View Full Version : BJJ - Techniques

05-14-2001, 05:06 PM
How many techniques are in each belt level for BJJ and how many techniques are there total? Also, if you could only learn 5 techniques, which ones would they be?

05-14-2001, 09:06 PM
If I could only learn five techniques, they would be two sweeps, two guard passes, and maybe one submission most likely a armbar from the guard. In a street fight, although it is nice to have more then a few submissions, you don't really need to know a lot of submissions if you can control your opponent on the ground and maintain superior positioning. That way your strikes will be more effective, and your opponent's ability to respond will be limited. I don't know how many total techniques there are in BJJ, but to be a blue belt you have to have a strong grasps of the basics. It again depends on the instructor as some schools promote faster to blue belt then others, in any case it normally takes years to becomes a brown or black belt. I believe the current average is eight years and up. Dan Inosanto was able to do it in only six years because he was training privates five days a week, twice a day for six years.-ED

05-14-2001, 10:14 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> to be a blue belt you have to have a strong grasps of the basics. [/quote]

What are considered the basics? Are you taking about basic techniques, or being able to apply basic principles.

05-14-2001, 10:22 PM
We should figure out how to direct Knifefighter's attention to this board, as he's one of the best roaming members of KFO for technical questions about BJJ.

05-14-2001, 11:08 PM
Watchman ...... Man that was cold. If knifefighter wants to reply that's fine, but personally I find GinSueDog's replies clear, informative, and objective. What more could I ask for? :)

05-15-2001, 12:06 AM
Sorry man! I didn't mean for it to any slight to GSD at all.

I've just got Knifefighter on the brain because he's usually been the first to answer me when I've asked questions.

Yes, GSD always has great answers.

You have my apologies GinSueDog.


Sunt hic etiam sua praemia laveli
"Here too virtue has its due reward."

05-15-2001, 12:21 AM
It really depends on the instructor and what he thinks is the basics. I heard that the Gracie Torrance Academy will give you your blue belt in about six months but it takes years to go the next level up to purple there, while at other schools it may take year to a year and a half to become a blue belt. Some schools will promote you if they feel you can handle any of the new whitebelts without any problems but as I said it depends on the school. Here is something I got from Roy Harris' website.

The student will first learn the basic movements of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The basic movements of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are those which are used most often. These basics set up an immovable foundation upon which you can build a masterpiece of graceful and methodical movement. Each section builds upon the one previous to it. I have listed four (4) basic sections below and have given you a brief description of each:
Body positioning
Positional escapes
Positional dominance

Body positioning will set up the foundation of all you do in Jiu Jitsu. How and where you place your body in relation to your opponent determines who establishes control first. Body positioning also determines the amount of energy you expend trying to escape and the overall effectiveness of it.

Positional escapes will give you the confidence to handle yourself in the inferior positions. So many people find themselves in an inferior position and waste too much of their energy trying to force an escape. If they had taken the time to train their escapes to the point of reflex, then the amount of energy they would have to expend to escape would be minimal. Master the escapes and you will rid yourself of a lot of undue stress. Remember, if you can't escape the mounted position and pass the guard, then there's no sense in learning how to positionally dominate someone and take their arm or neck...... because you'll never be in a position to do it.

Positional dominance will give you the ability to effectively dominate and control someone from a superior position. There are times when you need to dominate and control a person for a lengthy period of time because they are much larger and stronger than you are. Especially if they have 75 to 100 pounds of muscle on you. Once you develop the ability to dominate and control someone from a superior position, you are now ready to master the art of submission.

Submissions are those little choke holds, strangulations, and joint manipulations that hurt like the dickens. You know, the ones that force everyone to tap the mat. The ones that feel so good when you make someone else tap... and the same ones that hurt like heck when you find yourself tapping the mat! In order to use the minimal amount of force required to make someone tap, you must master the mechanics of each one. Once you develop a specific level of proficiency with the above sections, you will then move on to developing intermediate skills such as the use of combinations and strategy.

You may want to direct a post to either Knifefighter or Merryprankster as both have a great deal of experience with BJJ. Plus Kniferfighter is a student at the Gracie Academy.-ED

"The grappling arts imply most fights end up on the ground...take them there. The striking arts imply all fights start standing up...keep them there. The mixed martial arts imply any fight can go anywhere...be ready and able to go everywhere."-a mix martial artist

[This message was edited by GinSueDog on 05-15-01 at 03:30 PM.]

05-15-2001, 12:27 AM
No offense taken whatsoever, and I do agree Knifefighter maybe a better person to ask as he has both a great deal of experience in BJJ, I think six years and is a Gracie Academy student.-ED

05-15-2001, 06:25 AM
GSD, now that I've pulled my foot out of my mouth, could you give some examples of what you mean by "positional dominance"?

