New to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? I remember starting out thinking, what in the world is a ‘kimura?’ If you’re following my posts, and are confused, feel free to reference terms here! I’ll try my best to keep things updated. Please note, this is a very introductory list! For more details and terms, please ask your local friendly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor. 😉


Also known as the figure four arm-lock, is an arm lock that manipulates the shoulder by lateral rotation. It is normally applied from mount, side control or top of half guard.

Arm Bar
In BJJ or submission wrestling, an arm bar is a joint lock that hyperextends the elbow. This is sometimes referred to as a straight arm bar to differentiate it from the bent arm locks which attack the shoulder joint (see kimura and americana).

abbreviation for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This is the grappling style developed by the Gracie family of Brazil, and made famous in North America when Royce Gracie used this style to defeat four opponents of different styles in one night to become the champion of the first UFC mixed martial arts competition. Although sometimes referred to as simply Jiu Jitsu, the term BJJ is used to differentiate it from traditional (Japanese) jiu jitsu.

In grappling, this refers to the one who is underneath. In most circumstances, this person on the bottom seeks to escape or reverse the position. This term is normally used when the person on top is in a pinning position, as opposed to being in their guard. Sometime bottom refers to set of techniques use from the guard, for example: “This week I am practicing my bottom game”

In BJJ and submission wrestling, the term choke normally refers to a strangulation, restricting blood by compressing the carotid arteries. Most competitions only allow strangulation, as true windpipe chokes can cause injury

The uniform worn by BJJ and Judo practitioners, consisting of a heavy cotton jacket, pants and belt. Also sometimes called a kimono. Gi-grappling refers to any style in which the gi is worn. In Gi styles, it is legal to hold the clothing of yourself or your opponent, and to use the clothing to choke or otherwise submit. Rules generally prohibit putting more than one finger inside the sleeve or pant cuff.

A position in which one player is on their back, with the other player between their legs. The legs may be around the other’s torso with the hips close, (closed guard), or the legs may be open, with space between the hips (open guard.) The guard is used as an offensive position in BJJ or submission wrestling since there are a great number of submissions that can be applied from this position. In MMA fighting, the guard is used for both offensive and defensive purposes.

The guillotine is a strangulation technique applied from the front, and normally used from the attackers guard, or a standing position.

Half Guard
A version of the guard in which each player has one leg of the other between his. This is often seen as a neutral position.

an arm lock in which attacks the shoulder by medial (internal) rotation. The arm is bent approximately 90 degrees at the elbow. This may also be called a reverse figure 4 arm lock. It is normally applied from guard, half guard or side control.

Abbreviation for Mixed Martial Arts. This term generally refers to combat sports which allow stand up (striking) and ground fighting (grappling). Variations will prescribe which types of strikes and submission holds are allowed. Originally used to mean that martial artists of any style could enter the competition, it is now often seen as a style of it’s own.

A grappling position in which one player straddles the other who is face up. In grappling competitions, this position scores 4 points after the referee has determined that control has been established. Typical rules state that both the attackers’ knees must be on the mat, with the defender’s back on the mat to score. In all styles, this is considered a very dominant position.

Refers to grappling in which no uniform is worn. In no gi grappling, it is illegal to grab the clothing of the other player. Some no gi events allow players to grab their own clothing when defending against a submission. No Gi grapplers typically wear shorts and a tight fitting rash guard or t shirt.

A pin in which the players are chest to chest, pointing in opposite directions.

In BJJ or submission wrestling, a pin is a technique that keeps the opponent on the ground in a particular position. To pin someone means to keep them on the ground, preventing them from getting up. The pin is used to establish control before applying a submission hold.

Rear Mount
A grappling position in which the attacker is behind the defender. The attackers chest is against the defenders back. In competition, this position scores 4 points, which are awarded only when the attacker has control, and is using both feet as “hooks” inside the thighs of the defender.

Scarf Hold
This is a type of side control in which the one on top has his hips and chest facing the head of the defender, with the lower arm around the head. Note that in BJJ and submission wrestling a variation known as modified scarf hold is often used, in which the lower arm wraps around the opponents far side arm instead of the head. It is harder for the player on the bottom to take the back of the top player when using the modified version.

The scissor is a type of sweep where one player reverses the other from his guard by turning to the side and scissoring the legs.

Side Control
In grappling, this refers to pinning someone to the ground in a perpendicular position – the attacker’s knees are both on the same side of the defender’s torso.

A submission is a move that causes the other person to submit (ie. Tap out, give up). Choke holds and join locks are some examples of submissions. It is normally used as a noun.

in BJJ or submission wrestling, a sweep is a technique that reverses the position. In competition rules, a sweep scores points, provided it has been initiated from guard or half guard. Typical reversals from pinning positions (mount, side control, etc…) are simply called reversals.

Tap Out
The tap out is used to indicate submission. It can be performed by tapping three times on the mat or the opponent with the hands or feet, or by saying the word “Tap”. In most circumstances, the attacker will release the hold at the first tap. In competition, grapplers will maintain the hold until instructed to release by the referee.

Any technique which takes the opponent down to the ground. For example, a throw or a trip.

In grappling the one who is physically on top. In most circumstances, top is the desirable position. This term is normally used when the person on top is in a pinning position, as opposed to being in their guard.

In BJJ and submission wrestling, a triangle choke is a type of strangulation in which one of the defenders shoulders is pressed against his carotid artery on one side, while the attacker blocks the other side. It can be done with the arms or legs. Normally, the leg version is referred to as simple triangle choke, while the version with the arms is called an arm triangle.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: