Jiu-Jitsu, a ground-based martial art originating in feudal Japan as a means of combat when a samurai lost their sword, emphasizes the strategic combination of grappling techniques, joint locks, and chokes. It embodies both a tactical and a systematic approach, described by renowned coaches like Greg Souders and John Danaher as the art and science of control leading to submission. Known as the "gentle art," Jiu-Jitsu allows practitioners to safely engage in combat by "tapping out," ensuring a balance between competitive intensity and physical safety.

The main goal in Jiu-Jitsu is to control and submit the opponent using strategic positioning and submission holds. This involves tactics such as pinning, disrupting balance, and applying submission hold early in a match to break down the opponent's defense and advance control over them.

Jiu-Jitsu features two main types of submission holds Joint Locks, which threaten the hyperextension or rotation of joints like wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, and ankles, and Chokes, which apply pressure on carotid arteries, including both arm-in and arm-out varieties. 

Submission Holds involve "tapping out" when a Submission gets too deep that your opponent can't escape. This manifests often as your partner tapping your body twice consecutively (showing it was no accidental body tap) or verbally saying Tap.

Submission Holds are applied with control, allowing your opponent time to tap out. Suppose submissions are made too quickly not to give this recognition period or are held after the person has tapped out. In that case, it is one of the most severe offenses in Jiu-Jitsu since it results in injury that is not consensual, meaning assault. Sometimes, a Jiu-Jitsu opponent might push the limits on the Submission Hold they are in to squeak out or think of a late-stage escape, but then it is on that person increasing the likelihood of injury, not the applicant. 


In Jiu-Jitsu, there are four main grappling situations that practitioners often encounter, each with its own dynamics and strategic considerations:

This situation marks the beginning of a grappling match, where both participants may start either standing or with one seated. The objective is to destabilize the opponent and transition them to the ground. Strategies may include techniques from wrestling or judo to achieve top control or initiating lower body attacks like single or double leg takedowns, leading to potential leg entanglements for leg locks.

Prism Jiu Jitsu | Escondido & San Marcos

In the guard situation, one practitioner (the top player) aims to navigate past the opponent's guard to attain a dominant position. Conversely, the bottom player uses their legs to control or attempt submissions from below. The top player focuses on passing the guard and advancing to better positions for upper-body submissions. At the same time, the bottom player might look to establish leg entanglements for attacking the legs. The leading Guards are Open Guard, Closed Guard, and Half Guard.

No Gi — Jiu Jitsu in Escondido, CA

The Top Player has secured a pinning position past the opponent’s guard or has dropped back for Lower Body Control. The objective for the Top Player is to maintain control and set up for submissions. The Bottom Player focuses on escaping the pin and starting their offense, either from Guard or on Top. The Top Player may utilize Upper Body Pins like Side Control, Mount Control, or Back Control to set up for upper body submissions, or they may use Lower Body Pins like Ashi, 50/50, or 411 for lower body submissions (leg locks).

Side Control Escapes” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

“Saddle” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

In this phase, the Top or Bottom player (the attacker) applies a submission hold while the other (the defender) tries to escape or counter the submission. This situation requires the attacker to skillfully use submission techniques like arm locks, shoulder locks, or chokes in the case of an upper body pathway or heel hooks and knee bars for lower body submissions.

“Face Choke” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

Finishing the Armbar” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

Straight Ankle Lock” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA


In grappling, our primary strategy revolves around controlling the "Inside Space," which is all about getting close to the central part of your opponent's body. Imagine it like trying to get chest-to-chest or chest-to-back, much like hugging, but with a tactical edge. Whether it's the Upper Body, where we focus on the area from the ribs to the hips and around the neck, or the Lower Body, targeting the space inside the opponent's upper thighs, the approach is similar.

As we attempt to close in, our opponent might put up defensive frames, almost like someone instinctively putting their hands up to block a hug. Our objective is to navigate past these defenses smoothly. Once we get in close, we're in a prime position to control and potentially isolate a limb or the neck for a submission.

In a more relaxed analogy, grappling is trying to strap your opponent in like a car seat. We're aiming for secure holds – like a waist strap or a seatbelt grip from neck to shoulder, or sometimes going for double underhooks. It's about ensuring a snug, controlled fit that restricts their movement, much like a seatbelt secures you in a car. So, in a way, grappling is about mastering the art of this strategic 'embrace,' where you aim to get close and secure while your opponent tries to maintain their space.

In grappling, presenting dilemmas to your opponent is a crucial strategy. This concept is about forcing your opponent into making a difficult choice, often between two unfavorable outcomes. It's similar to the choice in the phrase "your money or your life" — you might choose to lose something small (like your money) to avoid a more significant loss (your life). While there's still a loss, it's a strategic compromise.

Understanding and employing dilemmas becomes increasingly vital as one's grappling knowledge deepens. For instance, if an attacker goes for an Arm Lock and the defender blocks it, it might initially seem like a deadlock. The attacker is thwarted, but the defender feels confidence in stopping the submission. Yet, in defending against one threat, the defender might unknowingly expose themselves to another, such as a better positioning opportunity for the attacker.

With growing experience in grappling, you'll become more adept at creating simultaneous threats for your opponent. Beginners might struggle against single maneuvers due to their limited understanding, but your approach needs to evolve as you progress. You'll start to combine threats, and with further refinement, you'll master the skill of setting subtle traps. These traps are integrated into your grappling strategy, catching opponents off guard.

This strategic dimension elevates grappling from a physical contest to a cerebral sport. It involves foresight, adaptability, and a constant search for tactical advantages, appealing to practitioners at all levels of expertise.

You will often hear about being in an Offensive Cycle versus a Defensive Cycle in class. In simple terms, you always want your opponent reacting to your game versus you reacting to their game. If you are in a constant state of reaction, eventually your opponent will push enough dilemma situations on you that you will either be forced to give up more pinning positions to your opponent or potentially be exposed to submission holds. 


Think of it like boxing. It might feel comfortable to put your hands up and hide from punches, but the reality is a good boxer will start setting you up with baited reactions. For example, they might jab you a lot in the face to get your hands up, and eventually, one time you get your hands up they will hit you in the torso, or vice versa (going for the torso and then hitting you in the head). 


Always ask yourself in a Jiu-Jitsu match "Are they reacting to me more or am I reacting to them more?" Even though it is vital to have good defensive skills to prevent being held or stuck in a submission, the defensive abilities must provide just enough time to create an opening to return to the offensive cycle. 


Within these Grappling Situations, there are tasks to be accomplished to advance the match. The techniques you learn in class are manifestations of efficient ways to accomplish the task. For example, our goal in Guard Passing is to ‘access the Hip Line’. One efficient technique to do so is the ‘Knee Slice Pass’.

This situation marks the beginning of a grappling match, where both participants may start either standing or with one seated. The objective here is to destabilize the opponent and transition them to the ground. Strategies may include techniques from wrestling or judo to achieve top control or initiating lower body attacks like single or double leg takedowns, leading to potential leg entanglements for leg locks.

