When you first start training BJJ, you may be overwhelmed with the number of techniques you get taught in class. It takes most people at least ten years to get their jiu-jitsu black belt, and even after that, there’s still an infinite amount of learning that takes place. Chances are, even if you train your whole life, you still won’t learn everything there is to know in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
If you’ve been bitten by the BJJ bug, you may be tempted to try every cool submission you’ve seen in the UFC, but there are levels to this stuff. It’s better to learn the most fundamental positions and techniques in BJJ before trying to do flying omoplatas during the end-of-class rolls at your gym. While your instructor may have their own teaching schedule to follow, you can at least take a look at some basic positions so you can recognize them in training.
While this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, here are ten of the best BJJ techniques for beginners:
1. Mount escape
Mount is one of the most frustrating positions to be stuck in, and while some people will be gracious and transition to another position if they see that you don’t know how to escape from there, others will be happy to hold you there until the round ends during your gym rolling sessions. Once you learn how to escape from mount, you’ll open up plenty of other possibilities for the rest of the roll.
There seem to be endless ways to land an armbar in BJJ, but the best ones for a beginner to know are the armbar from mount and the armbar from closed guard. This submission is common and relatively simple and safe. Additionally, once you understand how an armbar works, you’ll likely find it easier to apply the same principles to other submissions in jiu-jitsu.
3. Pendulum Sweep
The pendulum sweep is done from the closed guard and is a relatively simple way to reverse your position if you don’t want to work from the bottom. This sweep, like many fundamental techniques in jiu-jitsu, is effective even at the highest levels of the sport, and focusing on the details in the beginning of your jiu-jitsu journey will set you up to be successful with this sweep for years to come.
4. Side control escape
Side control is also one of the toughest positions to escape in jiu-jitsu, especially when you’re rolling with someone who really understands how to apply pressure. Escaping this position can put you back in control by allowing you to regain your guard, or you might simply create distance so you can return to your feet.
5. Toreando pass
The toreando pass is an effective guard pass in both gi and no-gi, and you can use the principles from it to better apply more advanced passing strategies as you develop your jiu-jitsu over the years. This pass will allow you to get past your opponent’s open guard, preventing their legs from following and blocking you as you try to get to side control.
6. Rear naked choke
The rear naked choke is one of the most popular submissions in jiu-jitsu, and you’ve probably seen it (or some poorly executed variant of it) in movies or TV shows. Before you try applying this choke the wrong way, you’ll be better off if you know how to finish it properly so you don’t gas your arms out trying to squeeze your training partners’ heads right off their necks.
7. Closed guard break
Trying to submit your training partners from inside their closed guard is probably the number-one giveaway that it’s your first week of jiu-jitsu. Digging your elbows into their thighs to open the guard is the number-two giveaway. There’s nothing wrong with revealing that you’re a newbie, of course, but you and your training partners will have a much more enjoyable and productive roll if you understand the proper way to first open the closed guard and then try to pass.
8. Triangle choke
Once a triangle choke is locked in properly, it’s very hard to escape. Better yet, the triangle is an easy transitional submission — you can go from an armbar to a triangle and back again fairly easily, and this can start training your brain to think at least one step ahead as you roll. You’ll likely end up using that triangular leg configuration a lot throughout your jiu-jitsu journey, so it’s good to learn how to do it early on.
9. Single-leg takedown
There are generally two ways a jiu-jitsu match goes to the ground: either person A takes person B to the ground with a takedown or a throw, or person A pulls guard and person B has to try to pass. If you want to ensure that you get the top position from the get-go, having at least one takedown up your sleeve is your best bet, and the single-leg takedown is arguably the easiest and safest takedown for beginners to learn.
10. Guard pull
Look, guard-pulling gets a lot of flack in jiu-jitsu (even though there is plenty of guard pulling that takes place at every level of the game), but this is a very valid way for bringing the roll to the mats, especially if you prefer working off your back and playing guard. It’s important to learn how to pull guard the right way, though — jumping guard can be extremely dangerous for both you and your opponent, and just sitting down can put you at a major disadvantage (and cost you points in a competition). Even if you swear you’ll only ever do takedowns to start off a roll, learning how to pull guard safely is a valuable skill that all beginners should know.
Again, this is not a complete list of jiu-jitsu techniques for beginners, but understanding the basics of these techniques will help you along at the start of your jiu-jitsu journey so you’re not stuck in the middle of a roll going, “What now?” Give even one of these techniques a try the next time you roll. It probably won’t be perfect, and it doesn’t have to be, but you’ll be on your way to laying down the building blocks of your jiu-jitsu foundation.
I started BJJ almost a year. Here are my experiences.
1st – You learn to fall and you fall over and over.Your sparing partner will test you by throwing you a few times
2nd – Always ready to learn. BJJ is an complex and effective system of fighting. No matter how long you train, you’ll always be learning something new.
3rd. Take your time. The thing about learning a new technique is that you’re learning. Give your mind and body time to digest the movement and concepts when you are going through the technique.
4th – Ask questions.