Your cart
Total: $0.00
Lifetime Video Access Lifetime
Video Access
Downloadable
videos
30 Days Money Back Guarantee

BJJ Instructional Videos
John Danaher Leglocks
John Danaher Back Attacks BJJ
Down
Half Guard BJJ Instructional Video
JIU JITSU TERMINOLOGY
articles/unnamed_20_13de66af-d2ed-497c-9e6a-ff20999f88ab.jpg

JIU JITSU TERMINOLOGY

,

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly advanced Martial Art, as it emphasises on using a systematic approach to controlling opponents. Its smooth transition game helps a practitioner strategize their way into a submission attempt.

What This Article Covers:

There are a multitude of different terminologies for different important aspects of the fight game, and it is extremely important to learn these especially when a practitioner is competing. Coaches will often yell out different phrases during a jiu jitsu fight, so it pays to understand the correct terms involved with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 

Let one of the great minds of BJJ John Danaher help you Go Further Faster!

bjj terminology

ARE YOU A BJJ FANATICS INSIDER? IF NOT, YOU’RE MISSING OUT!

Take a deep dive on one specific skill per month with the top instructors in the BJJ Fanatics family.

With your subscription you’ll get:

  • Private Lesson (Masterclass)
  • Preview of our Upcoming Daily Deals to better plan your purchases
  • Rolling breakdowns & more.

You’ll also get At Home Drills to work on, a Preview of our Upcoming Launches More!

FREE FOR 7 DAYS TRIAL

Learn More

WHY IS TERMINOLOGY IMPORTANT 

Understanding the correct terminology is like speaking a different language, in BJJ if you don't understand certain keywords, then learning the art can prove difficult. If a coach has to constantly explain what an underhook is or what a crossface is then practising the technique will eat up too much of the lesson time. Students must make a conscious effort to comprehend many of these terms, so they can start to build an intricate game in BJJ. Some of these terms are Portuguese words, which are spoken by many famous jiu jitsu practitioners and Brazilian coaches, so although it is not expected to learn their language, students must begin to familiarise themselves with many Portuguese terms like upa, gancho, combate, parou and lute.

KEY TERMINOLOGY

There is a host of extremely important terminology involved within the art of BJJ that students will need to know. Many of these terms are names of certain positions or a certain way to accomplish a goal by incorporating a certain feature. The breakdown below is categorised into different aspects of the game.

GRIPPING

There are many terms involved with how a practitioner should grip onto their opponent. Using the right jiu jitsu principles by gripping onto an opponent is an extremely important facet of being successful within the art. Pocket Grip - this term is used to explain how a student puts one thumb inside the sleeve of the Gi, and uses all four fingers on the outside of the Gi and folds over the fabric, creating a strong grip. Collar Grip - this is a really common grip as a practitioner will stick four fingers inside the lapel and their thumb on the outside, creating another strong grip they can choke with. Pistol Grip - this grip is an easy way to control an opponent's sleeve, as they bunch up the fabric and clamp their entire hand over it as if it were a pistol.

There are other grips used without utilising the Gi, some of these are; Wrist Grips - this grip is self explanatory, as a practitioner will simply grab hold of their opponents wrists with their hands. Underhooks - the underhook is an important tool and used in a large number of movements, the practitioner uses their arm to slide up underneath the armpit of their opponent. This is a good technique to use when searching for a body lock or when a practitioner attempts to secure a pass. Overhooks - this technique is when a practitioner clamps their opponents arm, going over the shoulder and back though underneath the arm. Necktie - a necktie can be used as a weapon, as in Muay Thai it's called a clinch. The aim is to grab hold of their opponents neck or more to the point, the top of the neck and the bottom of the skull for more control.

CONTROL POSITIONS 

Positional control is one of the most important aspects in the BJJ game, as all submission attempts begin with a practitioner securing a dominant position. There are multiple control positions that students will need to understand, as most practitioners have a jiu jitsu fighting style that incorporates all of these concepts. Guard - the guard is the first defense as it involves a practitioner sitting on the mat with their legs wrapped firmly around their opponents waist. The guard is a great defensive position, but with the right knowledge it can be used as an offensive threat for sweeping and submitting their opponents. Half Guard - this position is another defensive position and is usually secured after escaping from bad positions. It involves wrapping both legs around one of their opponents legs, while you lay on your side and use your arms to frame. Open Guard - this position is an attacking style of guard that is used to initiate a multitude of different guards, sweeps and submissions. It involves a practitioner keeping their feet in the hips of their opponent  while they use some form of upper body control like a wrist grip, a neck tie or a Gi grip. This kind of guard leads to guards like; spider guard, lasso guard, butterfly guard, de la riva guard, x guard, lapel guard along with many others.

Mount - the mount is a dominant position and is secured when a practitioner is sitting firmly on the waist of an opponent who is laying on their back. There are other forms of mount like; s mount, technical mount, reverse mount and high mount. Side Control - this position is one of the most attacking control positions and also one of the easiest positions to escape from. It involves keeping tight pressure from chest to chest of an opponent, as the practitioner lays side on to their opponent as they lay on their back. Utilising side control opens up another key terminology, as a practitioner uses what is called a crossface, this is when the practitioner uses their arm under the head of their opponent with their shoulder planted into their jaw while having them in side control. Back Control - utilising back control is another extremely important position, as it is the main place that a practitioner can choke their opponents from. The practitioner will utilise what is called hooks  which is both of their legs wrapped around their opponent with their heels in their groin. This control is where they will secure Rear Naked Chokes, Bow and Arrow Cokes or various Gi chokes.