Open Guard (Seated)

  • Top Person: Aim to pin the bottom person to their back, overcoming their seated guard.
  • Bottom Person Goals:
    • Level 1: Maintain Seated Guard, keeping feet inside the top person's knees, head pointed at the top player, and hands on the inside of biceps or outside of their triceps.
    • Level 2: Make the top player post, disrupting their balance and control.
    • Level 3: Connect to the Shoulder Line, utilizing double underhooks or an over-under grip.

Open Guard (Supine)

  • Top Person Goals:
    • Remove connections (hands/feet) established by the bottom person.
    • Advance to the knee line (one leg in, one leg out or both legs outside the knees).
    • Achieve hip control, establishing chest-to-chest contact for half guard or side control.
  • Bottom Person Goals:
    • Obtain and maintain connections with hands and feet.
    • Achieve inside control, keeping both feet inside.
    • Achieve entanglement (e.g., Single Leg X-Guard or X-Guard).
    • Destabilize the top person, forcing their hands or feet to the floor.

Closed Guard

  • Top Person Goals:
    • Level 1: Seek inside upper body control to neutralize the bottom person's movements.
    • Level 2: Posture up to a standing position to begin breaking the closed guard.
    • Level 3: Work to unlock the closed guard and transition to a more advantageous position.
  • Bottom Person Goals:
    • Level 1: Seek inside upper body control and destabilize the top person if they stand.
    • Level 2: Achieve overhooks or underhooks for control and potential attacks or transitions.

Half Guard

  • Top Person Goals:
    • Level 1: Use underhooks to transition from quarter guard or three-quarter mount to side control or full mount.
    • Level 2: Utilize underhooks and the free leg to free the trapped leg, moving to quarter guard or three-quarter mount.
    • Level 3: Consistently achieve underhooks for control and transition.
  • Bottom Person Goals:
    • Level 1: Free yourself from underhooks to prevent the top person from advancing.
    • Level 2: Transition to butterfly half or knee shield for improved defense and control.

Top Person Goals in Pin Situations

  1. Maintain Hip Connection (Level 1): The top person aims to maintain a continuous hip connection with the bottom person, preventing them from creating space to escape or counter.

  2. Clear Frames, Chest-to-Chest Connection (Level 2): The goal here is to clear any defensive frames set up by the bottom person and establish a closer, chest-to-chest connection, increasing control and reducing the bottom person's movement options.

  3. Seek a Near Side Underhook (Level 3): Achieving a near-side underhook allows the top person to further control the bottom person's torso and limit their ability to escape or mount an offense.

  4. Submit Your Partner (Level 4): With control established, the top person's ultimate goal is to find an opportunity to submit the bottom person, utilizing their dominant position.

Bottom Person Goals in Pin Situations

  1. Seated Open Guard (Level 1): The bottom person aims to transition to a seated open guard, a position that offers more defensive and offensive options compared to being pinned.

  2. Standing Recovery (Level 2): Here, the objective is to move from a disadvantaged position on the ground to a standing position, resetting the dynamic and offering a chance to reengage on more equal terms.

Note: For the bottom person, achieving a reversal at any time is considered a successful outcome, as it turns the tables on the top person and shifts the control of the situation.

Top Person Goal

  • Achieve Inside Position: Gain control of the inside space, which is crucial for setting up leg entanglements.
  • Secure Entanglement: Focus on effectively controlling the opponent’s leg(s).
  • Maintain Hip Connection: Stay close to prevent the bottom person from creating space and escaping.
  • Isolate and Control Limbs: Access both of the partner's legs, aiming to isolate and control a limb for submissions.
  • Heel Hook Focus or Back Control: Capture the partner’s toes for heel hooks or transition to taking the back.

Bottom Person Goal

  • Negation and Escape: Prevent the top person from advancing their position, focusing on freeing the leg from entanglement.
  • Counter Submission or Passing: Look for opportunities to counter-attack or pass the top person’s legs to escape or gain a more advantageous position.

In this phase, either the Top or Bottom player (the attacker) applies a submission hold, while the other (the defender) tries to escape or counter the submission. This situation requires the attacker to skillfully apply submission techniques like arm locks, shoulder locks, or chokes in the case of an upper body pathway, or heel hooks and knee bars for lower body submissions.


  • Opening Game: This initial phase is about establishing control and positioning. Practitioners focus on takedowns, sweeps, and practical ground maneuvers to gain an advantage. The primary goal is to set a strong foundation for the rest of the match, either by achieving a dominant position or negating the opponent's initial strategy.

  • Middle Game: In this phase, the emphasis shifts to enhancing control and setting up for submission. It involves complex techniques like passing the guard, improving positional control, and preparing for submission holds. The middle game is a blend of offense and defense, requiring practitioners to adapt to their opponent's movements and strategies constantly.

  • End Game: The final phase of the match is centered around securing a submission. Practitioners utilize the control and positions established in the earlier phases to apply joint locks or chokeholds to compel submission. This phase demands precision, timing, a deep understanding of submission techniques, and the ability to anticipate and counter the opponent's defensive tactics.

When starting a Jiu-Jitsu match, your approach should be informed by your chosen submission pathway and your opponent's initial position.

Upper Body Submission Pathway

  1. Based on the Opponent's Stance:
    • If Opponent is Standing: Destabilize and bring them to the ground. Use takedowns, back takes, or front headlocks to gain upper-body control.
    • If the Opponent is Seated, Bypass their feet and knees and engage in guard passing to gain a positional advantage.
  2. Advance to Isolation and Submission: Progressively isolate the upper body to control and set up submissions.
  3. Switch to Lower Body if Necessary: If you struggle to control the upper body, use this as an opportunity to transition to lower body attacks.

Lower Body Submission Pathway

  1. Engage from Guard: Start in a seated or supine guard position suitable for initiating leg entanglements. Aim to get your legs in between the opponent's legs. This helps in destabilizing them down to the floor.
  2. Advance Leg Entanglements and Submissions: Once destabilized, advance to leg entanglements. Seek to control and isolate the opponent’s legs for submissions such as heel hooks or ankle locks.
  3. Switch to Upper Body if Necessary: If lower body submissions prove challenging, use the attempts to transition to upper body attacks. This can involve switching focus to pins and upper body control.

General Considerations

  • Adaptability and Tactical Shifts: Be adaptable in your strategy, shifting focus between upper and lower body based on the opponent's defense and your positional advantage.
  • Initial Engagement and Control: The initial engagement should disrupt the opponent's balance and establish control, setting the tone for the rest of the match.
  • Continuous Assessment: Continuously assess and adapt to your opponent's defenses, exploiting openings for either upper or lower-body submissions.


