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8 ways to level up your bjj game

8 Ways To Level Up Your Jiu-Jitsu Game

Jiu-jitsu is a sport that is well-loved by many, and all around the world, people have been trading in their gym attires and running shoes for brand new belts and gis. Many people have dedicated a serious amount of time to the sport, in the hopes of becoming better at jiu-jitsu so they can be like their idols.

But what every jiu-jitsu practitioner needs to understand is that their progress in the sport is just as dependent on their methods of learning as it is on their drive and dedication. So here are some tips for both on the mats and off the mats, that have helped countless people get better at Brazilian jiu-jitsu, try them out for yourself!

1. Train with people of different skill levels

First and foremost, you need to know who to train with. You may have all the potential in the world but you could get stuck in a rut just because you don’t know how to pick your training partners properly. This doesn’t mean ditch everyone who is lower ranking than you, or keep away from senior teammates who dominate you.

The key here is balance. You need to have a sample of everything. It’s important to have a coach or senior ranking teammates who are better than you, to guide you and to show you what holes you have in your game. It’s also important to train with people who you think you can dominate in turn, in order to practice new moves on them and polish your technique.

And lastly, you need to train with people who are on the same skill level as you, people who you can beat sometimes, but who beat you sometimes too. This is to give room for your technique to grow, and to give you an accurate gauge for your progress on the mats.

2. Pay attention to WHY it’s done not just HOW it’s done

We can all agree that the technicality of jiu-jitsu can sometimes be a little overwhelming. We’ve all probably experienced spacing out in the middle of an instructor’s lesson because of the sheer details involved in a move. One way to learn it faster and imprint it in your brain is not to memorize how it’s done, but the reasons behind all the little actions.

The next time your instructor teaches, don’t just memorize the series of steps and what it looks like—pay attention to exactly why he places his arm on that specific portion of the hip or why he chose that succession of steps.

3. Take notes or videos

Sometimes one might think that taking notes is a little dorky for this macho sport, but you’d be surprised how many black belts actually have a notebook where they organize their thoughts and moves. No one has a photographic memory and there just comes a point when there are simply too many moves to remember off the top of your head.

After every lesson, don’t forget to take down the important steps of each move. It serves as a review, and this way when you want to revisit the moves at a later time you won’t miss out on any of the minor details. If your instructor allows you to, you could even take a video and study it in greater detail whenever you want.

Many jiu-jitsu practitioners have also found making flowcharts of their strategies helpful. With this flowchart, they list down all the different moves that they could do if they’re in a certain position, and all the moves that lead from there, and so on. This helps them organize their game in their heads instead of having a blank mind on the mats.

4. Drill it for muscle memory

The more drills you do, the better. This isn’t just to make you stronger or give you more cardio, it is also so the move can be remembered by your body. Make it a point to diligently do drills for every move you want to incorporate into your jiu-jitsu game, that way when your body recognizes a familiar position, it won’t think twice to fire out the next steps without you having to consciously remember them.

5. Have a goal every time you roll

Remember, rolling is practice. It isn’t a place where you could show off or hold yourself back because you are too nervous. It’s there so you can watch yourself in different scenarios and it serves as a safe place to test out your strategies for competitions. Every roll is gold, and therefore every roll should have a goal.

You can tell yourself that for the next 6 minutes your goal is to practice the kimura from different situations, or you could tell yourself that this time your goal is to submit someone within the first minute. Whatever it is, setting a goal provides direction and prevents you from wasting your mat time.

6. Take a video of your rolling sessions or matches

Seeing your match from a phone or video camera is infinitely different from seeing it while you’re actually playing. When you see yourself play from an objective view, all the little things you never noticed on the mats are just as clear as day on the screen.

You’ll be surprised how often you’ll say things like “Oh I should have swept him there” or “I could have taken her arm at this point” or even “My base is just too unstable, I really need to work on that”. Having a video of yourself rolling or competing can allow you to dissect your game point by point, and show you what you need to work on to get better quickly.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Your seniors are there for a reason, and asking someone a question will be a much faster way of learning than trying to figure it out on your own. You can ask questions for clarification of a move your instructor is teaching, you can ask questions after rolling and realizing you don’t know what to do when you’re caught in a certain position, or you can ask questions if you’re just wondering what to drill to generally improve your game. The possibilities are endless.

