complex and acrobatic sweep used to take an opponent’s back from a seated guard position.
- Butterfly Guard: A guard position where the practitioner uses their legs to control the opponent’s posture and create opportunities for sweeps and attacks.
- Bridge: A fundamental movement in BJJ where you lift your hips off the ground, often used to escape from the bottom position.
- Base: A stable and balanced body position that allows you to resist sweeps and maintain control in various BJJ positions.
- Belt System (White, Blue, Purple, Brown, Black): A ranking system in BJJ that signifies a practitioner’s skill level and experience, with white being the lowest and black being the highest.
- Bow and Arrow Choke: A chokehold where you use your legs to control your opponent’s body while pulling their collar, creating pressure on their neck.
- Closed Guard: A guard position where the practitioner’s legs are wrapped around the opponent’s torso, providing control and offensive opportunities.
- Cross-Collar Choke: A chokehold that involves gripping your opponent’s collar with both hands and applying pressure to their neck.
- Crossface: A technique where you apply pressure to your opponent’s face with your forearm, often used to control them from the top position.
- Cross Guard Pass: A method of passing the opponent’s guard by moving from one side to the other.
- Cross-Side Control: A dominant top position where the practitioner controls their opponent from the side, often working towards submissions or transitions.
- Collar Grip: A grip on your opponent’s gi (uniform), typically used to control their posture or set up chokes.
- Compressions: A type of submission hold that targets the chest or ribcage area, applying pressure to restrict breathing.
- Competitions (e.g., Gi, No-Gi, ADCC): Organized events where BJJ practitioners compete against each other, with “Gi” referring to matches using traditional uniforms and “No-Gi” involving matches without uniforms. ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) is a prestigious submission grappling competition.
- Checkmat: A well-known BJJ team and affiliation.
- Clinch: A standing position where two practitioners are in close contact, often used for takedowns and throws.
- Clock Choke: A chokehold applied by trapping your opponent’s head and arm with your body, similar to the Anaconda choke.
- Control Points: Points awarded for achieving and maintaining control over an opponent during a BJJ match.
- Choke: A submission hold that restricts blood flow or airflow to the opponent’s brain or neck, typically using the gi collar or the arms.
- Combat Base: A stance used in BJJ that provides stability while standing, often used to initiate takedowns or guard passing.
- De La Riva Guard: A guard position where the practitioner uses one leg to control the opponent’s leg, creating opportunities for sweeps and attacks.
- D’arce Choke: A chokehold applied by trapping your opponent’s neck with your arm in an “L” shape.
- Double Leg Takedown: A takedown technique where a practitioner shoots in and lifts both of their opponent’s legs off the ground before bringing them down.
- Doping Control: The process of testing athletes for the use of prohibited substances in accordance with anti-doping regulations.
- Drill: Repeated practice of specific techniques or movements to improve proficiency.
- DQ (Disqualification): A penalty in BJJ competitions where a practitioner is removed from the match due to a rules violation.
- Escapes: Techniques used to free oneself from inferior or disadvantageous positions.
- EBI (Eddie Bravo Invitational): A submission-only grappling tournament created by Eddie Bravo, known for its unique ruleset and format.
- Ezekiel Choke: A chokehold applied using the sleeves of the gi to create pressure on the opponent’s neck.
- Full Mount: A dominant top position where the practitioner straddles their opponent’s chest, providing control and opportunities for ground and pound or submissions.
- Frame: The use of one’s arms or limbs to create space and maintain distance from the opponent.
- Footlock: A submission hold that targets the opponent’s foot or ankle joints.
- Flexibility: The ability to move joints and muscles through a full range of motion, essential for executing various BJJ techniques.
- Flow Rolling: A type of sparring where practitioners focus on smooth transitions and continuous movement rather than intensity or competition.
- Free Sparring: Live training or rolling where practitioners test their skills in a less controlled environment, often simulating real matches.
- Flow State: A mental state where a practitioner is fully immersed in training or competition, often leading to heightened performance.
- Fusion of Techniques: Combining different BJJ techniques and strategies to create effective and unexpected approaches.
- Gi: The traditional uniform worn in BJJ, consisting of a jacket and pants, used for grip-based techniques and submissions.
- Grappling: The core aspect of BJJ involving ground-based combat techniques, such as locks, chokes, and positional control.
- Guard: A defensive position on the ground where a practitioner uses their legs to control the opponent’s movement and create attacking opportunities.
- Guard Pulling: The act of intentionally moving from a standing position to the guard position to initiate attacks or control.
- Guard Retention: The ability to prevent an opponent from passing the guard position.
- Guard Pass: The act of moving from an opponent’s guard to a dominant position, often involving techniques to overcome the opponent’s leg control.