  1. CONTRIBUTE TO GROWTH: Be sensitive to your partner's skill level and maintain open communication. Ask yourself, “How can I best contribute to my partner's progress today?”
  2. SAFETY BEFORE SUBMISSION: The welfare of your partner is paramount. If you need more certainty about the safety of a move, refrain and seek guidance.
  3. PRIORITIZE SKILL DEVELOPMENT: Let the focus be on honing technical skills that amplify long-term grappling success.
  4. OBSERVE YOUR BREATH: Manage your cardio by focusing on breathing. The more you learn, the more relaxed you will be.
  5. FOSTER RESPECT: Commitment to inclusivity is our strength, fostering a space where the diversity of our students enriches the grappling experience for all.
  6. PRACTICE GREAT HYGIENE: Ensure your gear is clean, your nails are trimmed, and you are in good health for yourself and your partners.
  7. TAP!: Understand the essence of 'tap and learn.' There's no shame in tapping; it's a necessary learning curve that enhances your development.
  8. BE INQUISITIVE: Seek advice from others when faced with challenges, turning hurdles into learning.
  9. ENGAGE WITH PARTNERS: Nurture connections with your partners. A supportive community is the foundation of an enriching environment.
  10. KEEP LIGHTHEARTED: Cherish the camaraderie, share laughs, and measure your training quality by the joy and learning it brings.


Understanding Your Partner's Focus / Initiate with a Question: At the start of a rolling session, it's essential to ask your partner if they have a specific area they'd like to focus on, possibly something they're learning in class. This not only shows respect but also helps both of you to target particular skills.

Engaging with New Training Partners / Start Slow: Beginning slowly is crucial when rolling with a new partner. You still need to become familiar with their experience level, any existing injuries, or their approach to rolling. This initial caution helps in creating a safe and respectful training environment.
Gauge Their Skills Thoughtfully: Instead of immediately applying full force or speed, understand your partner’s skill level. For example, if you're working on passing their guard, don't rush. Give them the chance to attempt a sweep or initiate a move. If they succeed, it gives you valuable insight into their abilities, which you can adapt to in subsequent interactions.

Tap Out Etiquette: In the spirit of growth and mutual learning, it's essential to recalibrate if you find yourself successfully tapping out your partner more than twice during a session. Give them opportunities to challenge you in return. Dominating a training partner without giving them a chance to learn and respond isn't productive for either of you. If you're receiving such an imbalance, please discuss it with me or another instructor.

In Jiu-Jitsu, grappling knowledge is a powerful tool that can help overcome differences in physical attributes like age, size, or athleticism. However, in a sport with such a wide variety of training partners, you'll occasionally encounter particularly pronounced gaps. It's essential to recognize that physicality, as in other sports, can significantly enhance performance. But the beauty of Jiu-Jitsu lies in its ability to bridge these gaps, empowering you to succeed even when you're not the younger or stronger competitor. There comes a point, though, where the gap might be too wide for your current level of knowledge. In such situations, it's crucial to acknowledge this and focus on advancing your technical skills and, if possible, enhancing your physical attributes like strength and mobility. This balanced approach to training enriches your Jiu-Jitsu journey, preparing you to face and adapt to a diverse range of challenges on the mats.


In Jiu-Jitsu, the "slap bump" is a customary gesture between practitioners before rolling (sparring) or drilling techniques. It's a sign of respect and camaraderie, symbolizing a greeting and an agreement to engage in a mutual learning experience. Here's how it typically works:

  1. The Slap: Both practitioners raise one hand and gently slap each other's open palm. This part of the gesture is akin to a high-five and represents a greeting or acknowledgment of each other.

  2. The Bump: Immediately following the slap, the same hands are used to bump fists. This fist bump is a universal sign of respect and sportsmanship.

The slap-bump ritual has several underlying meanings:

  • Respect: It's a sign of respect towards your training partner.
  • Readiness: It indicates that both practitioners are ready to begin the roll or drill.
  • Safety: It's a non-verbal agreement to practice safely and care for each other during the training session.
  • Sportsmanship: It embodies the spirit of camaraderie and healthy competition.

The slap bump is more than just a formality; it's a part of the culture that reinforces the values of respect, trust, and mutual support in the grappling community.

Signaling submission to your partner by tapping the mat or the opponent twice (also verbally yelling TAP if necessary), indicating that you can no longer continue due to a submission hold. This allows us to practice Jiu-Jitsu safely without hurting anyone. You should always be cognizant when you are stuck, and when you are putting your partner in a submission hold.

Sparring in Jiu-Jitsu, where practitioners test their skills against each other in a controlled, often non-competitive, environment.

A technique used to reverse a position from the bottom, often from the guard, to end up on top of the opponent.

"NoGi" refers to the sport of Submission Grappling that doesn't use the traditional Kimono (gi) that is used in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


In Jiu-Jitsu, the ranking system is represented by different colored belts, each indicating a higher level of understanding and proficiency. The general progression of belt colors is as follows:

White Belt

Blue Belt

Purple Belt

Brown Belt

Black Belt

White Belt generally is about understanding the framework of how grappling works. Blue Belt is about utilizing this framework in matches. Purple Belt is about developing efficient systems of offense and defense. Brown Belt is about increasing efficiency in your movements. Black Belt is about focusing on the micro details of all the above.

Above the black belt are additional distinguished ranks for those with extensive experience and contributions to the art, from a red-black belt to a red belt. Still, these are relatively rare and represent a lifelong dedication to Jiu-Jitsu.

1. Class Requirements and Progression

  • Estimated Class Count: On average, students are expected to attend about 20 classes per stripe, totaling approximately 80 classes to complete all four stripes of the white belt.
  • Individual Variability: Understanding that each member's journey in Jiu-Jitsu is unique, the class count is a guideline rather than a strict requirement. The rate of progression will depend on individual factors such as learning pace, ability to apply techniques in sparring, and consistency in training.

2. Evaluation and Feedback

  • Regular Check-ins: Every 20 classes, instructors will conduct formal evaluations to assess the student's understanding, technical proficiency, and practical application of the skills relevant to their current stripe level.
  • Feedback Mechanism: Instructors will provide personalized feedback, highlighting areas of strength and aspects needing improvement. This feedback is crucial for guiding the learning process and ensuring they are on the right track for progression.

3. Criteria for Advancement

  • Technical Proficiency: Students must demonstrate a clear understanding and ability to perform the techniques required for each stripe level. This includes both offensive and defensive aspects of Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Practical Application: Ability to apply techniques effectively in sparring sessions, particularly against peers and more experienced practitioners. This includes demonstrating control, resilience, and strategic thinking during sparring.
  • Knowledge Application: Understanding the principles and concepts behind the techniques, not just the physical execution. This includes knowing when and why to use specific techniques in various scenarios.

4. Adaptability and Personal Growth

  • Adaptive Learning: Recognizing that each student has a unique learning style, the curriculum is designed to be flexible and adaptable. Instructors will work with students to address their specific needs and learning preferences.
  • Personal Development: Emphasis is placed not only on physical skills but also on personal growth, such as developing patience, resilience, and a problem-solving mindset. Jiu-Jitsu is as much about mental and emotional development as physical skills.

5. Community and Support

  • Training Environment: A supportive and collaborative training environment is essential. Experienced members are encouraged to help less experienced members, fostering a sense of community.
  • Peer Learning: Learning from peers is a crucial aspect of Jiu-Jitsu. Students are encouraged to engage with each other, share knowledge, and provide constructive feedback.

