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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Beginner Guide

Beginner Guide

When first starting Jiu Jitsu, it can feel extremely overwhelming / confusing.  Almost everyone feels the same way.  Everyone who starts Jiu Jitsu, is new to Jiu Jitsu.  That statement might sound like I'm stating the obvious, but it's a true statement, and it's worth thinking about for a minute.  It means that everyone that you train with, started as a beginner.  Ideally, they all remember what it was like to start out as a beginner, and they do their best to make new people feel as welcome and comfortable as possible.  

A Good Place to Start:

A good place to start learning Jiu Jitsu (supplemental to in-class learning) is to research the positions.  Understand that Jiu Jitsu has essentially, 7 static positions.  Of those 7 positions, each position has a dominant and inferior position (with perhaps the exception of Halfguard).  This now reflects 14 static positions, where athletes need to understand what the position is, and what their objective is from that position.

Positional Hierarchy - New.jpg

The overall goal or objective of Jiu Jitsu, is to escape inferior positions and maintain dominant positions, where you are able to submit your opponent.  The quicker you're able to identify what position you are in, and determine what your objective is from that position, the more successful you will be at achieving your objective.  Of course, your opponent wants the opposite of what you want.

Helpful Online Jiu Jitsu Resources:

Jiu Jitsu Terminology:

If you do a quick Google search, for "Jiu Jitsu Terminology", your results quickly get bombarded with a plethora of websites attempting to help you understand the multitude of Jiu Jitsu "slang" tossed around on the mats on any given day of training.  While helpful, this tidal wave of terms will seem extremely overwhelming and without context, utterly meaningless.  In many ways, the process of learning Jiu Jitsu, can be compared to learning a new language.  When you lump in the encyclopedia of nerdy Jiu Jitsu terms, it literally does in fact seem as though you're learning a new language.

Don't get overwhelmed with all of those new terms.  They'll come in time, and very quickly as you learn the art of Jiu Jitsu. 

In my opinion, the most important terms that one needs to learn or begin to understand as soon as they start learning Jiu Jitsu are....

"The Guard"

  • Any time you are able to control distance and/or posture between you and your opponent, using your legs, they are in your guard.

  • The person who controls the distance is the only person who should attack.

  • If you're not in control of the distance, you should be thinking about escaping; not attacking.

"Passing The Guard"

  • Refers to the action of getting past your opponents guard (or legs) to a dominant position, such as "Side Control" or "Mount"​


  • Refers to the action of going from an inferior position to a dominant position, when your opponent is in your guard.​

  • Or more simply put: Going from the bottom position to the top position using your legs.

"Roll" or "Rolling"

  • Refers to the action of "sparring" or "wrestling" against a resisting opponent (or training partner).​​

Training / Gym Etiquette:

  • Leave the bling at home.  You don't need jewelry when you train, so you'll end up taking it off and forgetting it.  Just leave it at home.

  • Maintain your personal hygiene.

    • Clean your training gear​ (Nobody wants to partner with "stinky gi guy")

    • Cut your finger and toe nails

    • Clean yourself

  • Always protect your training partner.  Don't do anything that you think might hurt them.  If you're looking out for them, and they're looking out for you, nobody should get hurt.

  • Wise words from Chewy: "If you think you might be being a "dick"..... you're probably being a "dick":

  • Solid advice from Keenan Cornelius:

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