- Guard Recovery: Techniques and movements used to reestablish the guard position after being passed by an opponent.
- Guard Sweep: Techniques used to reverse an opponent from the guard position and gain a dominant top position.
- Guillotine Choke: A chokehold applied by trapping your opponent’s neck under your arm, often using their own neck or shoulder as a lever.
- Ground and Pound: A strategy in which a practitioner, often in the full mount position, delivers strikes (punches and elbows) to their opponent on the ground. This is more of an MMA term but if you do Jiu Jitsu for MMA, or Jits with Hits as my gym calls it, it’s something to be aware of.
- Half Guard: A guard position where one of the practitioner’s legs is trapped between the opponent’s legs, creating opportunities for sweeps and attacks.
- Heel Hook: A submission hold that targets the opponent’s heel and ankle, known for its effectiveness and potential for injury.
- Hooks (Back Control): The practitioner’s legs are positioned on either side of their opponent’s body when taking their back, providing control and balance.
- Half Guard Sweep: Techniques used to reverse an opponent from the half-guard position and gain a top position.
- IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation): The governing body for BJJ competitions worldwide, responsible for rules and regulations.
- Inverted Guard: A guard position where the practitioner is upside down, often used for sweeping and transitioning to the back.
- Inverted Triangle Choke: A chokehold applied by trapping your opponent’s head and arm with your legs while inverted.
- Injuries: Common in BJJ, these can range from minor bruises and strains to more serious issues, emphasizing the importance of safety and injury prevention.
- Inside Control: A dominant position where a practitioner controls their opponent’s body from the inside, often leading to submissions or positional advances.
- Joint Lock: A submission technique that targets an opponent’s joint, such as the elbow or knee, with the goal of hyperextending or hyperflexing it to force a tap.
- Judo: A Japanese martial art that heavily influenced BJJ, focusing on throws and takedowns.
- Jiu-Jitsu Journey: A practitioner’s personal path of learning and growth in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
- Jiu-Jitsu Lifestyle: Embracing the philosophy and values of BJJ in daily life, including discipline, respect, and perseverance.
- Kimura: A submission hold that targets the opponent’s shoulder joint, typically involving a figure-four grip on their arm.
- Knee on Belly: A top control position where a practitioner places their knee on their opponent’s chest, creating pressure and control.
- Kneebar: A submission hold that targets the opponent’s knee joint, often applying pressure to hyperextend it.
- Lapel: A part of the gi uniform, often used for controlling the opponent, setting up chokes, or creating grips.
- Leg Drag: A guard pass technique that involves manipulating and bypassing the opponent’s legs to gain a dominant position.
- Lasso Guard: A guard position where the practitioner uses one leg to create a barrier or control the opponent’s arm.
- Lapel Guard: A guard position that involves manipulating the opponent’s lapel for control and submission opportunities.
- Lapel Choke: Chokeholds that utilize the opponent’s gi lapel to apply pressure on their neck.
- Loop Choke: A type of chokehold applied by wrapping the gi lapel around the opponent’s neck and using it as a lever.
- Leverage: The use of physics and mechanical advantage to control or submit an opponent in BJJ.
- Lockdown: A technique used from the half guard position to control and off-balance an opponent.
- Luta Livre: A Brazilian martial art similar to BJJ but without the gi, known for its no-gi techniques.
- Mount: A dominant top position where the practitioner straddles their opponent’s chest and controls them from above.
- Mat Time: The amount of time a practitioner spends training and rolling on the mats.
- Marcelotine: A variation of the guillotine choke, named after BJJ practitioner Marcelo Garcia.
- Mundials (World Jiu-Jitsu Championship): A prestigious BJJ competition held annually, featuring top practitioners from around the world.
- No-Gi: A style of BJJ that does not involve the use of a gi uniform, often emphasizing different grips and techniques.
- North-South Position: A top position where the practitioner is perpendicular to their opponent, often used for controlling and transitioning to submissions.
- Omoplata: A shoulder lock submission that involves trapping the opponent’s arm with the legs and applying pressure to the shoulder joint.
- Open Guard: A guard position where the practitioner’s legs are not fully closed, providing mobility and opportunities for sweeps and attacks.
- Oss (Respectful Term): A term commonly used in BJJ to show respect and acknowledgment, often used in training and competitions.
- Outside Pass: A guard pass technique that involves moving around the opponent’s legs to gain a dominant position.
- Passing the Guard: The process of moving from an opponent’s guard position to a dominant position while maintaining control.
- Points System: A scoring system used in BJJ competitions to award points for various actions and positions, such as sweeps, passes, and back control.
- Pulling Guard: The act of intentionally moving from a standing position to the guard position to initiate attacks or control.
- Pressure: The application of weight, control, and discomfort to an opponent to limit their mobility and options.