8. Compete

This could be one of the most important tips for you to improve your jiu-jitsu. If all you do is train and do drills, you are leaving a huge aspect of jiu-jitsu out of your life and just plain missing out on a great experience. Training for a competition is different from everyday casual learning because it allows you to really put your skills to the test, right when you’re at your one hundred percent.

You get to face people of the same skill level as you but from different backgrounds. You are exposed to so many different players in competitions and that diversity is simply not present in just one gym. This allows you to really polish your skills and serves as a good way of evaluating your progress.

preparing for your first bjj tournament

Preparing for Your First BJJ Tournament

Ask Your Coaches If You Are Ready to Compete

You don’t want to be the guy at the tournament who thinks he’s a much better grappler than he really is. So ask your coaches if you’re ready for your first BJJ tournament. Some gyms encourage competition for students early on with as little as one month of training. Others prefer students train for several months and showcase skill in the gym before competing. And certain gyms aren’t even competition focused.

It’s important to first ask your coaches to assess your skill prior to any competitions. Because ultimately, you’re representing your school and coach when you’re competing.

Creating Your Weight Plan

For your first tournament, you need to assess your current weight. After doing so, you’ll be able to determine the weight you can best compete in. Your weight should be guaranteed, so that you can focus more on your game plan. The point of your competing weight reflecting your current weight is so that you can avoid cutting too much too fast. Consequently, you don’t want to suffer a loss because of poorly executed weight management.

How To Choose Your First White Belt Competition

Once you have your desired competition weight selected, you can begin assessing your current shape before looking at tournaments. This will help you better decide the conditioning that you will need in preparation for the tournament.

First, you need to decide whether you want to compete in a points jiu-jitsu tournament or a submission only style tournament. From there you need to determine which tournament to make your debut. There are some very solid organized tournaments run by groups like NAGA, IBJJF, NABJJF, US Grappling and more. Entry fees generally range from $70 to $130 to enter a single elimination tournament.

Also, you can always check with your coaches to see if there are any upcoming tournaments that they think might be a good fit.

Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C

When creating your game plan, it is best to ask yourself what you are great at, where you need the most improvement and the type of opponents you may face. In doing so, you can better plan your success. You can break it down by attacks, defensive techniques, and your escapes. It is best to plan for top, bottom, and escapes. In doing so, you can keep it simple, which is especially helpful if you are a beginner. Your plan of action should include your takedowns, guards, guard breaks, passes, submissions, and how you plan to get in and out of positions. You can also include drills to determine how you will react to takedowns. Finally, you should outline all escapes or any situations you haven’t covered.

Aim to drill at least two takedowns, and drill sprawling to avoid common takedowns, like the ankle pick. Through drills and training, you can commit your game plan to muscle memory. Preparing for the BJJ Tournament As you grow closer to your tournament day, double and triple check your weight, game plan, and every aspect of your BJJ practice. Continue to drill and spar up until two days before the tournament to ensure maximum gains, but still adequate rest. If you do any move 1000 times, you will always notice an increase in its effectiveness. It is best to also use this time to focus on any areas you feel are especially weak.

The night before the tournament, you should be fully prepared mentally and physically. BJJ tournaments are physically and mentally demanding for beginners and veterans alike. Decide if you want to use Gi gear, remember to bring your belt, pack sweatpants to stay warm and comfortable, and you can bring any source of music as well. As far as nutrition goes, for snacks, you should pack light. Therefore, the best suggestions would be bananas, protein bars or shakes, almonds, honey sticks, and coconut water. It is best to eat light during the tournament itself. Though it is optional, you can also bring a friend and pack a camera.

Clear your mind the night and morning prior to your tournament. You can do this through a movie, by reading, or even by hanging out with friends and family. Whatever it is you need to do to clear your mind, do so because a clouded mind could be your biggest disadvantage.