SUBMISSIONS

There is a ridiculous amount of submissions available to a practitioner, as there are a multitude of variations of each submission. There are a lot of tricky maneuvers that have been developed throughout the years, but the best moves will always be the traditional and simplistic ones to accomplish. The bjj founder Helio Gracie had a simple philosophy that would see many of these submissions work even to this day. The Rear Naked Choke - this is probably the most high percentage submission in the game, as it involves taking an opponent's back and using an arm to strangle their opponent. There are other variations of chokes from this position like; the military choke, the caveman choke, the ezekiel choke, the bow and arrow choke as well as numerous Gi chokes. The Armbar - this move is another high performance submission that involves a practitioner to secure an opponent's arm before using leverage to hyper extend the arm past the fulcrum point. Armbars can be secured from all positions, as the range of different types is never ending. 

The Triangle - this submission is another extremely effective choke, as the practitioner will most commonly secure this from guard. The practitioner will use their legs to make a triangle around the head and arm of their opponent, forcing them to tap. The Kimura - this submission is a bent arm lock and can be secured by locking onto the kimura grip and bending their opponents arm up behind their back. The Guillotine - this choke is an old school favourite, as it requires a practitioner to utilise a front headlock grip, before applying pressure to the neck. The Darce Choke - this choke is almost like the brother of the guillotine, as it requires a practitioner to thread their arm underneath an opponent's armpit and up to the other side of their neck, they will then use their other arm to close off the choke in another form of triangle around their opponent. This is a very dangerous choke and has entries from all positions in the game. The Heel Hook - in more recent times the heel hook has become extremely popular and deadly, as it requires a practitioner to secure the leg of their opponent with their own legs and use their hands gripped to twist the heel in the opposite direction, causing the knee to separate. This can be another extremely dangerous maneuver to execute, as there is a thin line between pain and a torn ACL. 

ARE YOU A BJJ FANATICS INSIDER? IF NOT, YOU’RE MISSING OUT!

Take a deep dive on one specific skill per month with the top instructors in the BJJ Fanatics family.

With your subscription you’ll get:

  • Private Lesson (Masterclass)
  • Preview of our Upcoming Daily Deals to better plan your purchases
  • Rolling breakdowns & more.

You’ll also get At Home Drills to work on, a Preview of our Upcoming Launches More!

FREE FOR 7 DAYS TRIAL

Learn More

OTHER IMPORTANT TERMS

There are many other vital terminologies that are pivotal to the makeup of bjj philosophy. Practitioners must understand what some extremely important aspects there are, like; Posture - keeping a good posture is imperative for takedown defense or for defending sweeps or submissions. Having good posture means that a practitioner's head is up and is in alignment with their spine at all times. Base - the concept of base is for a practitioner to always keep in a position where they cannot be taken down or pushed over, just like posturing it goes hand in hand and involves keeping a good centre of gravity and staying in a balanced position. Framing - the importance of framing is exponential, as many positions require a student to use their forearms and knees to create space. Framing can buy a practitioner time in the heat of a battle, and learning how to frame while keeping your limbs safe from submission is an artform. Oss - this term is a universal term that has significant meaning around most BJJ academies. What does oss in bjj mean? The Japanese word is an abbreviation of Onegai Shimasu which means "if you may", the other loose meaning is Oshi Shinobu which means "never give up". This term has significance all over the world and can be heard by a large portion of BJJ practitioners.

It is also important to understand what the referee is saying when a practitioner is competing at tournaments. A referee is usually a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who uses many Portuguese terms. Combate - this is pronounced (com - batch) this is a term used at the start of the fight which signifies the commencement of the match. This will also be used during a fight after any pauses inside the duration of the match. Parou - this term means to stop, as referees will use this term to signal the end of a fight. Lute - this is pronounced (Lu - ch) and it is the term the referee uses for stalling. During a match if an opponent is wasting time they will get called for a stall and if too many are accumulated it can result in penalty points or even disqualification. 

Standing on the spectator side of the fence you may have heard many Brazilians shouting and causing significant commotions. This is due to the colourful nature of a Brazilian, they will support their students with joyful chants and shout with angry discontent when they disagree. There are many facts about jiu jitsu coaches that may shock you. Some of the classic terms you might hear them say is; Upa - this term means to bridge, when a practitioner is stuck underneath an opponent, their coach may be yelling out Upa Upa, as they are willing their students to bridge out of danger. Porra - this term loosely translates to damn, but it is commonly used as a swear word and can be heard from many coaches on the sidelines. Creonte - this is a common expression in BJJ and it means traitor. Brazilians have used this term when describing a student who trains for one gym and then leaves to train at another. This is an old tradition, and more recently the evolution has seen more students cross train and leave to find new homes at new academies.

CONCLUSION 

Terminology in BJJ is extremely important, as it could be the difference between winning or losing the battle. Understanding the terms laid out in front of a practitioner is a skill in itself, and must be taken seriously.

Speed up your learning curve with the help of John Danaher!

brazilian jiu jitsu terms

There is so much to learn in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, so putting the curriculum into a sub categorisation can be an easier way to ingrain the knowledge into a student's head. Training in BJJ and journeying off into the long years of becoming a black belt is one of the hardest and most gratifying experiences any Martial Artist can have. So take it seriously, work hard, show consistency and above all else have fun and enjoy the ride. 

 If you enjoyed this piece, consider checking:

Half Domination by Tom DeBlass DVD Cover
Catch Wrestling Formula by Neil Melanson
Butterfly Guard Re-Discovered Adam Wardzinski DVD Wrap
Judo Academy Jimmy Pedro Travis Stevens