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Jiu Jitsu White Belt Moves

Jiu Jitsu White Belt Moves


Starting a complex sport like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be extremely daunting. There are an infinite number of movements involved, most of which are too advanced for a White belt. Many moves involve a series of traps or counter movements, so unless a White belt knows the fundamentals it can be hard to understand these kinds of maneuvers. 

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bjj white belt techniques

Most high level instructors will explain to beginners why they need to have bjj White belt goals. It is important to set themselves an achievable goal and slowly build towards that. Jiu Jitsu is an age-old Martial Art which has elements that are constantly evolving, so practitioners must stay on track and continue to grow.

The first step for a White belt is to get their foot in the door at an academy. This is a daunting process for many beginners because they are unaware of what to expect. New students are also usually battling their own insecurities, whether that is because they are overweight, unfit or just plain embarrassed. Beginners should not fear a Jiu Jitsu academy, as they facilitate some extremely welcoming and humble Martial Artists. 

What This Article Covers:


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Brand new students will often paint a picture in their heads about a Martial Arts academy, they imagine the members to be hard headed bullies and arrogant judges. This couldn't be further from the truth, as the students in BJJ are all there to help with the development of the Martial Art. Growing the art of BJJ is the number one priority, so keeping students on the mats starts with being friendly, welcoming and patient with all newcomers.

Many higher belts will constantly offer bjj White belt tips to all new arrivals. A beginner can expect a high level of help from many if not all academy members. A BJJ academy is an amazing place where people from all walks of life can come together and share similar goals, so a beginner is guaranteed to make amazing friends. Another expectation that always rains true is that all new students will improve, no matter how uncoordinated they might feel or how unfit they are. In a short time they will lose weight, get fitter and begin to understand the principles and movements in Jiu Jitsu.

There are some expectations that beginners may be unaware of, like not wearing shoes or jewelry on the mats. There is also an expectation that students should keep good hygiene by showering before and after training, they will also be told how to wash bjj belt and their Gi's. Wearing a Gi can be stifling and uncomfortable for many beginners, but with the guidance of higher belts they will teach the students all kinds of tricks from staying comfortable to how to tie Jiu Jitsu belt


White belts are often referred to as "spazzy white belts", this is common for beginners that don't understand the flow of Jiu Jitsu. Most beginners will come into an academy like a bull out of a gate and use way too much strength and forget to breathe, this will only guarantee they will run out of gas. Beginners will quite often have no concept of balance or how to use their weight distribution, these are concepts they will have to learn over time. 

White belts can often be the most dangerous roll in the academy. Compared to a higher belt who knows how to keep themselves and their training partners safe, a beginner has no thought process behind these kinds of aspects. A White belt will usually not know when they should tap or when to let go of a submission, they will also put their limbs in danger as they are unsure where the safe zone is. Another common occurrence for beginners is they have no spacial awareness, as high belts will commonly protect themselves from other pairs rolling on the mats. 


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There are different bjj belt meanings in all ranks in Jiu Jitsu, and the White belt is the very first belt in a series of bjj belts to earn over time. To be a White belt means to be a beginner, it is the rank of a novice, someone who is just starting their journey into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. To be a beginner they must be humble and willing to learn, they must put aside what they think they know from watching the UFC, and learn the intricacies behind Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 

White belts will have to work hard especially in the warm-ups, as most of the movements are directly related to Jiu Jitsu moves. They should also ask lots of questions and try to understand the rubik's cube that is BJJ. A White belt does not need to try and impress the world, they just need to stay focused and work on the basics they are being taught. BJJ progression is a slow process and that is mainly due to the complexity within each position. 


There are a multitude of moves that a practitioner can master over years, learning all of them as a White belt is impossible. White belts will often ask the question how long does it take to get a Blue belt in bjj, there is no real short answer as it can be different for everyone. There are certain moves that a White belt must know before they can be promoted.


The first aspect of Jiu Jitsu that a student will learn is basic positions. To understand how to begin executing submissions, sweeps or passes they need to understand the positions they can attack from. 

GUARD: The guard position is extremely important as it is the first defense against attacks. There are many types of guards but in the case of a White belt the closed guard is what is taught first. The closed guard is where a practitioner sits on their behind and wraps their legs around the waist of their opponent. The guard can be a defensive tool and an offensive weapon at the same time. 

HALF GUARD: The half guard is an important mechanism for beginners. There are two main uses of the half guard, the first is a defensive measure used when a practitioner is trying to escape from mount or side control. It is the first step in securing a full guard, the practise is called guard retention. The second use of the half guard is to be attacking, practitioners can utilise a knee shield and begin to set up sweeps or submissions.

SIDE CONTROL: This is a position where a practitioner will commonly set up submissions from. The mechanics of the position is to secure a cross face which is an arm under their head, the other arm is under their opponents far arm and connected with their cross face, their chest is pinned down and they are blocking the hips of their opponent with their knee or their own hip. 

KESAGATME: The Kesagatme or commonly known as scarf hold is a similar position to side control, except the controller is on their side as they are securing the neck and their opponents arm closest to the mat. This position is a high percentage position that the controller can attack submissions from.

