As a  coach it is often easy to forget just how complicated a sport Jiu Jitsu is to learn. There are 6 basic positions and an endless list of techniques and strategies that can be utilised. With so many variations and options no wonder peoples brains get fried

I wake up everyday thanking the little baby Jesus/Buddha/whatever deity floats my readers boat, that the UFC got popular and I do not have to have this conversation:

Me: So this is Guard what I want you to do is wrap your legs round this guys hips and…..

Newbie: Hold on a minute, why the hell would I want to do that.

Me: Well If you dont, he can get past your legs and hips and beat the crap out of you and lets not forgot all those points you will be giving up. Plus from here you can actually win the fight from your back.

Newbie: this all sounds turbo gay. How would I win a fight off my back?

Me: well what I want you to do is wrap your legs round this guys head and ……

*Newbie leaves under a cloud of suppressed homosexuality*

The rise of mma has improved peoples awareness of jiu jitsu but it is still a vast and confusing sport. What I encourage new guys to do is to break there learning up into stages.

Stage 1- Identify the 6 major positions and their postures

The six major positions are:


Side Control


Back Mount


Half guard

From the perspective of the top guy and the guy on the bottom we need to know what these positions are for. What our aim is from these positions and  what is the posture I want to adopt when I find myself there?

Posture is a big deal and cannot be overestimated. You cannot even begin to do anything effectively if your posture is wrong. Without correct posture everything you do will require a lot more effort and will ultimately not work against experienced players.


Side Control Bottom:

My goal from here is to re-guard or turtle up.

Posture- On my side as much as possible, near arm blocking the cross face, far arm low on stomach to utilise the underhook, body crunched up small.

You will notice that I have added in Half guard and omitted knee ride from the 6 basic positions. This stems from not actually being aware of the jiu jitsu points system and a personal feeling that more shit gets done from half guard.

Once you have identified these 6 positions and determined the basic postures they require, write them down on something. In your head keep thinking

Being mounted = this posture

Guard top = this posture

Half guard = this posture

With experience you can start free styling it a bit but our initial aim when starting out is to limit the individuals options. When you are mounted for the first time you have millions of options you could:

  • Bench press the guy
  • Rollover and give your back
  • throw your legs up in the air
  • push his hips
  • underhook a leg
  • bridge like a mentalist in no paticular direction
  • Cry

Once you have identified the correct posture to adopt the game becomes infinitaly simpler. You only have one option, the right one.

Stay tuned this looks like its going to be a 3 parter.