Position comes before submission, correct? In what manner do you go about establishing positional dominance (I'm talking about "streetfighting" application, of course)? Also, what does the opponent do to gove up the position (basically, what common mistakes do people make that get them to the point of no return)?

Black Jack
05-15-2001, 06:49 AM
I am not a BJJ guy but does anyone mind if old black jack jumps in as it seems all the good topics are starting to get thrown down here.

I call this forum the Zombie Squad.


05-15-2001, 07:10 AM
LOL @ Zombie Squad.

Join the party Black Jack.

Mr. Nemo
05-15-2001, 07:13 AM
"I am not a BJJ guy but does anyone mind if old black jack jumps in as it seems all the good topics are starting to get thrown down here."

Actually, Blackjack, you can't post here without an introduction. We have to beat you in, and you gotta wear a blue bandanna on your head while you're posting here.

As for the thread topic, this question is inspired by the BJJ/GJJ thread. How does sport JJ training differ from the street JJ training, and which do you find where?

Black Jack
05-15-2001, 07:34 AM
I would think to believe the difference should be easy to compare due to the rules and regulations involved in a tournament.

In jui-jitsu and other grappling arts you want to be in a position to control whats happening but I wonder if a lot of sport BJJ/GJJ guys understand the difference between the two worlds of sport and street.

You have to first stop a standing up attacker before you can take him down, control his movement, put him in a bad position and then finish him with a submission hold or choke.

I would think that BJJ students might try to force the ground aspect of there game before trying to end the fight standing up due to there training enviroment.


05-15-2001, 07:48 AM
Well after you have gained a superior position, you have to be able to maintain it somehow, that is what "Positional Dominance" is all about. A great and simple example is the mount, a simple position that gives you open acess to strikes and submissions against your opponent. It is also one of the positions that is hard to maintain against another submission fighter. Things such as not allowing your opponent to use his elbows or hands to drive your knee back for sweeps, or being able to spread your weight and balance over your opponent and take his space are things that can help you maintain your superior position. A good black belt or brown belt or purple belt can make themselves feel so much more heavy then they actually are. I am still rather new to BJJ and still have a hard time maintaining my dominance after I pass there guard and mount them. I think it shows an individual's skills when they are able to maintain there positional dominance against a much larger opponent, not an easy thing to do. There is a purple belt where I train that is about 5'5" and maybe 140lbs, I have seen him totally control and dominant 200lb blue belts without any problems. As for BJJ on the street, I don't think "Positional Dominance" is as important as when rolling with someone that has a submission background. Streetfights are basically quick events, I think really the two most important factors would be what Roy called "Body Positioning" and "Positional Escapes" on his website. You can always use the old ground and pound technique once you have the superior position after all, submission isn't as important. If you are mounted or your opponent has your back in a street fight, you are going to get hurt if they even have half a clue on what to do, there is no way around that, and if you can't sweep them and gain a better position, then it is over. Hope that helps.-ED

"The grappling arts imply most fights end up on the ground...take them there. The striking arts imply all fights start standing up...keep them there. The mixed martial arts imply any fight can go anywhere...be ready and able to go everywhere."-a mix martial artist

05-15-2001, 02:26 PM

You actually asked a doozy of a question in your original post...

As far as how many techniques there are, I couldn't tell you. New stuff keeps getting invented... variations on a theme keep popping up.

Position before submission, as GinSueDog noted, is almost a mantra. The reason being not only that positional dominance helps you control a situation, but also because trying to go for a submission before you establish control can lead to you being in a WORSE position than you started.

Belt levels are largely granted at the discretion of the instructor, and they frequently have more to do with how you perform than how many techniques you can demonstrate properly. There are only five belt levels:


It takes awhile to earn these ranks. I have known people who have been blue belts for four years, because their instructor feels they aren't ready for purple.

Top 5 basic techniques for self defense... I would master one sweep, two mount escapes, one guard pass, and one submission from the guard. If you can escape mount, you can get out of a disadvantageous position, and place yourself in a much better spot. If you can sweep, you can stand back up or gain positional dominance. I'm looking more at harm reduction... if it's in grappling range, you are going to take a few shots, so it's best to be able to minimize the damage by learning ways out of the mount, IMO.

05-15-2001, 05:47 PM
>>>>>Hope that helps.-ED<<<<<

Thanks GSD.

Here's the follow-up question: from a streetfighting standpoint, what sorts of things do you do to insure, firstly, your superior position (basically, what do you do to get into position without getting your teeth knocked out)?

Also, harking back to another question: what are common mistakes that someone makes to give up position on the fight's initial engagement, and what do you do to capitalize on them?

05-15-2001, 06:54 PM
Watchman, I hope you don't mind if I take a stab at this. Same with you GSD. I don't want step on toes.

