Why is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu so complicated?

The initial stages of learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) can be a confusing, frustrating and overwhelming process. This confusion is understandable: grappling is complex, and it's easy to get lost in the multitude of techniques and details before you ever reach any level of mastery in the sport. Because of this complexity many people quit the art prematurely, and thus never get a chance to experience the joy and excitement of this exciting sport, which is also an incredibly effective martial art.

Grappling has 6 primary positions.  Each of these 6 positions needs to be trained both on top and bottom, and on the right and left. After that there are many additional variations of each position. Then for each of these positions you can apply a huge number of different transitions, submissions, escapes and defenses.  It's easy to see why BJJ has hundreds and hundreds of distinct techniques, and why new students can quickly feel overwhelmed. 

The 6 Primary Positions:

  1. Guard
    1. Closed Guard
    2. Open Guard
    3. Half Guard
  2. Side Mount
  3. Knee on Belly
  4. Mount
  5. Back/Rear Mount
  6. Turtle

What You Need To Learn

Here is what you need to learn in order to really start enjoying your rolling sessions:

• An ability to recognize the 6 primary positions. An example of this might be being able to say to yourself, “I'm in Turtle and my opponent is now trying to get his hooks in and get to Rear Mount” while sparring. It is empowering to understand what is going on, even if you can’t do anything about it (yet!)

• A basic idea of how to control an opponent in each of those positions. You need to learn where to grip, how to position your legs, how to posture your body and how to use your weight to control your opponent. If you're on the bottom you need to know how to position yourself so that his weight isn’t crushing you too badly and you're not giving him any obvious submission opportunities

• At least two transitions from each top position. Every top position offers ways to transition to other positions. This might include methods to pass the Guard to get to Side Mount, or go from Knee on Belly to Rear Mount

• At least two escapes or sweeps from each bottom position. Should you find yourself pinned by your opponent, you'll need a couple of ways to get out of there. If you have your opponent in your Guard you need to have a few ideas of how to sweep him and get on top

• At least two submissions from each position. The goal of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is to submit your opponent. You don’t initially need to learn every submission in the book, but knowing a couple of attacks from each position will really increase your enjoyment of this martial art




train hard, train often, learn humility