Stripe 1: Guard Proficiency

  • Objective:
    • Achieve proficiency in both playing and passing the guard.
  • Criteria:
    • Consistently pass and play guard against less experienced practitioners.
    • Attain a 50% success rate in playing and passing the guard against peers.
    • Focus on defensive guard play and guard retention against more experienced practitioners.
  • Focus Area:
    • Developing a balanced skill set in the guard, encompassing offensive guard play and defensive guard.

Stripe 2: Pinning and Offensive Control

  • Objective:
    • Master control in pinning positions and initiate effective attacks from these positions.
  • Criteria:
    • Demonstrate control and initiate attacks from pin positions against less experienced practitioners.
    • Maintain effective pin control and offensive strategy against peers.
    • Focus on maintaining positions and defending against submissions when facing more experienced practitioners.
  • Focus Area:
    • Pinning techniques, offensive transitions from pins, and maintaining control.

Stripe 3: Submission and Control

  • Objective:
    • Excel in controlling opponents and applying various submissions effectively.
  • Criteria:
    • Control and submit less experienced practitioners with proficiency.
    • Apply and succeed with submission techniques against peers.
    • Employ defensive strategies and escapes against more skilled opponents.
  • Focus Area:
    • Submission execution, maintaining control in various positions, and transitioning effectively between control and submissions.

Stripe 4: Counter-Offense and Escapes

  • Objective:
    • Develop skills in counter-attacks and escaping from disadvantageous positions.
  • Criteria:
    • Effectively counter-attack and escape against less experienced practitioners.
    • Show resilience and adept defensive skills against peers.
    • Emphasize defense, escape tactics, and survival strategies against more experienced practitioners.
  • Focus Area:
    • Escapes from common holds and submissions, developing counter-offensive techniques, and transitioning from defense to offense.

Core Understanding and Competence

  • Significance of Blue Belt: Achieving a blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu signifies a student's core understanding of how Jiu-Jitsu operates. It reflects a comprehensive grasp of the fundamental principles, techniques, and strategies of the art.
  • Practical Application: A blue belt holder demonstrates the ability to perform all major Jiu-Jitsu tasks effectively. This includes handling opponents with little to no grappling experience, and competently managing situations even against opponents who are larger or more athletic.

Celebration and Community Involvement

  • Celebration of Achievement: The promotion to a blue belt is more than just a step up in rank; it's a celebration of the student's journey and achievements in Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Options for Celebration: Students can choose how they wish to celebrate this milestone. They may teach a class, focusing on concepts and techniques that have been pivotal in their journey, engage in sparring sessions for some fun and challenging rolls, or opt for a quieter, more personal acknowledgment of their achievement.
  • Community Aspect: It's encouraged to celebrate this achievement within the Jiu-Jitsu community. The promotion is not only a personal accomplishment but also a testament to the support, guidance, and interaction with fellow students and instructors. Recognizing this communal effort highlights the importance of the supportive environment in a student’s growth and development in Jiu-Jitsu.

Additional Notes

  • Reflective of Individual Journey: The path to a blue belt is unique to each student, and the promotion is a recognition of their individual dedication, perseverance, and personal growth in the art of Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Continued Growth: While the blue belt is a significant milestone, it also marks the beginning of deeper exploration and refinement of skills as students continue their journey in Jiu-Jitsu.

The Blue Belt Promotion represents a crucial phase in a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner's path, symbolizing a solid foundation in the art and the beginning of a more advanced and nuanced exploration of its techniques and philosophies.


THEORY is a medium and platform for you to develop your game. There are amazing resources out online for other Jiu-Jitsu experts sharing their Jiu-Jitsu expertise with other practitioners. Here are a few good resources to check out: 

REDDIT (r/bjj)This sub-Reddit is basically one massive forum dedicated to all things grappling. You can search in here and get basically any question answered, or you can post a subject and many people will be willing to reach out to answer it.


It breaks down a lot of Jiu-Jitsu concepts in easy-to-understand formats. 


It's a great channel to watch some high-level NoGi Matches.

A great team located in Austin that is not only high-level but very relaxed.


One of my favorite cheap resources, Grappler's Guide, is run by Jason Scully. He has many great quick videos on the many options you can do from different positions. I highly recommend it if you want to see what is possible with Jiu-Jitsu.


This free online seminar resource showcases many seminars from this organization worldwide. It is a fantastic resource to dive deep into a few areas as if you are taking a seminar there.

He is a mix of Gi or NoGi and explains content well!


This is the number one site when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu instructionals. They have a vast array of options for deep dives that you can get into to learn systems and how things work.

Here are a top few people I would recommend:
- John Danaher (considered the best jiujitsu coach on the planet)
- Gordon Ryan (considered the best competitor, almost greatest of all time at this point)
- Craig Jones (one of the best in the world, very relaxed personality, right to the point)
- Lachlan Giles (high-level competitor, trained Craig Jones, the highly articulate instructor)

If you decide to get any of these or any other instructional, please utilize any of their discount codes (which happen all the time). If you get the Honey Chrome App Extension, you can find codes people have used recently (you can always get a minimum of 30% off).

Second, you should always look at their Daily Deals, which are instructionals that are 50% Off. If you stack that with a coupon code, it's a pretty good savings.

For any of these sites, I recommend a month or two on and feel if the content is worth it to you!

The owner, Lachlan Giles, is a fantastic instructor who deep-dives things clearly and concisely. You can't go wrong with this site!

Ran by Eddie Bravo, it is one of the best deals you will get for the amount of content he puts out. At $4.99 a month, he has episodes and a vast technique database that is everything NoGi. They have unique styles and techniques, so feel free to explore!

They have a spotless setup; they mix Gi and NoGi, but their technique is very on point.

Besides THEORY rashguards:

Gold makes some quality gear, their shorts are really nice!

RVCA $$$

Very slick gear, certainly $$$ but they last. 


I have always been a fan of Tatami's quality and slick designs, little more expensive but they are cool.

Very slick designs and quality

Sanabul has a mix of quality and being at a cheaper price, seems to be consistent across the board. 

This isn't particularly a link, but I know people (myself included) enjoy wearing things like a Batman rashguard. It seems like most sites that make these seem to go out of business not that long after, but if you are interested in finding one and ordering it, I would suggest something like "Batman Rashguard" (fill in for whatever you want) and you should be able to find it. They are usually cheap-ish, but fun to have. 

Enhancing physicality in Jiu-Jitsu through strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular training is crucial for performance improvement. Here’s a guide on how to approach each aspect with recommended resources:

1. Strength Training
Strength is essential in Jiu-Jitsu for control, maintaining positions, and 'armor-proofing' joints.

- **Deadlifts and Squats**: These exercises build overall body strength, which is particularly beneficial for the wedging and pulling movements in Jiu-Jitsu.
- **Resource**: Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe focuses on the fundamentals of these lifts, emphasizing form and technique.

- **Core Strength**: Lower abdominal strength is critical for bridging and hip escapes. Exercises like hanging leg raises are efficient.
- **Resource**: "Core Training for Grappling" by Stuart McGill, offering insights into building a solid core for grappling sports.

2. Flexibility
Flexibility, especially in the hips, can significantly enhance your performance in Jiu-Jitsu.

- **Yoga for Grappling**: Yoga improves flexibility and benefits hip mobility and spinal flexibility.
- **Resource**: "Yoga for Grapplers" provides programs tailored for grappling athletes.