To ensure that I don't get my teeth knocked out before I get into my range--grappling--, I'd to set up the clinch with strikes. Even a poorly thrown punch or kick will often open up somebody to a grab. It doesn't have to be pretty, but you want to make sure you are getting into them, ruining the distance needed to strike properly.

Personally, my favorite combo for taking a shot is to push kick, then throw a thai style round kick. Then, instead of returning my kicking leg to the ground, I just put it down and shoot a single. I think I mentioned that once before.

If you want to upper body clinch for a throw, you can jab your way in, just like you would anyway (while keeping an eye out for kicks, knees, etc), and then clinch for a throw.

If the attacker kicks, you can always move into grappling range with a kick catch or some similar type of manuever. Not always easy, but it works often enough to at least get you close.

Watchman, it just occurred to me... did you want transitions from stand up to ground? Or how exactly did you mean all this?

05-15-2001, 07:13 PM
MP, thanks for the answer.

Yeah, I'm wondering about transitions to the ground. I'm assuming there is more of a science to it than just grabbing a guy, taking him down, and HOPING you land in some sort of good position.

How do you work the transition from standup to ground? How do you ensure that when you effect the takedown that you're going to end up where you want to be once both of you are down? Then, once you've got the initial position, how do you get "positional dominance" to start raining down the blows?

05-15-2001, 07:44 PM

Geez... huge topic!

I mean... every wrestling take down is pretty much designed so that you land "on top," so to speak. There are a slew of takedowns and a slew of counters.

The things i mentioned still stand, as far as moving from stand up to clinch/takedown, but as far as learning to land in a dominant position, here are a couple of things...

With shots and leg attacks you are going to land "on top" more often than not. Simply because of the nature of the beast, it's hard not to. However, to maintain control, work up the legs to your opponents hips as quickly as you can. Hip control is essential to maintaining control of your opponent on the ground. Ideally, you want to land outside his guard, but you can still strike from inside the guard and avoid submissions. Remember that most people don't know anything about the guard, so even if you are inside his legs, you will probably be okay if you are on top.

To practice this putting somebody on their back and you OUTSIDE their guard, when you shoot doubles with your training partner, simply rotate their body as you dump them. Whatever side your head is on, dump the OPPOSITE way, and hold on tight. You'll see what I mean when you do it. Keep your weight on them... arms hugging the hips/legs in tight to your chest, and your weight ON the legs or hips. Then work up their body for a better "pinning" type position from where you can hurt them more easily.

With upper body throws, there is a chance of overrotation that leads to a "re-roll." You initiated the attack, but now you are on the bottom. Judo guys have a problem with this, because they fight for ippon... it doesn't matter if I re-roll, you get the win for throwing me to my back. With throws, learn to settle them. My favorite drill for this is to do a common hip toss, o-goshi, head and arm throw, whatever you want to call it, and once you have the guy over your hips and tilted, learn to drive the knee closest to their head into the mat, and then SIT before your knee touches. Instead of a heavy rotation, you've got a more direct line to the ground. It keeps them from rerolling you. Adjust your position to a more secure one once on the ground. These throws are termed "sagging" in wrestling, for obvious reasons.

For a fight, my positional dominance series would be takedown, crossmount/mount depending, knee on belly.

I like knee on belly because it is a fairly effective pin, and you can strike with great leverage, but affords you the ability to get up and RUN very easily, if 100 screaming midgets come out of nowhere and want to kill you. Also, when people are getting pounded on from the knee on bell position, they often immediately turn away and give their backs, which gives you all sorts of control and submission options. Also, as you get better, you'll find it's very easy to transition from one side to the other with knee on belly, even if the guy rolls completely through.

05-15-2001, 10:16 PM
Ah! So the knee on belly allows you to keep the opponent pinned while keeping the opportunity to disengage because you aren't fully committing your weight?

05-15-2001, 10:32 PM
The knee on belly also can be turned into a submission easily too by driving the knee into the solar plexus. It will work as long as you have control of your opponent's head. I think what Merryprankster suggested pretty much sums it up though. Just think of yourself as a big boa constrictor, you want to stay in tight to your opponent, giving him no room to breath. BTW, the knee ride hurts and is one of the positions I hate to be on the receiving end of whether it is drilling or sparring.-ED

"The grappling arts imply most fights end up on the ground...take them there. The striking arts imply all fights start standing up...keep them there. The mixed martial arts imply any fight can go anywhere...be ready and able to go everywhere."-a mix martial artist

05-15-2001, 10:40 PM
I didn’t know this part of the forum existed, but now that I have found it, I guess I will jump in with my two cents worth. By the way, I think Gin Sue Dog does a great job of answering grappling questions. He trains at a great school under a great instructor.

As far as how many techniques are in BJJ, yes new ones are being developed all the time. I don’t know know how many there are but I keep notes on all the techniques I have learned. So far, at purple belt level, I have about 1,300 in my file.