BJJ Tournament Day

The day of the tournament has come. Make sure to eat a good size breakfast because you will need fuel. You won’t always know exactly when you will have a chance to refuel again. Take the time to relax and visualize before your match. This will help you effectively warm up mentally before attempting to warm up physically.

Warming up properly will help you avoid injuries. It is suggested that you use foam rolling, Hindi squats, dive bomber pushups, sprawls, and partner drills as methods of warming up. Ensure that you recover properly between your matches by focusing on your hydration and breathing. Avoid making any drastic changes during the tournament.

Tournament training is invaluable. You will either win or lose, but regardless you will learn and improve in your BJJ practice.

jiu jitsu vs krav maga

Jiu-Jitsu vs. Krav Maga

What Is Krav Maga

Krav maga is a self-defense oriented martial art. It was developed as a means of self-defense for those Europeans concerned with anti-Semitic extremism. It is currently used by the Israel Defense Forces.

The underlying goal of Aikido is to protect your self while mitigating injury to your assailant.

Basic Philosophy of Krav Maga

Krav Maga is intended for self-protection and isn’t sport oriented. The overall strategy is to prevent injury, practice dignity while defending yourself. Their belief is to do whatever is needed to cause as much damage as possible to your attacker and get away safely. It is simple, ruthless and efficient. Krav Maga looks primal in nature and aggressive.

Similarities between Krav Maga and Jiu-Jitsu

Both disciplines have a self-defense aspect to them. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or GJJ places a heavier emphasis on self-defense than more sport oriented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The self-defense portion utilizes ground fighting techniques but also incorporates weapons training, closing distance to clinch, takedowns and powerful strikes.

However, this is where the similarities end.

Differences Between Krav Maga & Jiu-Jitsu

Krav Maga Incorporates Many Styles

Krav Maga is an eclectic system that takes useful elements from existing martial arts. Most notably it incorporates:
Strikes – similar to Karate and Boxing
Take-downs / Throws – like Judo, Aikido, and Wrestling
Ground Fighting – similar to Judo and Wrestling

Anything Goes Mentality

While Jiu-Jitsu and other martial arts may have certain etiquette in terms of their strikes Krav Maga focuses on self-preservation. So, they permit and train in groin strikes, eye pokes etc. The style is centered around survival and their techniques are a means to an end.

There Are No Competitions

Many Krav Maga organizations do not support a competition component. Their belief is that Krav Maga is not a sport. They maintain a belief that sports operate under principles of using safe techniques, doing minimal harm and wearing down opponents using tactics supported by the “rules” of safe competition.

Their belief is that Krav Maga techniques do maximum harm and significant damage and therefore is not suitable for competition purposes. They may have never seen a high-level MMA fight.

Jiu-Jitsu vs. Krav Maga: who would win?

While Krav Maga works in self-defense situations against Jiu-Jitsu the Krav Maga specialist would be like a fish out of water.

The Jiu-Jitsu fighter would close distance to clinch or initiate a takedown and establish side control or mount. A high-level BJJ practitioner would soften the Krav Maga fighter up with strikes from the top position until they exposed themselves and set in a quick submission.

bjj vs. aikido

Jiu-jitsu Vs. Aikido

What Is Akido

Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba. Aikido is oftentimes translated as “the way of unifying life energy” or as “the way if harmonious spirit”.

The underlying goal of Aikido is to protect your self while mitigating injury to your assailiant.

Basic Philosophy of Aikido

The word Aikido itself holds clues into this martial arts basic philosophy.
Ai – joining, unifying, combining, fitting
Ki – spirit, energy, mood, morale
do – way, path
From a literal interpretation, Aikido means the “Way of combining forces”.

Similarities between Aikido & Jiu-Jitsu

Aikido like Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling heavy martial arts that places a heavy emphasis on safetly subduing your attacker. Both martial arts pursue controlled relaxation, fluid movement of joints like your hips and shoulders and relies on endurance and flexibility.