- **Dynamic Stretching**: Include dynamic stretches in your warm-up routine to prepare muscles for training.
- **Resource**: "Becoming a Supple Leopard" by Dr. Kelly Starrett offers extensive stretching and mobility techniques.

3. Cardiovascular Training
Cardio training, especially High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), is practical for simulating the energy bursts in grappling.

- **HIIT Workouts**: With intense activity bursts followed by rest, HIIT can significantly boost endurance.
- **Resource**: "HIIT for Grappling" by Ross Enamait provides tailored HIIT workouts for combat sports.

- **Running or Cycling**: These activities also help build cardiovascular endurance.
- **Resource**: Programs like "Couch to 5K" or basic cycling routines on platforms like Strava are suitable for beginners.

General Tips:
- **Consistency**: Regular practice of these exercises is critical to seeing improvements.
- **Balanced Training**: Maintain a balance between grappling practice and supplemental exercises to prevent overtraining.
- **Listen to Your Body**: Adjust your training based on your body’s feedback.

Incorporating these exercises into your regimen will prepare you physically for the demands of grappling and complement your technical skill development on the mats. Remember, physical conditioning is a journey that goes hand-in-hand with your grappling training.




This involves the practitioner sitting with one shin against the inside of the opponent's shin, creating a barrier. The practitioner often grips the opponent's leg or ankle with one hand. This position helps control distance and set up sweeps or transitions, such as Single Leg X Guard.

BJJ Positional Study: Shin-to-Shin & Single Leg X (Ashi Garami) – The Jiu  Jitsu Brotherhood

In this position, the practitioner sits on the mat with their back straight, using their feet to hook inside the opponent's thighs. The knees are bent and angled outward, creating a 'butterfly' shape with the legs. The practitioner's hands can grip the opponent's sleeves, wrists, or collar, ready to control their movements or initiate sweeps.

Passing Butterfly” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA


Level 1: Maintain Seated Guard (Keep Feet inside Knees, Head Pointed at the Top Player, hands on the inside of biceps or outside of their triceps)

Level 2: Make Top Player's Hands Post

Level 3: Connect to the Shoulder Line (Double Underhooks or Over Under)

Level 4: Upgrade Position (Sweep / Back / Legs)

Level 1: Get their hands posted to the ground or across their body

Level 2: Achieve Body Lock (hugging around their hips, underhooks)

Level 3: Pin the player to their back with a Body Lock



From a supine (on the back) position, the practitioner wraps one leg around the opponent's thigh (just above the knee) and hooks the ankle with their foot. The other leg is placed across the opponent's hips, with the foot hooking behind the opponent's far thigh. The practitioner's hands control the opponent's same-side leg, either at the ankle or knee. This guard is effective for off-balancing the opponent and setting up leg locks or sweeps.

Similar to the Single Leg X Guard, but both of the practitioner's legs are actively engaged. One leg is hooked around the opponent's thigh, and the other leg hooks behind the opponent's other thigh, forming an 'X' shape. The practitioner's arms control one of the opponent's legs. This position is excellent for sweeps and transitioning to other leg attacks.

Single Leg X and X-Guard” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

Here, the practitioner, lying on their back, hooks one foot on the inside of the opponent's lead leg, wrapping around the thigh and securing the ankle. The other leg can push against the opponent's other leg or hip. The practitioner uses their hands to control the opponent's wrists or legs. This guard is versatile for sweeps, back takes, and submissions.

No-Gi De La Riva” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

In this position, the practitioner, while on their back, hooks one foot around the outside of the opponent's lead leg, with the shin pressed against the inside of the opponent's thigh. The other leg can control the opponent's other leg or hip. Hand grips vary based on the desired technique but often involve wrist or leg control. This guard helps create off-balancing angles and set up sweeps.


Reverse De La Riva (RDLR)” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA


Level 1: Obtain and Maintain Connections (Hands/Feet)

Level 2: Achieve Inside Control (Both feet inside)

Level 3: Achieve Open Guard Entanglement (SLX / X)

Level 4: Destabilize Partner (Hands or Hips to Floor)

Level 1: Stay Standing

Level 2: Remove Connections (Hands/Feet)

Level 3: Advance to the Knee Line (One in One Out / Both Outside the Knees)

Level 4: Achieve Top Hip Control (Half Guard or Side Control)




In the closed guard, the bottom student wraps their legs around the opponent's torso, creating a closed circuit. This position enables control over the opponent's posture and hips, limiting their movement and ability to apply pressure. It is a launching pad for attacks like chokes, arm locks, and sweeps. The closed guard is essential for understanding the principles of breaking down an opponent's defenses and setting up intricate attacks.

Understanding Closed Guard with Gordon Ryan – BJJ Fanatics

Closed Guard Variants:

  • Side Scissor
  • Clamp Guard
  • Rubber Guard
  • Top Lock
  • Trapped Triangle

This variation involves the practitioner turning to one side while maintaining the closed guard. This consists of having the person's arm across their body while you clamp onto their back with your outside hand so both arms are on one side of the body. This position sets up a multitude of sweeps and submissions.

Side Scissor: Taking the Back & Juji from Closed Guard (No Gi  BJJ/Grappling) - YouTube

Here, the practitioner, from a closed guard, shifts their hips to one side and clamps one leg down over the opponent's back, pinning one of the opponent's arms. The other leg remains wrapped around the opponent's waist. This position is excellent for controlling opponents and setting up arm locks or chokes.

Overhook Closed Guard” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

In this position, the practitioner uses their flexibility to bring one leg up high around the opponent's back, often grabbing their own foot or ankle to maintain control. This isolates the opponent's arm and can limit their posture and movement, setting up potential submissions like triangles or omoplatas.

rubber guard | Bjj Eastern Europe

The practitioner sets up this position by trapping one of the opponent's arms and their head between their thighs, resembling the start of a triangle choke. This position can control the opponent and leads directly into a triangle choke.

Master The Triangle Choke With This Simple Tip – BJJ Fanatics

From a closed guard, the practitioner shifts their hips to isolate one of the opponent’s arms, clamping their thighs around it. This position is a precursor to various arm locks, including the armbar.

Armbar From Top Lock Position by Giancarlo Bodoni - YouTube


Level 1: Get Elbows Away or Across Their Body

Level 2: Connect to the Shoulder Line (Overhooks/Underhooks)

Level 3: Upgrade Your Position To Pinning Position or Submission Position

Level 1: Seek Inside Upper Body Control (Hands on their Biceps/Elbows, no control over your head)

Level 2: Posture to Standing / Hands Off Partner

Level 3: Unlock Closed Guard




In this position, the top practitioner uses pressure and weight to 'smash' down on the bottom practitioner, who has one of the top's legs trapped in half guard. The top player works to flatten and control the bottom player, setting up passes or submissions.

The bottom practitioner extends their legs and entwines them around the opponent’s leg, effectively 'locking' it down. This can be used to prevent the opponent from passing the guard and sets up sweeps or transitions to other positions.