Here’s one of my favorite combos to transition from outside range to clinch to ground:
Muay Thai low round kick followed with cross and hook combo to the face. From here, I move to the Muay Thai plum position and throw some knees up the middle. Then I slide one hand from behind the neck and down the arm while the other arm goes under the other arm and I drop down to a fireman’s throw/takedown. Getting this takedown usually lets me avoid the guard and gain side control relatively easily.

The biggest mistake that I have found people make on the ground is not to defend the mount adequately or at all.

You’re right about the knee ride, but not so much because of your weight (as a matter of fact a good knee ride requires you to drive most of your weight onto your knee and down into your opponent). The knee ride gives you more mobility because you are already upright on one foot and your other knee. This lets you pop up to your feet really quickly if you need to. While it is not quite as secure as the mount or the side mount, it really gives you a lot of options regarding what you want to do next. As a matter of fact, my favorite follow up to a mount for the street is to throw a few punches first in the mount and then move to the knee ride.

05-15-2001, 10:46 PM
>>>>>The biggest mistake that I have found people make on the ground is not to defend the mount adequately or at all.<<<<<

Do you mean they don't defend against you transitioning into getting a mount once you've slammed them, or they don't know what the hell to do (other than absorb punches) WHEN you get the mount?

05-15-2001, 11:00 PM
I mean they let me move from side mount or knee ride directly into the mount where I have an even bigger advantage.

05-16-2001, 03:19 AM
You should compete at Chris' next tournament. He holds one every other month. We normally get a few pretty good guys from the other academies that show up. There is normally first the no gi tournament followed the next day by a gi tournament.-ED

05-16-2001, 04:26 AM
I did his last tourney, but I didn't want to do this one as I was doing a Pancrase fight the next week.

05-16-2001, 05:05 AM
What do you guys think of blue belts teaching? I've had several BJJ instructors and all but one were blues.

Adventure is just a romantic name for trouble. It sounds swell when you write about it, but it's hell when you meet it face to face in a dark and lonely place.
Louis L'Amour

05-16-2001, 01:59 PM

Yeah, your weight is buried in their body on a knee on belly. I'm flexible, so it doesn't bother me QUITE as much as some, but it still sucks. The mobility, as knifefighter pointed out, comes from one leg being out and away.


I think that instruction from good instructors should be your main goal. A blue belt can be a good instructor. His technique range may be limited, and his execution may be not quite the same as a black, but that doesn't mean he or she doesn't understand or can't teach the movements. There have been TONS of great coaches in many sports who couldn't execute the way the very top guys could, but knew how to teach, and that, I think is key.

Just remember that the blue belt probably won't be quite the storehouse of knowledge, and I think you'll be ok.

In any event, you can always test what you are being taught by competing! If it works consistently, and you win matches often enough, then SOMETHING's right! Just my thoughts :)

Ford Prefect
05-16-2001, 03:51 PM
Hey Ed,

I'm gonna be in Costa Mesa this November for a week or two. Do you know what Chris's private and single group lessons cost? I want to check out Next Generation, Gracie Torrance, Machado Torrance, and Iha's place. Heh. Hoping to have a busy week!

05-16-2001, 09:03 PM
If you get bored and need some more places to train, here are some more ideas for you:
Caique's- 190th & Figuroa in Gardena
Bob Bass- 8th & PCH in Hermosa Beach
RAW- ElSegundo

05-16-2001, 09:07 PM
Ford Perfect,
Group classes last time I checked are twenty dollars per drop in. His privates are forty dollars per half hour or eighty dollars for an hour. He has a special that has been going on forever one hundred forty dollars for four half hour privates. Currently his school offers Vale Tudo, BJJ, and Kickboxing. I also just found out that there is a JKD class there taught by one of his students twice a week. You may want to call before you come as you maybe able to work something out with Chris, here's the number 949-768-3580. Give me a buzz when you get here I can show you the night life in So Cal :D-ED

Ford Prefect
05-20-2001, 05:55 PM

I'll give ya buzz in November to let ya know when I'm leaving. I figure I can train during the day and learn to surf when my bud gets out of work. ;) That should be interesting...


Where is El Segundo in relation to Costa Mesa? I'd definately love to have a private with Ricco. ;)

BTW, You Cali guys suck. I can't believe how many places to train there are.

05-20-2001, 09:04 PM
Heya Paul,
Basically, LA County is about thirty to forty minutes away from Costa Mesa via freeway without traffic. I've been to the Machado's place up in Torrance, it isn't that bad of a drive as long as you are not caught in the middle of rush hour traffic. Now that you mention it, I do think I take for granted all the great places to train we have down here. Anyway see you in November, and BTW I have been working on my tapping technique it's about perfect now. I can tap with both hands and my right foot :D-ED

Ford Prefect
05-20-2001, 10:25 PM
Heh. It's amazing how quickly you can learn clean technique...