Also, like jiu-jitsu there are a lot of basic circular movements. Both martial arts believe in harmony, rather than confrontation. Aikido take an aggressive linear attack and converts it into a circular motion that neutralizes the attacker.

Differences Between Aikido & Jiu-Jitsu

Aikido doesnt have live sparring sessions or tournaments

Aikido techniques are practiced as a self defense from a linear attack.

Unlike jiu-jitsu Aikido training is centered around partners rehearsing a set of pre-arranged forms rather than sparring or any freestyle type practice.

The other major difference between the two martial arts is Aikido is not a competitive art form. Jiu-jitsu can be used in competition and as a result has continue to grow in relevance. Whereas Aikido isn’t and testing your skill set against a resiting opponent is difficult.

Aikido is completly reactive

Common Basic Attacks:
Front of the head strike – consist of a vertical knifehand strike to the head.
Side of the head strike – a diagonal knifehand strike to the side of the head or neck
Chest thrust – a punch to the torso
Face thrust – a punch to the face

While Aikido is centered around reacting to strikes jiu-jitsu offers a bit more offense to the martial arts practioner. Traditional jiu-jitsu has some basic strikes along with an emphasis on taking the fight to the ground and utilizing pressure or attaining a dominant position to set up submissions.

Jiu-jitsu has several submissions which can be used both offensively and defensively like joint locks, heel hooks, chokes and strangles.

People question its effectiveness

Its fairly safe to say people question Aikidos effectiveness both in a self defense situation and a sport combat application. I’m sure you’ve been on youtube recently and have seen the Aikido guy trying to spar with MMA fighters. It hasn’t gone so well for him.

However, jiu-jitsu’s effectiveness has been proven time and time again. For example, the gracie challenge was an open invitation issued by members of the famous Brazilian Gracie family known for their jiu jitsu mastery. It stated to all other martial artist of various style to fight them in a vale tudo match. They did this to solidify the effectiveness of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

No one in the Aikido discipline has ever been able to do this. Nor any other traditional martial art.

Learn More About Aikido
Aikido Belts

Originally went Aikido arrived it Europe it had two colored belts White and Black. But it was difficult to implement.

In many Western Aikido schools the belt system is similar to this structure:

6th kyu – white
5th kyu – yellow
4th kyu – orange
3rd kyu – blue
2nd kyu – brown
1st dan – black
2nd dan – black with thin gold stripe
3rd dan – black with red stripe

Does Aikido Work?

Aikido works in the gym when both parties are cooperating and can help in some self defense applications. However, as a combat sport it is not effective.

Aikido Fighting Style

Aikido is a modern japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a result of his philosophy studies, religious belieffs and culmination of his total martial arts studies. Aikido focuses on: irmi (entering), and tenkan (turning) movements.

bjj vs. karate

Jiu-jitsu Vs. Karate

What Is Karate

Karate is an asian martial arts systems that emphasizes the hands and feet to deliver strikes. This martial art physical aspects seek the developmetn of defensive and counterattacking body movements. The overall theme of karate is you never attack first. This martial art is centered around fighting and self defense.

Karate was developed within the Ryukyu Kingdom and was influenced by Chinese Kung Fu. Karate is predominantly a striking discipline focused on ounches, kicks, knee strikes, elbow and open hand attacks. Today there are four styles of karate in Japan: Shotokan, Goju-ryu, Shito-ryu, and Wado-ryu.

Basic Philosophy of Karate

Karate is centered around cultivating a calm temperament and self control with mutual respect to your opponent. This is evident by the arts belief in,: “There is no first attack in Karate.”

Similarities between Karate & Jiu-Jitsu

While jiu-jitsu is primarily a ground based martial art it does have some basic strikes as well. Both diciplines utilize strikes for self-defense situations.

Both disciplines embrace similar philosophys. Jiu-jitsu places an emphasis on humility, honesty and respect. Karate also promotes being humble and open to Karate’s many lessons and being open to criticism.