Lockdown Half Guard Fundamental Sweeps | Ball exercises, Jiu jitsu, Guard

A combination of half guard and butterfly guard, the bottom practitioner uses one leg to hook inside the opponent's thigh (like in butterfly guard), while the other leg traps the opponent’s other leg in a half guard. This position is useful for sweeps and maintaining control.

Half Butterfly” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

The bottom practitioner slides under the opponent, lifting them slightly and positioning themselves so that they are almost underneath the opponent. This allows for a variety of sweeps and can disrupt the opponent’s balance.

Robert Cyborg Abreau - Half Guard to Deep Half to Back to Armbar | BJJ Tips

Also known as the knee shield, this position involves the bottom practitioner placing a shin across the opponent’s waist, with the knee pointing upward, creating a 'Z' shape with their legs. This can be used to manage distance and set up sweeps or submissions.

Half Guard” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

1/4 Guard is when you have connection with only their shin as they are looking to complete a Guard Pass, but they are not covering your hips.


Half Guard and Quarter Guard - YouTube


Level 1: Free Yourself from Underhooks / Connect to their Shoulder Line

Level 2: Bring your feet back inside their knees

Level 3: Upgrade Position with Sweep or Back Take

Level 1: Achieve Underhooks

Level 2: Underhooks, Free Your Trapped Knee (Go to ¼ Guard or ¾ Mount (using Free Leg to free the Trapped Leg)

Level 3: Achieve Side Control or Mount




This is a foundational position where you lie perpendicular to your opponent, controlling them with your weight and grips. Your arm closest to the opponent's head controls under their neck, and your other arm goes under their far arm, often gripping the material of their gi or their body for control.


  • To establish a stable and dominant position, preventing the opponent from escaping or reversing.
  • To transition to submissions or more dominant positions based on the opponent's reactions.

In the side crucifix, you trap one of your opponent's arms between your legs, similar to a crucifix, while controlling their upper body with your arms. This position is particularly effective for setting up armlocks or chokes since the opponent has one less arm to defend with.


  • To immobilize one of the opponent's arms, creating opportunities for submissions.
  • To maintain control while preventing the opponent from regaining their arm or turning into you.

Kesa Gatame, or scarf hold, is a control position where you wrap your arm around the opponent's head and secure their arm, holding them closely to your body. Your legs are spread out to base out and prevent being rolled.


  • To control the opponent’s upper body with a tight grip, limiting their ability to breathe and move.
  • To use the position to apply pressure and potentially transition to armlocks or other submissions.

This position has you positioned over the opponent's head, with your body aligned north to south in relation to them. It is a transition point for various submissions, including kimuras, arm chokes, and transitions back to side control.


  • To disorient the opponent and limit their visibility and mobility.
  • To establish a control point from which to attack the arms or neck with submissions.

From side control, you place your knee on the opponent's belly, driving weight down for pressure. This position allows for mobility and the ability to respond to the opponent's movements, transitioning quickly to full mount or responding to escape attempts.


  • To exert control and pressure on the opponent, making them uncomfortable and forcing reactions.
  • To use the position as a launching point for submissions or to advance to more dominant positions.


In the front turtle position, you face the opponent's head while they are in a turtle position, often with your chest against their back. This position is used to control an opponent who is trying to protect their neck and limbs by tucking in tightly.


  • To prevent the opponent from regaining a guard or escaping.
  • To set up submissions like guillotines or anacondas, or transition to the back.


Controlling from the rear turtle means you are behind the opponent as they are in a turtle position. Here, you can control their hips and upper body, looking for openings to insert your hooks for back control or to attack with submissions.


  • To establish hooks and control for back take transitions.
  • To capitalize on any openings for chokes or joint locks as the opponent tries to move.


This position is almost a full mount but with one of your legs still entangled with the opponent's. It's typically a transitional stage where you're working to secure a better position or prevent the opponent from regaining half guard or full guard.


  • To advance to a full mount by clearing the entangled leg.
  • To maintain top pressure and control while preventing guard recovery.

Full mount is a dominant position where you sit astride the opponent's torso, with your knees on the mat. This position provides a strong base for launching various attacks while making it difficult for the opponent to escape.


  • To maintain control and balance while the opponent attempts to escape.
  • To seek submission opportunities such as arm bars, chokes, or transitioning to an even more dominant position like the high mount or back mount.

Also known as the modified mount, where you maintain your weight on the opponent's hips and control their legs. This can be particularly useful when the opponent is defending their upper body vigorously.


  • To control the opponent’s lower body, reducing their ability to escape.
  • To transition to higher mount positions or attack the legs.

In the high mount, you slide up towards the opponent’s armpits, reducing their ability to defend against submissions. This position allows for greater control over the opponent's upper body and arms.


  • To isolate the opponent's arms and set up arm bars or shoulder locks.
  • To create openings for chokes or to apply even more pressure with your position.

An advanced position where you transition from high mount to go perpendicular to their shoulder line, trapping both of their arms with your legs. This position is excellent for setting up arm bars and other submissions.


  • To isolate both of the opponent's arms for submissions.
  • To maintain a high degree of control while setting up for various attacks.


When controlling the back, the overhook side refers to the side where you have an arm over the opponent's shoulder, usually securing a grip near the collar or neck. This is typically the side you'd use to execute chokes because it allows you to apply leverage with the overhooking arm.


  • To secure the position and prevent the opponent from escaping by keeping tight control.
  • To utilize the overhook to set up rear-naked chokes, collar chokes, or to transition to armlocks.


On the underhook side of back control, you have an arm under the opponent's arm. This side is essential for maintaining control of the Back, as the underhook can prevent the opponent from turning into you and escaping. On top of that, it is amazing for setting up a multitude of submissions.


  • To maintain dominant control and prevent the opponent from spinning into guard.
  • To use the underhook to control the opponent's posture and set up submissions.


Twister control involves a side back control where you thread one arm around the opponent's head and the other arm secures their arm, while one of your legs hooks their leg on the same side. This position sets up for the twister submission, a spinal lock that can be very effective.


  • To immobilize the opponent's upper body and lower body on one side, creating a substantial control advantage.
  • To set up for the twister submission or other control-based transitions.


In the crucifix position, you immobilize both of the opponent's arms using your legs and arms, leaving their neck and body vulnerable to attacks. It's a form of back control that combines back mount and side control elements.


  • To achieve a position where the opponent cannot defend effectively, exposing them to chokes and joint locks.
  • To maintain control while strategically attacking vulnerable areas.


Ashi Garami is a basic leg entanglement where one of your legs controls the opponent's leg by wrapping around it, with your foot tucked under their far thigh. This position is the foundation for many leg locks.


  • To control the opponent’s leg movement, limiting their mobility.
  • To apply leg lock submissions like straight ankle locks while preventing the opponent from escaping.


In the Outside Ashi position, you control the outside of the opponent's leg, often with both legs clamping down on it. This provides an angle for various leg locks, especially heel hooks.


  • To manage the opponent's leg and set up for heel hooks or other twisting leg submissions.
  • To maintain distance control and prevent the opponent from pressuring you to escape.


