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Easy To Learn Fundamental Techniques For Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
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Easy To Learn Fundamental Techniques For Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

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No matter how long you have been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or other grappling martial arts. The fundamentals such as sweeps, chokes, guard passing, turtle, side control, mount, hip escapes, half guard, open guard, under and over hooks, and even something as basic as grips will all be primary parts of any high level positions that you learn in your upper belt levels.

Having mastery of simple principles can be the differences that determine whether a match is won or lost. There are many fundamentals and concepts that will change your game, and lead developing more advanced techniques.

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The knowledge of fundamentals is what makes any good grappler become a great grappler. In your early years of jiu jitsu this is where most of your time will be spent. New students are often eager to move onto more advanced techniques. Students who have mastered the art of grappling will spend their entire careers training fundamental techniques because they are simply what work. So with all that in mind let’s take a look at some easy to learn fundamental techniques for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

Closed Guard

Whether you’ve just started training or have been training for a long time closed guard is a position that anyone one will be familiar with. It is a popular position in both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and in MMA. It is often times the first guard that many people learn, and it is one of the positions that even casual fans of grappling and MMA are familiar with.

You can do many things from closed guard, from sweeps to transitions to submissions. Closed guard can be a good place to “hang out” in while you catch your breath and determine your next move. Let’s take a look at some closed guard concepts. Check out the video below from Olympic Medalist Travis Stevens.

The main thing we are trying to do in closed guard is to keep our hips active feet to the floor to trap our opponent. This gives you power in your hips to snap your hips down to the floor while using your knees to break the posture of your training partner. Breaking down your opponent’s posture is a crucial part of playing guard. You are not going to be able to grip his collar and sit up or do anything so long as the guy on top has his grips. Once you have broken down your opponent’s posture, you set yourself up for submission attacks, and keep you relatively safe from punches.


Arm Bar Submission
Traditionally BJJ schools teach students how to get the arm bar from mount or closed guard. This is most likely where you’ll be exposed to an arm bar first. Once a practitioner learns the mechanics of the arm bar it can be applied from many different positions. Let’s take a look at a basic arm bar. Check out the video below and then we will break down the technique!

The arm bar can be hit from many different positions. In this demonstration it is shown from top mount with an American set up (another type of arm lock submission). You will not be able to successful hit an arm bar if you are stuck in guard. You need to have your legs free so that you can land in a perpendicular position for the arm bar. Notice how the arm is first pinned flat on the mat with the “L” shape facing upward. Use both your hands to hold the arm at the wrist and elbow. To finish the arm bar place your foot directly below your opponent’s elbow and your knee tight against his head. From here, you use the figure four grip kimura to clear your opponent’s grip. Notice the guy on bottom immediately goes to counter the Americana attack by grabbing his own wrist? This is actually the defense you are exploiting, as you will use this arm to hit the arm bar. Once your opponent’s grip is cleared, smash down on their face with your hand and pass your leg over his head. Squeeze the arm between the legs and hip up to cause the tap.


Kimura Submission
The kimura is one of the most used control techniques and submissions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as all other grappling martial arts. The concept of the submission is to isolate the shoulder and elbow joints with a double wrist grip. This allows you to apply leverage against both the shoulder and the elbow causing them to submit. This is another submission that can be hit from a lot of different positions. Let’s take a look at how the kimura submission works from top side control. Check out the video below and then we will break down the technique!

Isolating and attacking your training partner’s arm is what makes this kimura lock extremely effective. There are a few important things to take away. You want to shoulder punch and create pressure against your training partners head in order to pop his wrist off the collar grip. Make your thumb is up in the arm pit in order to get a tight grip on your training partner’s arm. Stay tight against your training partner so he can’t bump you and re-establish his guard. You want both of your opponent’s shoulders to be on the mat while you start attacking the kimura.


Back Escape
One of the worst positions you can be in when grappling is having your opponent take your back. When an opponent takes your back, most of your defense in rendered completely useless. The most that can be done is to try and prevent your training partner from submitting you with a neck choke as you work to free yourself and transition into a better position. Back escapes are vital in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and one of the first fundamental things you will learn. Let’s explore a simple back escape. Check out the video below and then we will break down the technique!

This back escape can be performed in two simple steps. First, protect your neck from the arm over your shoulder. You should use both of your hands to secure a grip on the arm. From here you want to bring your head to the mat. Once your head is on the mat post your feet on the mat as well. Next, use your feet to move your body upwards. Get your shoulder through so you can bring your elbow to the mat. From here, frame on your training partner’s neck as you perform a hip escape.


Scissor Sweep
The scissor sweep is one of the first sweeps you learn in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Therefore, it seems natural that people associate it with being a “white belt” technique. They are not wrong, but that does not mean it is not used by some of the more world renowned BJJ competitors. The scissor sweep is taught early on because it just works. Let’s see how Rodrigo Artilheiro does a scissor sweep. Check out the video below!

From bottom closed guard you want to first establish your grips, create a knee shield, adjust your angle, drop your foot to the mat and kick and pull at the same time. Artilheiro emphasize paying attention to how you are using your foot to hook your opponent. This is a small detail but it helps a lot.


Remember, a black belt is just a white belt who never quit. Black bet level martial artists and competitors will devote a large  percentage training, focusing, and teaching very basic concepts, such as creating angles, escaping hips, tucking elbows, and the importance of maintaining contact. When listening to an experienced grappler explaining more advanced techniques, they will often use these concepts to break down the fundamental movement patterns. So keep practicing those fundamentals no matter where you are in your BJJ journey!

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