Differences Between Karate & Jiu-Jitsu

Karate Emphasizes Striking

Sure while there are some basic strikes in jiu-jtisu it is primarily a grappling martial arts. Karate focuses more on striking through teaching katas or forms. The kata is a formalized sequence of movements which represent various offensive and defensive postures. However, these postures and katas are based on idealized combat situations.

In Karate they call there sparring sessions, a “meeting of hands” or Kumite. It varies by school and focus there is everything from full contact karate which resembles kickboxing like K1. Then there is light contact like the World Karate Federation.

Belt Progression Is Much Faster

In karate, it takes a typical adult student who attends class two times per week to earn a black belt in five years. Contrast that with jiu-jitsu at five years you would just be eligible to test for your brown belt. In rare instances, Karate gyms have been known to give out a black belt in as little as 3 years.

Karate Places Emphasis In Striking

Karate practicioners train a series of open hand and closed fist strikes. Common strikes learned are:
Haishu uchi – Back hand strike
Haito uchi – Ridge (back of sword) hand strike
Ipon ken – forefinger knuckle strike
Ipon nukite ken – first finger spear strike
Kai ko ken – open fist strike
Kakuto – head of the crane / goose neck strike
Ko koo – tiger’s mouth strike
Kuma de – bear hand strike
Keito – head of the hen strike
Nakadaka ipon ken – middle finger knuckle strike
Nihon nukite – two finger spear strike
Nukite – Spear hand strike
Seiken – clenched fist strike
Shuto uchi – Knife (sword) hand strike
Teisho uchi – Palm heel strike
Tetsu tsui – [iron] hammer fist
Uraken uchi – Back fist strike
Washi de – eagle’s beak strike
Wan to – sword arm strike

Contrast this with jiu-jitsu and there are basic self defense that are utilized for setting up takedowns and to really implement a strong bjj game.

Learn More About Karate

Originally went Aikido arrived it Europe it had two colored belts White and Black. But it was difficult to implement.

In many Western Aikido schools the belt system is similar to this structure:

6th kyu – white
5th kyu – yellow
4th kyu – orange
3rd kyu – blue
2nd kyu – brown
1st dan – black
2nd dan – black with thin gold stripe
3rd dan – black with red stripe

Who Would Win: BJJ vs. Karate

Going back to the Gracie challenge BJJ would win over Karate. While certain forms or variations of Karate would be effective in self defense situations it isn’t enough against BJJ.

While Karate focuses on the striking aspect Jiu-Jitsu practitioners work to take the fight to the ground to gain an advantage. The jiu-jitsu fighter would move in quickly to close distance and set up a takedown. The BJJ fighter would quickly establish a dominate position once on the ground and would soften the Karate fighter up with strikes. From there its only a matter of time before they are easily submitted.

no gi vs gi jiu jitsu

No Gi vs. Gi Jiu-Jitsu

No Gi and Gi are both 2 forms of Jiu-Jitsu. While some may refer to No-Gi jiu-jitsu as wrestling nevertheless No Gi is still a form of jiu-jitsu. We believe that to become a well-rounded BJJ player you need to train in both. Gi jiu-jitsu is a great way to build a strong base and work on your technical abilities and defense. Whereas No Gi helps you refine your submission and finishing skills.

Differences Between No-Gi and Gi Jiu-Jitsu

In No Gi BJJ the pace is faster pace due to the lack of friction from the kimono. Also, due to the lack of added grip from the Gi the submissions are a bit different. No Gi BJJ players prioritize taking the back over gaining the mount position due to limited submission options. While there are fewer submissions in mount No Gi opens up a lot more options for guillotines, darce chokes, and various foot locks.

While in Gi Jiu-Jitsu the sleeves, collar, and pants provide opportunities to gain and control position. Also, the added fabric opens up various submission opportunities as well. As you may have figured Gi Jiu-Jitsu is pretty slowed down. While Gi Jiu-Jitsu rewards those who prioritize technique and tactical thinking. The jacket becomes a weapon in the Gi. The most common jacket grip is the sleeve or the collar. It becomes easy to get arm control, arm drags, armbars and much more. The grips offer additional leverage to control the fight and submit your opponent by using their jacket against them.