- Positional Sparring: Controlled sparring sessions focusing on specific positions or scenarios, often used for skill development.
- Passing the Half Guard: Techniques and strategies for moving from the top position through an opponent’s half guard to achieve a dominant position.
- Pancrase: A Japanese combat sport and precursor to MMA, featuring a mix of grappling and striking techniques.
- Positional Dominance: The state of controlling and dictating the pace and direction of a match from a dominant position.
- Penalties: Deductions in points or other forms of discipline for rule violations in BJJ competitions.
- Pearl weave: A type of weave used in BJJ Gi’s for lightweight gi’s ideal for warm climates and for competitions.
- Rear-Naked Choke: A chokehold applied from the back control position, typically using both arms to apply pressure to the opponent’s neck.
- Renzo Gracie: A prominent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and member of the Gracie family, known for his contributions to the sport.
- Rubber Guard: A guard position where the practitioner controls their opponent’s posture and creates submission opportunities by wrapping their legs around the opponent’s head.
- RNC (Rear-Naked Choke): Abbreviation for “Rear-Naked Choke,” a highly effective chokehold applied from the back control position.
- Rules (IBJJF, ADCC, etc.): The specific regulations and guidelines governing BJJ competitions, with organizations like the IBJJF and ADCC having their own rule sets.
- Ranks (Stripes, Belt Degrees): The ranking system in BJJ, consists of belts (white, blue, purple, brown, black) and stripes awarded for progress and proficiency.
- Rash Guard: A tight-fitting top worn to no-gi BJJ.
- Side Control: A dominant top position where the practitioner controls their opponent’s upper body from the side, often leading to submissions or transitions.
- Submission: A technique that forces an opponent to surrender by applying joint locks, chokeholds, or other painful or straining holds.
- Sweeps: Techniques used from the bottom position to reverse an opponent and gain a top position.
- Spider Guard: A guard position where the practitioner uses their legs to control their opponent’s arms, creating opportunities for sweeps and submissions.
- Scissor Takedown: A takedown technique that involves using one’s legs to trip or sweep the opponent to the ground.
- Sparring: Controlled live training sessions where practitioners apply techniques and strategies in a simulated match environment.
- Submission–Only: A type of BJJ competition format where the only path to victory is by forcing the opponent to submit, eliminating points or advantages.
- Submission Grappling: A form of grappling that focuses exclusively on submissions and positional control, often without the use of a gi.
- Self–Defense: Techniques and strategies in BJJ designed to protect oneself in real-life situations.
- Sprawl: A defensive technique used to counter takedown attempts by sprawling the legs backward to prevent the opponent from securing a takedown.
- Stand–Up: The phase of a BJJ match where practitioners start from a standing position before engaging on the ground.
- Sweep: A technique used from the bottom position to reverse an opponent and gain a dominant top position.
- Self-Defense Techniques: BJJ techniques and strategies designed for real-world self-defense situations.
- Takedown: Techniques used to bring the opponent to the ground, often initiated from a standing position.
- Turtle Position: A defensive position where the practitioner is on their hands and knees, often used to prevent an opponent from taking the back.
- Triangle Choke: A chokehold applied by trapping one of the opponent’s arms and using both legs to create pressure on the neck.
- Transition: The process of moving from one position or technique to another, often seamlessly and strategically.
- Tap Out: The act of submitting in a BJJ match by tapping the mat or the opponent to signal surrender and prevent injury.
- Training Partners: Fellow practitioners with whom one trains and spars regularly to improve their skills.
- Teammates: Fellow members of the same BJJ academy or gym who support each other’s training and development.
- Torreando Pass: A guard pass technique that involves controlling and bypassing the opponent’s legs by moving them to one side.
- Underhook: A grip or control under the opponent’s arm, often used to gain positional advantage.
- UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship): A mixed martial arts organization where BJJ plays a significant role, showcasing various martial arts disciplines.
- Von Flue Choke: A chokehold applied by the top practitioner when their opponent attempts a guillotine choke from the bottom side control position.
- Wristlock: A joint lock that targets the wrist joint, often applied to control or submit the opponent.
- Worm Guard: A guard position that involves manipulating the opponent’s lapel to control and create submission opportunities.
- Wrist Control: Controlling and manipulating the opponent’s wrists to disrupt their attacks and control their movements.
- X-Guard: A guard position where the practitioner uses their legs to control and off-balance the opponent, creating sweep and submission opportunities.
- Y–Guard: A guard position where the practitioner uses their legs to control and attack the opponent from the bottom.
- Ze Radiola: A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor and practitioner known for his contributions to the sport.
- Z–Guard: A guard position where the practitioner’s legs create a “Z” shape, often used to control and attack the opponent from the bottom.