Here you’ll find an ever expanding list of jiujitsu and grappling techniques, whether gi or no-gi, submission wrestling or just straight IBJJF jiujitsu. We have separated the list into Sweeps, Passes, Takedowns, Submissions, Positions, and Miscellanous tips / drills / advice.
A submission is a hold or lock from which your opponent cannot escape. The submission can attack the joints or limbs, or cause a choke or strangle. Your opponent finds that they have no way to escape and thus must either choose to submit (tap out) or go unconscious in the case of a choke or strangle, or risk a broken limb or injury to the joint in the case of a joint lock.
Joint Locks – Lower Body
Straight Ankle Lock
The straight ankle lock involves locking up the front part of the foot (the toes and the top of the foot) and immobilising the leg (usually by using your own legs to clamp on the opponent’s leg), then placing a fulcrum underneath the ankle joint and applying pressure by stretching the trapped toes and foot over the fulcrum. Depending on how the lock is applied, the pain is felt in the shins, the ankle joint itself, or in the top of the foot and the toes. The straight ankle lock can also be modified into an Aoki Lock which also involves twisting the trapped toes outwards, applying a twisting aspect to the lock.
The Estima lock, popularised by the Estima Brothers (Braulio and Victor), is similar to the ankle lock but contains a twisting motion that brings it more in line with a toe hold. To apply the lock, trap your opponent’s toes in your stomach by gripping under their ankle with a figure four hold. Bring the opponent’s toes in close to their body by advancing towards them, while applying upwards pressure with the figure four lock. This bends the joint over your wrist while pressing the toes down, creating immense pressure in the ankle joint.
The heel hook was the catalyst for the seismic shift in focus in jiujitsu and grappling in recent years thanks to its devastating effectiveness. It’s a real ‘leveller’ – if a black belt is not familiar with heel hooks, then a white belt who is has a good chance of tapping them out. The heel hook involves immobilising your opponent’s leg (usually with a leg clamp of some kind), trapping the toes under the armpit, and hooking the heel across your chest with the crook of your elbow / forearm. There are many variations of the setups, holds, and finishing techniques that focus on different areas to apply pressure, but the basic premise is pressure being applied in a twisting motion, that applies a great deal of shearing force into the ankle and knee, and the accompanying ligaments and tendons.
Inverted / Inside Heel Hook
A variation of the heel hook that turns the ankle the opposite way, attacking the inside aspect of the leg. The opponent’s leg must be immobilised, and the toes trapped, but this time you will be looking at the inside part of the leg and hooking the heel in that direction as opposed to rolling the heel over outwards in the regular heel hook.
The kneebar is a simple joint lock that immobilises the leg and applies a fulcrum to the knee, bending the joint against its normal range of motion. Usually the upper half of the leg is immobilised by pinching your thighs around your opponent’s, and the lower part of the leg is immobilised with your arms tightly gripping. The finish is applied by driving into the knee with the hips.
The toe-hold is a twisting footlock whereby the leg is immobilised and the top half of the foot is turned in towards the inside. This creates twisting, shearing pressure along the foot and ankle joint. Usually the opponent’s leg is immobilised by your legs, and the foot is held in a figure-four grip with the top hand applying the pressure.
Joint Locks – Upper Body
Americana / Hammerlock / Figure Four
A classic lock that is often applied from top side control. The arm is pinned with the elbow angle at 90 degrees
Kimura / Double Wristlock
One of the classic submissions in jiujitsu, the armbar is a simple mechanical shape that uses your hips to apply pressure to the opponent’s elbow joint, while keeping the shoulder and wrist locked in place.
Chokes and Strangles
Rear Naked Choke
Baseball Bat / Ninja Choke
Lapel Choke – various
D’Arce / Brabo
Over the many decades of development of Brazilian Jiujitsu, various recurring positions have been observed and named. Many of the positions revolve around what kind of guard one of the players has. It is useful to know the names of each position and how they interact with one another.
De La Riva Guard
Reverse De La Riva Guard / Spiral Guard
Shin on Shin
Collar and Sleeve
Back Mount / The Back
North / South
A sweep is the process of reversing a position, usually from being on one’s back with a certain kind of guard, to being in the top position. Sweeps are inevitably executed from a type of guard. A sweep is different (but still connected) to a reversal, which is an escape from underneath a bad position such as the mount, which results in a change of places (from bottom to top.)
Brazilian jiujitsu’s origins are closely connected to judo, and most ‘old school’ practitioners grew up learning staple throws from that Japanese art. While the various types of guard have become the focus in modern jiujitsu, having a good selection of takedowns that you are able to execute will help your jiujitsu game immensely. With the growing popularity of ADCC and the increasing American dominance of jiujitsu, wrestling is also becoming an ever more important part of a well-rounded jiujitsu game.
Passing the guard is considered a key part of mounting an offensive attack. Not only in modern, sport jiujitsu but also in a fighting situation – which is where jiujitsu in Brazil originated. One cannot dominate an opponent if the opponent’s guard remains in between you and them, therefore, passing the guard is key to winning a match.