Training Gear:

Gi Jiu-Jitsu

  • Jacket – Heavy cotton jacket with a thick collar
  • Pants – Heavy cotton drawstring pants with reinforced knees
  • Belt
  • Rashguard Optional
  • Compression Shorts
  • Cups

No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu

  • Most No Gi gear closely resemble that of surf apparel.
  • Board shorts
  • Rash Guard
  • Compression Shorts
  • Cups


When deciding what type of Jiu-Jitsu game you want to purse remember not to limit yourself. There is something to be learned from training in No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu or Gi Jiu-Jitsu. To be a complete BJJ player, you should train in both.

Which do you prefer?

combat jiu jitsu

Introduction to Combat Jiu-Jitsu

Combat Jiu-Jitsu is submission grappling that allows open-handed strikes to opponents once the action hits the ground. Combat jiu-jitsu is pitched as a league of professional grappling. Combat jiu-jitsu adds an added element of danger to grappling matches thanks to the introduction of strikes. But it’s a place where grapplers hone their top-game and ground-and-pound skills. And allows for jiu-jitsu to be applied to a more combat oriented environment without the concern of boxing or kickboxing.

Meet Eddie Bravo: Combat Jiu Jitsu Mastermind

Combat Jiu-jitsu is Eddie Bravo’s brainchild. We got an early indication of what he was planning when he dropped hints on the Joe Rogan podcast last year.

Bravo mentioned: “It gets you ready for MMA better than grappling, that’s for sure” “And also there’s a lot of jiu-jitsu guys out there who are awesome that will never do MMA, they don’t want to learn Muay Thai, and this could be their professional sport. This could be the final frontier. I would think 90 percent of jiu-jitsu fans out there would rather see Marcelo Garcia and Xande Ribiero going at it with punches than just straight grappling.”

The common consensus is that combat jiu-jitsu could place BJJ in a larger spotlight and work to spread jiu-jitsu’s popularity. Combat jiu-jitsu aka CJJ has been pitched by Eddie Bravo as being a bit more attractive than pure BJJ tournaments. It’s going to help prepare jiu-jitsu guys for MMA and potentially evolve the sport.

Combat Jiu-Jitsu made its debut at EBI 11

However, to really draw out bigger names they will have to put up purses and they aren’t quite in a position to do that yet.

Eddie Bravo Invitational or EBI

The Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI) is a 16-man tournament that features submission-only grappling. For EBI 11 combat jiu-jitsu was introduced. The EBI tournament features a $20,000 take home prize and is designed or the fans.

Rule Set:

  • EBI Rules – the basics
  • Matches are 10-minutes
  • Submission only – no points
  • If nobody gets a submission, we go to overtime rounds.

EBI Overtime Rules

  • Competitors flip a coin to decide who goes first
  • Competitors choose to start attacking from the back or ‘spiderweb’ position (armbar)
  • Competitors take turns to attack from chosen position
  • If one competitor submits, and the other does not (opponent escapes), he is declared winner
  • If both competitors escape, we move to the next overtime round (maximum 3 overtime rounds)
  • If there are no submissions at the end of the three overtime rounds, the competitor with the fastest combined escape time wins the match.

Some People are Taking Combat Jiu-Jitsu To Another Level


Best Stretches for Jiu-Jitsu

Flexibility is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Some people are born more flexible than others but fortunately, we can all practice and improve our flexibility. It’s always a good idea to work on your stretches after a light warm up before you begin training.

Think of flexibility like strength training. While working out and being incredibly strong isn’t necessary for BJJ it certainly helps level up your game. Flexibility training is very similar to strength training, it won’t make or break your game but it will certainly give you an edge.

Butterfly Stretch
This stretch targets your groin and hip region. This is a great beginner stretch that isn’t too difficult. Sit on the ground, straighten your legs out and remember to straighten your spine for proper posture. While you grab and hold your ankles slowly press your knees downwards with your elbows.

