Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Terminology

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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Terminology

Here are some of the key words, terms and commands used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ. To learn how to count in BJJ, visit the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Numbers page. Visit the Grappling section for instructions on specific BJJ techniques (i.e. Omoplata and Kimura).

For other martial arts words & commands, please visit the main Martial Arts Terminology section.

Terms & Commands used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

  1. Gi - Uniform
  2. No-Gi - Practice/training without a Gi (uniform)
  3. Armbar - Locking the elbow joint of an opponent's arm. Usually causes opponent to tap out.
  4. Back Mount or Rear Mount - This is a position where a student has control of another student from the back (i.e. a student is face down with another student straddling his back).
  5. Break Fall - A technique to "break your fall" when thrown or falling by slapping your arm on the ground and properly positioning your body.
  6. Bridge - A technique use to "buck" off or dislodge an opponent who is in the mount position.
  7. Closed Guard - When you are on your back and you have your legs wrapped around your opponent's back & your feet are locked together.
  8. Gi Choke - Where you use your Gi (uniform) or your opponent's Gi to perform a choking technique.
  9. Guard Position - When a BJJ student is on the bottom trying to defend against another student (who is on top of them) by wrapping their legs around the opponent.
  10. Half Guard - A defensive position where you are on your back. One of your feet is on the inside of an opponent's leg and the other is on the outside. From this position, many students will try to move to a guard position.
  11. Mount Position - Where a BJJ student is sitting on top of another student's chest or waist.
  12. Neck Crank - A technique where a BJJ student pulls on or twists an opponent's head in order to create neck/spinal pain. Banned from most competitions.
  13. Pass - Transitioning from one position to another (i.e. "passing" or getting around an opponent's guard position in order to gain control).
  14. Side Control - This is a position where a student controls another student from the side (i.e. one student is on his back and the other student is on top with his legs positioned out to the side of the opponent for better control).
  15. Submission - Where a student forces another student to submit (give up) through a choke, arm bar, etc.
  16. Sweep - Gaining a dominant position through a sweeping technique (i.e. knocking an opponent to the ground by sweeping them off their feet through a leg grab).
  17. Take The Back - To maneuver into position to achieve a back mount (or rear mount).
  18. Tap Out or Tapping - A BJJ student indicates his submission by tapping on the ground or on his opponent.
  19. Turtle - A defensive ground position where you tuck in your arms, legs and head like a turtle hiding in its shell.


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