MOUNT: The mount position is one of the best controls in Jiu Jitsu, in competitions they are worth four points. The practitioner will sit on their opponent's belly as they drop their weight low to the mat. It is a position where the controller can stay heavy and wear out their opponents as they attempt to secure submissions.

BACK CONTROL: Securing the back is probably the best vantage position in Jiu Jitsu. It is where a practitioner has control of their opponent's back with two feet around their waist and a seat belt grip, which is one arm over the shoulder and the other arm under the armpit in a tightly locked grip. This position is extremely good for setting up chokes and is used by world class competitors to secure submissions.

KNEE ON BELLY: This position is also known as the knee ride, where a practitioner leans their knee into the abdomen of their opponent while stepping their other leg wide and securing a necktie and an arm grip. This can be an extremely uncomfortable position and is great to set up submissions from.


White belts must learn how to utilise sweeps in order to take their opponents from on top of them to underneath them. A sweep is a move that combines the elements of grips, balance, angles and movement to be able to move their opponents.

HIP BUMP The Hip Bump sweep is one that is secured from the closed guard. A student must open their guard and reach over their opponent's shoulder while using their hips to sweep them.

KIMURA SWEEP The Kimura sweep is almost exactly like the Hip Bump Sweep, the only difference is a student must secure the Kimura grip, which is a figure four grip around an opponent's arm 

SCISSOR SWEEP This is a sweep that is secured from the guard. A student must switch to a knee shield and secure a necktie, then use their legs in a scissor motion to sweep their opponent.

TECHNICAL STAND UP This maneuver is a great way to stand up when you have an opponent in guard. This is most common when a guard player has trouble sweeping an opponent.

SHOTGUN SWEEP This sweep is a similar motion to the scissor sweep, but it requires the guard player to push the knee with their foot to help move their opponent.


As a White belt, it is extremely important to learn how to pass the guard. A guard pass is a way of maneuvering past an opponent's guard to secure side control, knee ride or mount.

KNEE CUT PASS This is one of the best passes to learn even for higher belts. It requires the passer to use their knee to staple their opponent's leg to the mat, as they secure an underhook and slide through the guard securing side control. 

TOREANDO PASS This pass is for getting past an opponent's open guard. The passer utilises two grips on their opponent's knees, as they step past and secure a knee ride.

BULL PASS The Bull pass is a way for the passer to control their opponent's legs and drive into their abdomen with their shoulder.

TRIPOD PASS This is a pass that involves the passer to stack their opponent and use a shuffling motion to break free of the guard, landing in side control or the mount position.


There are a few submissions that White belts will commonly learn on their way to a belt promotion. 

AMERICANA This is one of the first submissions that a White belt will learn. It is a bent arm lock that is generally secured from side control or the mount position. It is a rotating submission that puts pressure on an opponent's shoulder.

ARMBAR This submission is one of the most common in the world. It is a straight arm lock that hyperextends the elbow joint. This submission can be secured from all positions but is most common from guard or the mount position. 

REAR NAKED CHOKE This choke has another term (Mata Lao) it is a choke that is secured from when you have an opponent in back control. This move is arguably the most prolific and successful submission in Jiu Jitsu's history.

TRIANGLE The Triangle is another high percentage submission that involves a practitioner using their legs to choke their opponents neck.

KIMURA This submission is another style of bent arm lock that is similar to the Americana, the only difference being the wrist is pushed up behind their back rather than high above their head.

CROSS COLLAR CHOKE This submission is one that involves using lapel grips to execute a choke. It is extremely common from guard or the mount position.

GUILLOTINE The Guillotine submission is a choke that is secured from a front headlock position. 


Learning how to escape positions is one of the most important aspects for a White belt, as they will need to know how to survive. There are many escapes for a beginner to learn from all positions, the first few they need to know are;

ELBOW ESCAPE: When a practitioner is stuck under their opponents full mount the elbow escape is a great way to get back to full guard. The mechanics are simple, turn onto your side and push the opponents knees with both hands and escape the bottom leg securing half guard, then turn your body and escape back into full closed guard.

UMPA ESCAPE: This escape is another mount escape that utilises an overhook on one side and a leg to trap the same side foot, and then an underhook on the other side, the practitioner then uses a high energy bridge to roll their opponent over and land in the closed guard.

FRAMING ESCAPES: There are many escapes that work where the practitioner uses frames to create space. This concept works from all positions and should be practised at an early stage.


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White belts must be able to have an understanding of the stand up game. They don't need to be experts as White belts but they do need to understand base, footwork and how to use dominant grips.

SINGLE LEG: This takedown is one of the first a beginner will learn. It involves securing the leg of their opponent and using their head as a way to force them to the ground.

DOUBLE LEG: The Double Leg takedown is a little more advanced and takes a lot of repetition to master, but White belts should practise this technique. It involves shooting in at an opponent off one knee as they secure both legs, and in a sideways driving motion, take their opponent to the floor.

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white belt jiu jitsu moves

There are a multitude of moves that can be taught to White belts, as they will vary from club to club. A White belt does not need to master them all for promotion, but they do have to be competent in most and master a select few. It is really up to the comprehension of the White belt as to what they are capable of retaining, which is why students reach different levels at different times. Overall learning Jiu Jitsu is an incredible passtime and it is highly recommended for self defense, fun and fitness.

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