Lying Spinal Stretch
This stretch will give your spine more flexibility and make you more limber. Start out by lying on your back with your arms stretched out to your left and right side. Left your legs to the sky, fold it over to the right side of your body. This stretch will aide in your spinal flexibility and will come in handy when people try to stack you while they are on your guard.

Bridge Pose
This is a counter pose to a forward bend. The bridge is a good beginner’s yoga stretch that helps you build additional flexibility in your back. Lie down on your back and place your feet shoulder-width apart. Press firmly on to your feet and lift your butt off the ground. Interlace your hands together press the fists down to the floor. This stretch also helps improve your bridging during rolling sessions.

Leg Cradle Stretch
Lower back injuries and pain are very common in jiu-jitsu fighters. The leg cradle stretch is great for stretching out your lower back. Perform this stretch laying down on your back, straighten out your legs and slowly lift your knee and grab it. Gently pull your left knee to your chest and hold steady for about a minute then return it to the starting position.

Standing and Reaching Hamstring Stretch
Stand up tall and bend forwards from the hips, reaching for your toes with your hands. The goal is to keep your legs straight and your back as flat as possible. Don’t worry if you can’t reach your feet with your hands just rest them as far down on your legs as possible.

While improving your flexibility won’t win you any tournaments it will make your jiu-jitsu game stronger. Integrate these stretches into your training regime and you will notice improvements over time!


Judo vs. Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs. Judo. Which is the more effective martial art? Sure to the untrained eye they may appear similar. This is due to both disciplines having ancient roots tied to the Japanese art of jiu-jitsu.

Judo Origin
Judo’s origin story is inseparable from its creator Kano Jigoro. Judo was created by Japanese educator Kano Jigoro. Kano’s father was a strong believer in education and as a result, Kano was well educated. Kano was an educator and athlete who was a pioneer in international sports. Kano placed focus on maximum efficiency with minimum effort. Around 1877, Kano began training in jiu-jitsu. During his training with Fukuda, Kano had trouble with a senior student at the school. A glimpse of innovative things to come with Kano, he began integrating unorthodox techniques from both wrestling and sambo. Around this time Kano realized that training harder wasn’t the answer. He began to learn new techniques that centered around throwing and off balancing opponents.

Jigoro Kano at just 21 years old took the best elements of each jiu-jitsu style at the time and created a new school. Kano first went to Europe in 1889 to introduce judo outside of Japan. In 1964, Kano’s dream came true, men’s judo was recognized as an official Olympic event.

Judo’s Principles
Judo places a heavier emphasis on takedowns. There are three basic categories of techniques in judo. Throwing techniques, grappling techniques, and striking techniques. Judo is most prominently known for throwing and grappling techniques with greater emphasis being placed on throws and takedowns.

Judo techniques include attempts to throw or trip opponents. The aim is placing the opponent on their back and fall into three distinct stages:

  • Kuzushi, the initial balance break
  • Tsukuri, the act of turning in and fitting into the throw
  • Kake, the execution, and completion of the throw

Kano’s vision for judo was established around the principles of maximum efficiency with minimum effort. He believed that resisting a more powerful opponent will result in your defeat. But by adjusting to and evading your opponent’s attack will cause him to lose balance and you can turn their power against them.

History jiu-jitsu
The generally accepted theory embraced by most historians is that martial arts techniques originated in India with Buddhism. Buddhist monks were said to have greatly contributed to the early development of Jiu-Jitsu thanks to monks. These Monks were men of great wisdom who possess a knowledge of the human body. Specifically, they applied the laws of physics such as leverage, momentum, balance, center of gravity and weight manipulation.

Jiu-jitsu was heavily utilized and perfected on the battlefield in Japan during the 8th and 16th century. During this period Japan was wrought with constant civil war. Jiu-jitsu was used to combat armored samurai and armed opponents. Designed for warfare originally but after the end of the Feudal system in Japan, modifications were made to the art so it can be practiced.

