One of the most difficult parts of learning any new sport or hobby is understanding the lingo. Below, I’ve compiled a list of  the words and phrases you’re likely to encounter in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Did you hear something in your gym that I didn’t list below? Leave a comment or Contact Me to let me know!

A

Americana – A common submission in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Arm Triangle Choke – A common submission in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Armbar – A common submission in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

B

Back Mount – A common position in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Bow and Arrow Choke – A common submission in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Bridging – This is a very important movement in Jiu-Jitsu. In this movement, the person is laying on their back with their feet planted on the mat as close to their butt as they can get them. They will then elevate their hips and spine by pushing off the mat with their legs and engaging most of the muscles in their legs and core. When done properly, the only parts of the body that are touching the mat are their toes and the tops of their shoulder (or sometimes the top of the head!), and their body will be arched and shaped like an upside-down “U”. This shape is extremely strong and can support a tremendous amount of weight without collapsing, which is why so many bridge supports are engineered using this shape.

Butterfly Guard – A common position in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

D

D’Arce Choke – A common submission in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

De La Riva – A common position in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

E

F

Full Guard – A common position in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Full Mount – A common position in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

G

Gi- The traditional (and sturdy!) attire for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. The outfit is comprised of long pants and a long-sleeved top that is open down the front but crossed across the front of the body and secured with a colored belt to indicate your rank in the sport. During a match, the opponents will grip each other’s Gi to gain leverage or control over the other person. For this reason, a low-quality gi will quickly break down under the strain.

H

Half Guard A common position in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Heel Hook – A common submission in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Hooks – (Not to be confused with Overhook or Underhook). Most often used as another word for feet. When a coach says “Get your hooks in!”, this usually means to make sure your feet are hooked around an opponent’s legs or hips for control.

I

J

K

Kesa Getame – A common position in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Kimura – A common submission in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Knee on Belly – A common position in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Kneebar – A common submission in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

L

Lasso Guard – A common position in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

M

N

No-Gi – A type of Jiu-Jitsu where the opponents are not wearing a Gi. In this style, neither opponent is allowed to use the fabric on the opponent for any kind of control or submission.

North-South – A common position in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

O

Omoplata – A common submission in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Oss Sometimes “Ossu” is most frequently used as a form of congratulations or agreement in BJJ. It is also frequently used as a form of encouragement for somebody who is showing a lot of heart on the mat when under intense pressure.

Overhook – (See also: Underhook) A type of arm control where the attacker wraps their arm over and around the defenders arm. The attacker will have the defender’s shoulder in their armpit.

P

Position – The key to BJJ is controlling the opponent, and control starts with the relative position of both opponents. Click the link for a list of the most common positions in Jiu-Jitsu. Mastery of these positions should be the highest priority for any student.

Q

R

Rear Naked Choke – A common submission in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Rolling – The act of grappling with another person in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If you watch two experienced grapplers, their fluid movement and positional transitions resemble a ball rolling across the floor.

S

Shrimping – (Sometimes call Snakey Move or Hip Escape), this is one of the most critical movements in BJJ. The purpose of this movement is to quickly and efficiently move the hips away from the opponent in order to evade a negative position, create space, or affect the balance of the opponent. To do this move, the person typically begins by laying on their side on the mat. In one fluid motion, they lift their hips off the mat by supporting their weight on their foot and shoulder and they scoot their hips backward by straightening their legs.

Side Mount – A common position in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Spider Guard – A common position in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Straight Ankle Lock – A common submission in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Submission – A way to defeat an opponent. In a submission, the attacker has created a painful situation that the defender can not escape and so must tap out in order to prevent injury. Click the link for a list of the most common submissions in BJJ.

Sweep – This is an attack or movement that transitions somebody that is in a weaker position into a more dominant position. For example, if an attacking player has somebody in their Full Guard, and they are able to roll the defending person over into a less neutral or less dominant position such as Full Mount, the attacking person has executed a sweep. In tournament scoring, a player will typically have to hold the new, dominant position for a certain amount of time (usually 3 seconds) before points for the sweep will be awarded.

T

Tap/Tapping Out – The act of submitting to an opponent’s submission attempt. In old times, a person would yell “Uncle” when they had had enough pain. Today, a person can tap out by tapping their hand on their opponent or on the mat. They can also tap the mat with their foot or yell “TAP!” if their hands are not easily available.

Tips/Stripes – A measure of rank within a certain belt class. For all adult ranks below black belt, there are four sub-ranks (called degrees) which are donated by white stripes on the belt. For example, a 3-striped or 3rd-degree blue belt will have three white stripes on one end of their belt. Once a person has accumulated four stripes, they can expect a rank promotion in their near future.

Triangle Choke – A common submission in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

Turtle Position – A common position in BJJ. Click the link to find out more.

U

Underhook – (See also: Overhook) Underhook is a type of arm control where an attacker wraps their arm underneath an defender’s arm and either reaches around the defender’s back or reaches up to grab their shoulder. In this position, the attacker’s shoulder is usually under the defender’s armpit.

V

W

X

Y

Z

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Glossary of Terms

  1. Nice work on this site. I appreciate you helping me fix some links on mine. Wanted to let you know some formatting errors appeared on this page for me in Safari on a Desktop (carried over characters like “Turtle Position – ………”) Good luck! Love the images.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you like it!

      Most importantly, thank you so much for letting me know about this error. Will you send me a screenshot of what you see? I don’t have easy access to Safari so this would help me greatly in troubleshooting.

    2. Lucas,

      I believe the issue may have been caused by an issue with HTML4 vs HTML5. I have made an adjustment to the coding. Will you look at the page again and let me know if it is formatted properly for you now?

      Thanks!

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