Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Techniques:

(notes from a beginner)

Below are some rudimentary notes on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu -- a style of Jiu Jitsu originated by the Gracie family in Brazil.

This information comes from several sources. First, I and several friends have attended seminars by Rickson Gracie and by Rorion and Royce Gracie. I took notes at these. More recently, people in our group have purchased the "Gracie Basics" and the "Brazilian Jiu Jitsu" video tape sets. The most knowledgable member of the group (and hence our tour guide on this trek) has been Don Geddis. So for example, my notes on the triangle choke are directly taken from what Don has taught in class (what I can remember of it).

One should note that I am quite serious about being a beginner and thus my notes come with all the caveats appropriate for a beginner. These notes represent my best understanding of this material. Along with my friends, I am trying to learn this material from the above named sources. However, since neither I nor any of my friends are instructors in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the fact that there may be some inaccuracies in the notes does not imply that the techniques themselves are faulty. I feel quite confident in saying that were these techniques being explained by a qualified instructor, rather than myself, then they would be extremely effective.

So, even though I am trying to be as true as I can be to what the various qualified instructors teach, and even though Rorion Gracie was cool enough to goof around with me in a picture (at his and Royce's Stanford seminar), no endorsement by him or any other member of the Gracie family is implied nor should any be inferred. If this was not obvious in a previous version of this Web page, I apologize.

The Mount and the Guard

This is my understanding of these two basic positions and why they are considered important in groundfighting.

The Mount:

In the mount (a), the person on top has their legs astride the chest of the person on the bottom. This is a very advantageous position for the person on the top. In fact, for the person on the bottom, this is the single worst position to be in in a fight.

The reason why this is so bad for the person on the bottom is mainly due to punching. Due to the relative position of the shoulders and faces, the person on top can punch the face of the person on the bottom (b), but the person on the bottom cannot punch the face of the person on the top.

Furthermore, the person on top has gravity on their side to aid their punch (b) and can fully cock their arm. The person on the bottom cannot fully cock their arm as it is blocked by the ground (c).

The Guard:

When the person on the bottom is able to use their legs to control the hips of the person on the top, then they have the top person in their guard.

Near Guard

In the near guard (d) \& (e) the person on the bottom has their legs wrapped around the hips of the top person. The opponent is clinched close, so that they do not have the distance to punch. The bottom person uses their legs to control the hips of the top person.

Far Guard

In the far guard (f) \& (g) the person on top is kept away with the knees. In this position, the top person is too far away to effectively punch at the bottom person's face.

The Triangle Choke

This is the choke that Royce Gracie finished off Dan Severn with in UFC IV. Renzo Gracie seems particularly fond of this one as well.

A triangle choke is a useful choke to use from the guard. It is a defense against someone trying to pass the guard (a).

As they try to pass, they put one leg on their shoulder (b). (In this picture, your right leg.) Unlock your legs and pull their right arm down and across your body (b) \& (c). At the same time you want to get the crook of your left knee over your right ankle (c). This is often hard to do. It helps to get your right shin horizontal and to slide your hips to your right. You may have to use your hands to lock your left leg over your right (b) \& (c).

Once you get the left leg folded over (d) \& (e) this is an incredibly powerful choke. Fold your left leg down while pulling their right arm towards your right shoulder (c) \& (e). Stretch your hips back (e) while holding their arm.

Extra pressure can be applied by releasing their right arm and grabbing the back of their head (d) \& (f). Pull the head down into the V formed by your thighs while stretching the hips out (e).

This is very much like a Kata Gatame, put on with the legs.

Their defense involves early on reaching with their left hand acroos your neck and securing the lapel (g). From here they drive forward and down to put a choke on with their forearm. It becomes a question of who does it best -- soonest.

Finishing move: going from the mount to an arm bar.

Copyright 1995 by Danny Abramovitch. I have put a copyright on my notes, but obviously not on the techniques themselves. (I am not sure if one can copyright a technique.) Even if this were possible, it would be quite silly for me to put a copyright on techniques that I have been taught by a different instructor only a few months ago. Quite the contrary, I have tried to list all my sources of the techniques above. The descriptions are my best attempt to remember what the various qualified instructors have taught. The drawings are original however, as is the tie in between the text and the drawings. Anyway, that is the original contribution.

This document may be freely distributed as is via the Internet. Any other distribution, distribution of a modified version of this document, or sale of this document without the written permission of the author is prohibited.

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