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The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has an extremely complex series of transitional components, as many of the maneuvers can take a long time to master. When new student begins their journey through BJJ, and before they can develop into a seasoned grappler, they must grasp the understanding of all the fundamental principles involved. BJJ is made up of a large number of small movements, and when executed correctly they will make it easier to achieve the more complex maneuvers.

Students will need to be consistent on the mats, and work extremely hard during training if they want to progress in the art. Students must work hard, ask questions, and put in hours of mat time every week if they want to understand the key components of BJJ. It is extremely important for the new student not to focus too much on moves that they find on YouTube, instead, they should be focusing solely on the BJJ hierarchy of positions, and techniques, so they can build a longer-lasting and stronger foundation for their future BJJ.

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Developing an understanding of the fundamental techniques in BJJ is crucial to a strong and effective game style in the art. It is quite common to see students get caught up in the trap of trying to learn the hardest jiu-jitsu move, instead of sticking to the basics. Nowadays with the unlimited source of information available online, it can be easy for students to gloss over the Brazilian jiu-jitsu basics. What students will find is that avoiding the fundamentals can leave some serious holes in their game later on down the track. Although sometimes it might seem boring to keep practising basic movements, it is imperative to implement these concepts into a student's game style.

Let Pete the Greek give you a guided tour of the most important foundations of BJJ available at BJJ Fanatics!

jiu jitsu basics

Even once a student has reached the Black belt level, there is a significant need for fundamental movements. Most high-level practitioners end up in a stalemate against each other, which is why it is extremely important to have a strong fundamental game. There are principles as simple as framing, knowing when to post, or when to utilise a hook, which can be the difference between winning or losing in a competition, and a life or death conflict situation. So when new student begins their journey in BJJ, they should be taking the extra time to comprehensively practise all of the basic principles they have been taught. Another important aspect of understanding the fundamentals is that students that have a significant fundamental series of principles instilled into their game, will find it easier to create their own flow chain of movements when they become a higher rank in the art.


There are many important foundations BJJ has to offer, and some of these techniques are not visible to the naked eye. There is a multitude of hidden movements that practitioners may not be aware of. These can be the little things like using frames or changing your angle slightly to enhance your ability to finish the movement. Anyone can learn a technique, and then try and execute it, but some of the non-negotiables in BJJ must become muscle memory. Some of these movements could be as simple as where to place a hand or a foot, as their importance is significant, and must become instinctive to a practitioner. There are many different forms of fundamental techniques that new students need to implement into their game. BJJ is a highly intricate Martial Art, which is why it can take an extremely long time to master even the basic core set of principles.


There is an important saying in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when you are on top of an opponent, take away their space, and when you are underneath them, create space. This is a fundamentally simple concept, as creating space is the only way a practitioner can escape positions, set up sweeps, and attack submissions. It is important to use all of your limbs as frames, meaning using your forearms and shins as shields against an opponent. Some of the most basic fundamentals a student should know is shrimping, which means to use your frames and then escape your hips. The other is bridging, meaning to use your hips, and thrust towards the sky as a way of creating space from underneath an opponent who has a dominant position.

When a student has achieved the basic Jiu Jitsu positions, they must learn the fundamental art of how to maintain the pressure without losing their control. This means being able to control your opponent by using all of your weight distribution while maintaining your balance. Students must learn how to ride the waves so to speak, as an opponent who is underneath will try and create space. The importance of utilising a heavy cross face, and an underhook, while keeping your hips low to the ground in either a short base or long base position, is crucial. A common mistake that students make is trying to use too much strength while maintaining control positions, as this can force them to become tired quickly, and through their rigidness become easy to sweep. 


There is a necessity in learning how to escape positions at a fundamental level. A student can comprehensively build a backbone within their game style, based on escaping positions. Once again the art of knowing how to frame is exceedingly important and is crucial in developing an escape plan. Learning how to escape doesn't just apply to positions like side control, back control, and the mount, it also involves defending and escaping from submissions. Students will develop basic habits of keeping their chin tucked, so they cannot be choked, and keeping their elbows sucked into their body, as a way of early defending submissions like the arm bar, and the kimura.

Important basics students need to learn is keeping their hands in a position where they can instantly defend against chokes, and begin to frame their way to safety. Keeping their elbows sucked into their bodies, and close to their knees is another fundamental that will help a student remain safe in a bad position. Students must also learn that escaping positions, and submissions isn't just about survival, as it can lead to a transitional approach to gaining a dominant position over their opponent. This is apparent in defensive escape maneuvers like the ghost escape, where a student will secure an overhook and use their other arm underneath the body of their opponent in a defensive manner, while they use circular and transitional movement to escape the position. This movement will give a student significant control in a front headlock position, or even a straight transition into a darce choke.


The guard is one of the most iconic positions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as it is a great defensive position, while also being an attacking platform to launch from. Students must learn basic foundations in firstly breaking the guard, which means using their frames and posture to open the guard of their opponent. Guard breaks can be done by standing in the guard and using base and posture to open their legs, or it can be done simply by pushing a knee toward the mat while trying to open the guard. Learning how to effectively break the guard of an opponent is only half of the battle as they must link this movement straight into guard passing.

To effectively pass the guard students will need to train repetitively, and practise many linear, and circular movements. It is extremely important to understand how to drive forward with momentum, whilst maintaining pressure on an opponent. The importance of understanding what a knee staple and a back step is, are crucial to a successful guard pass. This concept means that students will also need to utilise a cross face, and an underhook while using head pressure to move through the guard. There is a multitude of different ways to pass the guard, as students will learn basic ones like the tripod pass, the knee slice or knee cut, the toreando pass, and the standing guard pass.


Some of the most important aspects of becoming good at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is grips, this means understanding how to grip an opponent, and knowing how to break the grips when their opponent has control of them. Understanding different grips like a pocket grip, a pistol grip, and a collar grip are important aspects in maintaining control of an opponent. Students will learn fundamental aspects of what a dominating grip is, and how to effectively use these grips to better their position. This aspect is the same in reverse, as they must learn how to circle their way out of an opponent's dominant grips, reinstating their own grips. Another important aspect is re-gripping, meaning once a student uses grips to improve their position, sometimes halfway through a movement, they must let go of a grip, as they relocate their grip to a different part of their opponent to correctly finish off their movement.


Learning the art of sweeping an opponent is a basic skill that new students will need to learn. Students will learn basic movement from positions like the half guard, full guard, and knee shield. Understanding the mechanics of how a sweep works is similar to broader concepts like a three-legged table. If a table has four legs and you take away one leg, then the table is vulnerable to falling towards where the leg used to be. Taking this concept into BJJ means a student can secure one of their opponents' arms, making them vulnerable, and unable to use their arm as a post. There are other fundamental basics involved in sweeping, like pulling an opponent forwards out of their posture, which is a way to compromise their balance. Another basic fundamental is when attempting a sweep, don't throw your leg sideways, instead change the angle of your hips and use your leg in more of a forward kicking motion, as this is the strongest way to maneuver through a sweep.


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Learning the art of submitting an opponent is crucial to the core of BJJ. The Importance of understanding how to submit to an opponent isn't just in training or competition, but a vital aspect in a life or death street fight situation. There are a few basic submissions that students will learn in the beginning, as they attempt to improve their overall proficiency. The most common submission a student needs to know is the rear naked choke, which is a choke that is utilised after securing back control. The second most important submission to learn is the armbar, as this submission is one that will be found in a diverse range of positions. The arm bar is a leverage-based submission used to hyperextend the elbow, after securing the arm with your legs. There are other basic submissions like the kimura, the Americana, the guillotine, and the triangle, that are commonly taught to students at the beginner level.


Some of the most common problems that beginners face are that they use too much strength, and they forget to breathe. When a student tenses too much a couple of things will happen, the first is they will run out of energy quickly, and the second is they will be very rigid, making it easy for their opponent to move them. Students can also forget to regulate their breathing, which is not a good way to keep their cardiovascular system in the normal range. If a student can learn to stay calm during a fight, then it will become easier for them to execute sequences of movements. If a student can keep their breathing at a normal level, they won't be gasping for air, and they will have the appropriate amount of energy in all positions. Sometimes a student's breathing is out of whack, and this can cause them to panic under highly stressful situations, including being stuck in a choke.


Becoming good at BJJ is only one aspect of becoming a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, as the most important part is how they interact with the community. The Gracie clan was big on spirituality, and how they connect with others in their community, which has developed and filtered down to many BJJ academies today. New students must learn the art of humility and common etiquette, as there are always guidelines to follow when training at a BJJ school. Students must leave their egos at the door, and come to training with a great attitude, a humble spirit, and a caring nature, if they want to fully understand what being a BJJ practitioner is all about.

Another really important aspect is hygiene, and new students will learn what they should and shouldn't be doing. Being hygienic means showering before and after training, and properly washing all their gear including their belts before class. BJJ has a lot of close-quarters combat, meaning there is a lot of sweat, and sometimes blood, which can breed some serious infections like staph and ringworm. If a student practises proper hygiene precautions, including cutting all fingernails and toenails, then this will go a long way to stopping any sort of infection spreading through the academy.


One of the most overlooked aspects of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is to simply just enjoy the journey. Students can put too much pressure on themselves in trying to learn, and achieve progression in BJJ. Moving through the belt ranking system can take a minimum of 2 years per belt, meaning there is plenty of time to take it easy and master each technique.

Let Pete the Greek give you a guided tour of the most important foundations of BJJ available at BJJ Fanatics!

beginner jiu jitsu moves

Being a part of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community can be extremely rewarding, as all practitioners will bond comprehensively with all of their training partners and coaches. Students must take the time to enjoy their training, otherwise, they will suffer burning out too quickly. One of the keys to progression in BJJ is continuity on the mats, so if a student is not enjoying their journey, and is missing training days, then they will incur a multitude of setbacks in their progression. Students that enjoy coming to training and working hard, will find it easy to be consistent, and progress at a particularly fast rate.

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