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Mastering Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Basics: 10 Fundamental Techniques You Should Learn

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that places emphasis on ground fighting and submission grappling. The beauty of BJJ lies in its principle that a smaller, weaker individual can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant using leverage and technique.

Whether you're training at a reputable jiu-jitsu academy in Sydney or anywhere else in the world, mastering the basics of BJJ is vital. Here are ten fundamental techniques every practitioner should learn:

1. Breakfall (Ukemi)

What it is: Before you learn to throw or submit, you must learn to fall without hurting yourself. The breakfall technique teaches practitioners to distribute the impact over a large area, minimising injury.

Importance: Before engaging in any throws or takedowns, understanding how to land without causing harm to oneself is paramount. This helps prevent injuries during training and real-life scenarios.

Execution: Tuck your chin, slap the mat with your hands and arms extended, and distribute the impact across a larger area of your body, rather than on one specific point.

2. Shrimping (Hip Escape)

What it is: A foundational movement in BJJ, shrimping allows you to create space and escape from unfavourable positions. By lying on your back, bending one leg, and pushing off the mat with that foot while moving your hips away, you achieve the shrimping motion.

Importance: This is the basis for many escapes and positional adjustments in BJJ.

Execution: Lying on your back, you'll push off with one foot, retracting the other leg and moving your hips out and away from your opponent.

3. Guard Pass

What it is: The guard is a foundational position in BJJ where one person is on their back using their legs to control and defend against an opponent.

Importance: Passing the guard allows you to progress to more dominant positions, moving closer to a submission.

Execution: There are numerous ways to pass, including the knee slice, stack pass, and toreando pass, each depending on your opponent's reactions and your preferred style.

4. Rear Naked Choke

What it is: This is a classic submission hold where you wrap your arm around an opponent's neck from behind and squeeze, cutting off the blood flow to their brain.

Importance: It's a high-percentage submission that can be applied both in sport and self-defence scenarios.

Execution: From behind your opponent, you'll snake one arm around their neck, securing it with your other hand and squeezing, aiming to cut off blood flow to the brain.

5. Triangle Choke

What it is: Executed from the bottom position, the triangle choke involves trapping an opponent's arm and neck between your legs. When done correctly, it's a powerful tool to submit your opponent.

Importance: This submission can be executed from the bottom position, allowing a seemingly defensive position to become offensive.

Execution: From the guard position, one leg goes over the opponent's shoulder and under their other arm, while the other leg locks it in place, applying pressure on the neck.

6. Armbar

What it is: The armbar is a joint lock where you control an opponent's arm and hyperextend their elbow.

Importance: This is a versatile submission that can be applied from multiple positions.

Execution: Control the opponent's wrist while using your hips and legs to isolate and hyperextend their arm at the elbow joint.

7. Kimura Lock

What it is: Named after the legendary judoka Masahiko Kimura, this shoulder lock is a staple in BJJ. By controlling an opponent's wrist and leveraging against their elbow, you can apply pressure to their shoulder joint.

Importance: It's a powerful submission that can also be used as a control or transition technique.

Execution: Control your opponent's wrist, and with your other arm, loop under their arm, grabbing your own wrist. This forms a figure-four grip, which you use to torque their arm, applying pressure to the shoulder.

8. Sweep

What it is: A sweep is a technique used from the bottom position to reverse roles with your opponent, putting you on top.

Importance: Sweeps can turn a defensive situation into an offensive one, changing the dynamic of a match.

Execution: From the bottom position, use leverage, grips, and momentum to off-balance and overturn your opponent, placing yourself on top.

9. Mount Escape

What it is: Being mounted in BJJ means an opponent is sitting on your chest, putting you in a vulnerable position.

Importance: The mount is a vulnerable position, and escaping it is crucial for defence.

Execution: Common methods include the trap and roll, where you trap an opponent's arm and leg on one side and bridge to roll them over, and the elbow-knee escape.

10. Side Control Escape

What it is: Side control is when an opponent pins you to the ground, lying perpendicularly across your body.

Importance: Side control is a dominant position for the top player, so knowing escapes is essential for the bottom player.

Execution: Common escapes include bridging to create space and inserting a knee to recover guard, or turning to your side and shrimping out to create space.

Mastering the Basics at Locals Jiu-Jitsu Zetland

For those diving into the world of BJJ, Locals Jiu-Jitsu Zetland offers jiu-jitsu classes in Sydney and emphasises the importance of these basics. While Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is vast and complex, with thousands of techniques, combinations, and strategies, the foundation remains the same. Mastering these ten fundamental techniques will provide a sturdy base upon which you can build a comprehensive BJJ game.

Attending classes in jiu-jitsu academies allows students to practise these techniques under the watchful eyes of experienced instructors. Proper guidance ensures that you're learning the right mechanics and details that make the difference between an ineffective technique and a successful one.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a beautiful, intricate martial art that focuses on strategy, technique, and leverage. Like a game of human chess, every move has a counter, and every counter has another counter. The journey starts with mastering the basics. Commit to learning and perfecting these ten fundamental techniques, and you'll lay the foundation for a successful BJJ journey. Whether your goal is self-defence, competition, or simply physical fitness, BJJ has something to offer, and it all begins with the basics.

If you're eager to dive deeper into these techniques and truly immerse yourself in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, don't miss out on the programs at Locals Jiu-Jitsu Zetland. With experienced instructors and a comprehensive curriculum, you'll be in the best hands to kickstart or advance your BJJ journey. Don't just read about these techniques; experience them first-hand and feel the transformative power of BJJ on the mats. Check out Locals Jiu-Jitsu Zetland's programs today!

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