The 50/50 position is a symmetrical leg entanglement where practitioners can attack each other's legs. Control is often established by wrapping your legs inside the opponent's and gripping their leg.


  • To dominate the 50/50 position by controlling the opponent's hips and knees.
  • To execute leg locks and defend against opponents' leg lock attempts.

The 411 (or Honey Hole) position offers substantial control over the opponent's leg by entangling it with both of yours, typically with one of your legs inside their thighs and the other outside, creating a solid clamp.


  • To isolate the opponent's leg and hip, providing a dominant position for leg locks.
  • To prevent the opponent from countering or escaping by maintaining tight control and using strategic hand grips.




In Jiu-Jitsu, there are four main grappling situations that practitioners often encounter, each with its own dynamics and strategic considerations:


The Spider Web position, also known as the armbar control position, involves controlling the opponent's arm while trapping it between your legs. One leg presses against the opponent's head, and the other hooks over their chest, securing the arm.


  • To achieve a secure grip on the opponent's arm for a subsequent armbar.
  • To maintain control while the opponent attempts to defend or escape, setting up for the finish.

A Full Arm Lock, commonly known as an armbar, is a submission that hyperextends the opponent's elbow joint. The technique is applied by placing your legs across the opponent's chest and one arm, then extending your hips to put pressure on their elbow.


  • To submit the opponent by fully extending their arm and applying pressure to the elbow joint.
  • To control the opponent's body and posture to prevent escape and successfully apply the armbar.

This variation of an arm lock focuses on controlling and attacking the opponent's arm when you have limited access or control, often near the wrist or forearm.


  • To utilize the available grip to apply a submission, targeting the wrist or elbow joint.
  • To transition into a more secure arm lock position if the opponent's defense creates an opportunity.


The Kimura Trap is a control system centered around the Kimura grip (a figure-four wrist lock), which can be applied from various positions. It's used not only for submissions but also for controlling the opponent and transitioning to other techniques.


  • To secure the Kimura grip as a means of control, preventing the opponent from escaping or improving their position.
  • To create opportunities for transitions to the back, armbar, or finishing the Kimura submission itself.

The Kimura is a shoulder lock that involves bending the opponent's arm behind their back in a figure-four configuration, using both arms to apply torque to the shoulder joint.


  • To submit the opponent by applying pressure to the shoulder, potentially leading to hyperextension or dislocation if not tapped out.
  • To use the Kimura grip as a versatile tool for control and as a setup for various submissions or sweeps.


An Omoplata, or a leg Kimura, is a shoulder lock applied to the legs. You rotate your legs over the opponent's shoulder and downwards, using your body to extend your arm away from your back, applying pressure to the shoulder.


  • To immobilize the opponent and apply a submission by rotating the shoulder in an unnatural direction.
  • To maintain control over the opponent's posture and prevent them from rolling out or standing up to escape.

The Americana is a shoulder lock that hyperflexes the opponent's arm at the elbow and lifts it upwards while pressing the wrist downwards. It is typically applied from side control or mount.


  • To submit the opponent by creating torque on the shoulder joint through the lever action of their arm.
  • To control the opponent's upper body and prevent them from bridging or escaping while applying the lock.



The front headlock is a dominant position where you use your arms to control your opponent's head and neck from the front. This position is a setup for various chokes and can control the opponent's movement.


  • Establishing a controlling position can lead to a submission or transition.
  • To apply pressure and break the opponent's posture, setting up choke submissions like the guillotine or anaconda choke.

A guillotine choke is applied from the front headlock position by wrapping one arm under the opponent's chin and over their neck, then securing the grip with the other hand and applying upward pressure, often while pulling Guard to increase leverage.


  • To finish the choke by compressing the opponent's neck against their throat, obstructing air or blood flow.
  • To control the opponent's posture and prevent them from escaping the submission.

This choke is applied from the back control position by placing one arm around the opponent's neck, securing your bicep with the other hand, and placing the second hand behind the opponent's head. It's a blood choke that targets the carotid arteries.


  • To secure the choke, use body positioning and arm pressure to obstruct the carotid arteries.
  • To maintain back control while applying the choke to submit the opponent.

Applied when you are positioned above the opponent's head in north-south position, using your body to compress their neck against one side of your torso.


  • Using body weight and positioning to create pressure around the neck leads to a submission.
  • To control the opponent's upper body, limiting their mobility and setting up the choke.


Arm-In Chokes refers to any choke that we utilize their own shoulder to cut off one of the carotid arteries, and our limb (arm/leg) to cut off the other


A variation of the guillotine choke that involves trapping one of the opponent's arms inside the choke along with their neck. This choke can be applied while standing or from the guard.


  • To finish the choke by creating pressure on the trapped arm and neck, often leading to a tighter choke.
  • To use the arm-in position to control the opponent and prevent them from defending or escaping the choke.

This choke involves encircling the opponent's neck and one of their arms with your arms, squeezing them together to cut off blood flow. It can be applied from various positions, such as mount or side control.


  • To secure a submission by compressing the opponent's carotid arteries with their shoulder and your arms.
  • To maintain control over the opponent's trapped arm and neck while applying the choke.


Like the arm-triangle choke, the D'arce choke is applied from positions where the opponent is on their side or belly down. It involves threading one arm under the opponent's neck and through the space between their neck and the trapped arm, then locking your arms to apply the choke.


  • To submit the opponent by compressing their neck between your forearm and bicep, cutting off blood flow.
  • To control the opponent's posture and position to prevent escape while applying the choke.


The Anaconda choke starts from the front headlock and involves rolling your body and the opponent's body to tighten the choke. The arm positioning is similar to the D'arce, but the setup and finish are distinct.


  • To submit the opponent by trapping their arm and neck with your arms and rolling to tighten the choke.
  • To control the opponent's movement during the setup to prevent them from escaping.



The Trapped Triangle position is achieved when one of the opponent's arms and their head are caught between your legs. From this position, you can apply the triangle choke by securing your leg's position and pulling down on the head to tighten the choke.


  • To secure the trapped triangle position to limit the opponent's mobility and set up for the choke.
  • To transition to a full triangle choke by adjusting your legs and applying pressure on the opponent's neck.

The Front Triangle, or the traditional triangle choke, is performed by encircling the opponent's neck and one arm with your legs, locking one of your legs behind the knee of the other leg to create pressure.


  • To submit the opponent by cutting off blood flow to the brain via the carotid arteries using the legs.
  • To control the opponent's posture and movement to prevent escape and secure the choke.


This variation of the triangle choke is applied from the back control position. You trap one of the opponent's arms and neck with your legs, crossing your legs and squeezing to apply pressure on the neck.


  • To Finish the choke from the back control position, apply pressure to the neck using the legs.
  • To maintain control of the opponent's body, preventing them from escaping or turning into you.


A Side Triangle is applied when you control the opponent's neck and arm from a side position, using your legs to apply the choke. This can be set up from side control or during a scramble.


  • To submit the opponent with a triangle choke by creating pressure from the side control position.
  • To maintain the side position while adjusting your legs to tighten the choke.





A knee bar is a submission that hyperextends the opponent's knee joint. It's applied by positioning yourself parallel to the opponent's leg, with their knee in between your thighs. You then extend your hips while pulling the leg towards you, applying pressure on the knee joint.


  • To submit the opponent by creating a lever with their leg and applying pressure to the knee.
  • To control the opponent's hip and leg to prevent escape while executing the knee bar.


An ankle lock targets the opponent's ankle joint. The primary application involves wrapping your arm around the opponent's foot, with your forearm against the Achilles tendon, and using your body to apply pressure to the ankle.


  • To submit the opponent by hyperextending or twisting the ankle joint.
  • To maintain control over the opponent's leg and use body positioning to prevent their escape or defense against the lock.


A toe hold involves gripping and twisting the opponent's foot, applying rotational pressure to the ankle and sometimes the knee. The grip is typically applied by grabbing the toes with one hand and the heel with the other, then twisting the foot like a motorcycle throttle.


  • To submit the opponent by applying pressure that creates pain or threatens to damage the joints in the foot and ankle.
  • To control the opponent's leg and keep them from countering the pressure or escaping.


A calf slicer is a compression lock that targets the muscles in the calf. You insert your leg between the opponent's legs and bend their leg over your shin, then apply pressure by driving your shin into their calf muscle while pulling the leg towards you.


  • To submit the opponent through pain compliance and the threat of muscle or tendon damage.
  • To trap the opponent's leg effectively and prevent them from relieving the pressure or escaping the position.

The heel hook is a submission that applies a twisting motion to the opponent's leg, targeting the knee and ankle joints. It's achieved by controlling the opponent's leg and twisting the heel inward, which rotates the knee dangerously.


  • To submit the opponent by applying rotational force to the knee, which can cause severe damage if not tapped out quickly.
  • To secure the leg and prevent the opponent from spinning or rolling out of the submission, which requires careful control and an understanding of the mechanics to avoid injuring the training partner.



In the seated guard, the practitioner sits up with legs engaged, ready to manage the distance between them and the opponent.


  • Use active posting with your hands and feet to maintain balance and prevent the opponent from closing the distance.
  • Implement hip escapes (shrimping) and leg pummeling to counter guard passing attempts.
  • Utilize grip fighting to control the opponent's sleeves or wrists, disrupting their ability to initiate passes.

The prone guard involves lying on your back, typically with the legs between you and the opponent, using them as barriers.


  • Keep a strong frame against the opponent's advancing pressure using your knees and elbows.
  • Bridge and shrimp to create space and angles for recovering the guard if the opponent starts to pass.
  • Engage in constant leg movement to prevent opponents from pinning them down, using sweeps to invert or re-guard.


When an opponent establishes side control, they are typically perpendicular to your torso, controlling your upper body and looking to advance position or attack with submissions.


  • Utilize the 'elbow to knee' escape by creating frames against the opponent's neck and hip, bridging to create space, and connecting your inside elbow to your knee to reclaim the guard.
  • Practice hip escapes (shrimping) to create enough space to slide your knee inside and re-establish guard or half-guard.


Turtle control is a defensive position where you're on all fours, and the opponent is trying to break through your defenses to take your back or flip you onto your back.


  • Keep your elbows and knees tight to prevent the opponent from inserting hooks.
  • Roll through (Granby roll) or sit out to escape the control, move into a more advantageous position, reset to a guard, or stand up. 

In mount control, the opponent is sitting astride your torso, which can lead to high vulnerability for upper body attacks.


  • Bridge (upa) to create space and disrupt the opponent’s balance, then connect your elbow to your knee to block the opponent from re-establishing mount and to slide into half guard or full guard.
  • Use elbow escapes, trapping one of the opponent's legs between yours and shrimping out to escape the mount.

When opponents have back control, they are behind you with their legs hooked in (hooks) and are typically looking for a choke or other submission.


  • Control one of the opponent's arms and move your corresponding shoulder to the mat to start escaping the hooks and turning into the opponent.
  • Work on 'elbow to knee' connections to remove the opponent's hooks and reclaim the inside space, allowing you to turn and face the opponent or escape to a guard position.


In Ashi Garami, the opponent controls one of your legs by entangling it with their legs, aiming to isolate the leg for submission.


  • Focus on disconnecting the opponent's hip control by creating space using your hands and pushing on their hips or biceps.
  • Use the 'boot' concept by straightening your leg and flexing your foot to make it difficult for the opponent to maintain control.
  • Actively work to extract your knee line from the entanglement, using your free leg to assist in pushing off the opponent's grips.

The opponent controls the outside of your leg, potentially setting up for a heel hook or other leg entanglement submissions.


  • Prioritize getting your knee to the ground and away from the opponent's body to prevent hip control and reduce leverage.
  • Push the opponent's thigh or knee to create separation and free your knee line.
  • Once your knee is free, remove your leg and transition to a top position or guard.

In a 50/50 guard, you and the opponent have symmetrical leg entanglements, leading to a neutral position with equal submission opportunities.


  • Control the opponent's attacking arm to prevent leg locks and use your hands to fight for inside positioning.
  • Shift your hips and use your free leg to create an angle that allows you to withdraw your knee and disengage from the entanglement.
  • Utilize rotational movement to unwind from the position and seek to stand up or pass the guard.

The 411 or Saddle is a control position where the opponent has an inside position on your legs, providing robust control and submission options.


  • Maintain calm and avoid panic movements that can tighten the entanglement.
  • Focus on fighting the grips and using your hands to push the opponent's legs away to free your hips.
  • Use hip movement and turning to extract your knee line to disengage your leg from the control position.


When opponents attempt an arm lock, they aim to isolate and hyperextend your elbow joint.


  • Slip the elbow control by keeping the elbow tight to your body and using your hands to grip, break, or stack the opponent, preventing them from extending your arm.
  • Rotate your arm to align the thumb upwards, sometimes allowing the elbow to slip past the fulcrum point and escape the submission.


Shoulder locks target the rotator cuff muscles and shoulder joint, often applying pressure through a lever system.


  • Act quickly to slip the elbow and shoulder control before the lock is fully set by moving your body in the direction of the lock to alleviate pressure.
  • Use your free hand to assist in defending, either by gripping the attacking hand or by supporting your own attacked arm to prevent the extension or rotation.


Leg locks involve isolating and manipulating the ankle, knee, or hip joint.


  • Use your hands to peel the opponent's grips away from your leg and slip your knee line from their control.
  • Implement the 'boot' concept by flexing your foot and straightening your leg to make it difficult for the opponent to maintain a solid grip and apply a lock.


The front headlock choke is typically applied when the opponent controls your head and arm from the front, aiming to restrict air or blood flow.


  • Tuck your chin to protect the neckline and use your hands to fight the opponent's grips, preventing them from securing the choke.
  • Improve your posture and position, using shoulder shrugs and head positioning to create space and reduce the effectiveness of the choke.

Triangle chokes are applied with the opponent's legs wrapped around your neck and one arm, using their legs to cut off the carotid arteries.


  • Immediately tuck your chin and turn your neck into the open space of the triangle to relieve pressure.
  • Stack the opponent by moving forward and lifting their hips, which can alleviate the pressure and give you space to work your head and arm out of the choke.