Principles of Jiu-jitsu
The ability to achieve maximum output with minimum input is a core feature of jiu-jitsu. Brazilian jiu-jitsu was later developed out of the ground-fighting aspect of Judo. Brazilian jiu-jitsu traces its roots back to Mitsuyo Maeda.

The most striking difference in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is that the initial throw is just the beginning of the fight rather than the end. Once the fight in on the ground, both fighters attempt to transition into a dominant position to set up submissions. Brazilian jiu-jitsu utilizes techniques like joint-locks and chokeholds to subdue a larger opponent.

Primary Ground Positions in BJJ:

  • Side control: The practitioner pins his opponent to the ground from the side of his body. From here the opponent can be further controlled by pressure on either side of the shoulders and hips from the practitioner’s elbows, shoulders, and knees.
  • Full mount: In this dominant position, the practitioner sits astride the opponent’s chest, controlling the opponent with his bodyweight and hips.
  • Back mount: This position refers to the attacker attaching to the back of the opponent by wrapping his legs around and hooking the opponent’s thighs with his heels.
  • Guards: In this position, the practitioner is on his back controlling an opponent with his legs.

In conclusion, Judo focuses heavily on takedowns and throws. Almost 75% of training involves standing up and setting up takedowns. Whereas, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses almost exclusively on the fight once the opponents hit the ground. However, most BJJ fighter’s cross train in other disciplines to develop takedowns as well.

Differences Between Judo and Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-jitsu places heavy emphasis on ground grappling. This refers to all grappling techniques that are applied once the combatants are no longer in a standing position. An important feature of jiu-jitsu and most other ground grappling arts is establishing a dominant position. Dominant positions offer ground grapplers the opportunity to exhaust the opponent, execute a submission, or strike the opponent. Whereas, the grappler on the bottom is more concerned with escaping, improving their position, sweeping their opponent or reversing their position.


Best Jiu-Jitsu Takedowns

We get it when you are starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu takedowns can be very intimidating. It can be scary to shoot for single and double legs with the threat of headlocks, darce chokes etc.

Traditionally, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu encompasses everything that happens once you hit the ground. It doesn’t help that most schools have their students start sparring or rolling on the knees versus standing. This helps to prevent excessive injuries. Because of this issue there is a stigma surround takedown in BJJ.

Many eager white belts who have their first tournament feel a need to pull guard and just work from there. This can become problematic because grapplers who have a strong top game feel a need to pull guard and have to work from there.

However, takedowns are the mark of all grappling disciplines whether you are a Judo player, Wrestler or Sambo fighter. They all center around taking the fight to the ground. Let’s take a look at the top takedowns you should be working to level up your BJJ game.

The Double Leg Takedown

This is probably the first takedown you will learn. Any grappler should have a double leg takedown in their arsenal of attacks. It is one of the most commonly used takedowns whether in MMA, BJJ or general grappling. It requires good physical acumen in order to shoot in fast under your opponent and take them down with whatever variation you choose.

Single Leg Takedown

This takedown is very common as well. It is traditionally taught in wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and sambo. It involves trapping one of your opponents (or teammates) leg and using some variation depending on how your opponent reacts.

Arm Drag To Rear Leg Trip

This is probably one of my favorite takedowns. This is a fairly simple takedown which makes it an excellent takedown for beginners. After hitting the arm drag all you need to do is a transition to the back and hit a straight legged trip.

Low Single
While this is technically still a variation on a single leg takedown the mechanics of the low single are very different. Basically, you need to lower your base as low you can go, shoot forward, cup behind your opponent’s heel with your hand and drive forward to score the takedown.

Ankle Pick
The Ankle Pick is a favorite among wrestlers and works well in BJJ. It is a relatively low risk, high reward technique that can set you up in a great position for passing the guard and attacking. In BJJ you want to apply this technique while grabbing the lapel as a grip, pull your opponent forward within range.

For new BJJ practitioners don’t be intimated by takedowns. Drill these 5 takedowns to get you ready for competition so you don’t have to rely on pulling guard and instead can apply your top game.

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