Since Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that incorporates several other practices into its system, it can seem daunting to master. Aside from defensive and offensive throws, BJJ includes groundwork to keep opponents off their feet and eventually work them into submission. That’s throws, grappling, submissions, and ground striking all rolled into one dangerous package!
However, much like any other sport, BJJ has fundamentals that need to be mastered by beginners before they can reach the more intermediate levels. A practitioner doesn’t have to be an MMA-level fighter to grasp these techniques. Just follow these BJJ tips to master the basics quickly!
I’m about to engage in a deadly combat sport, and you’re telling me to relax?
Yep! You’re no use to your trainer or yourself when you approach BJJ with a tight sphincter. You’ll tense up too much, which may over-exert or injure you in the long run. That’s why the first of these BJJ tips is to relax.
You’re at level one, so just go with the flow. Don’t be disgusted at yourself if you’re thrown, grappled, or submitted to the ground multiple times in your first sessions. Keeping a zen state allows you to absorb everything you need to learn and, hopefully, develop counters for those moves as you progress!
The second of these BJJ tips is to maintain a steady breathing pace at any point during the match. This applies whether you’re being grappled, submitted, or grounded and pounded. Controlling your breathing supplies a steady flow of oxygen to your brain and allows you to think of better ways to counter or escape. Avoid panicking, as that increases your heart rate and removes focus.
Third, Hold Properly
Since this martial art focuses on grapples and submissions, the third of these BJJ tips is gripping your opponent correctly. You want to throw them onto the floor for a ground-and-pound or a submission victory, not give them a nice friendly hug in a fight.
These are what you need to master for effective grappling:
- Arm strength: Your grip needs to be airtight so that opponents don’t escape your holds. You can increase your arms’ grip strength by using a hand-grip strengthener or taking rock climbing lessons since those require you to grip small rock surfaces with as much force as possible.
- Effective grappling: Since the arms primarily drive BJJ grapples and submissions, you need to know how to keep your ligaments clasped to create the perfect traps for your opponents.
You should never clasp your palms together to set or hold a lock. This is highly inefficient as it uses major muscle groups such as the brachioradialis, biceps, and triceps to keep the hold. Fatigue will set in shortly after since it takes a great deal of power to engage those muscles.
Instead, opt for an interlocked or clasped finger lock or cross the elbow joint to the wrist together for a tighter, more effective squeeze. These movements use only one major muscle group (biceps), making it harder for your opponent to escape the grapple or submission.
When choking out a combatant on the ground, cross your legs into a grapevine over their torso or head to restrict blood flow, increase pressure, and add your body weight onto your opponent to make it even harder for them to escape.
- Grappling placements: Fleshy body parts like the neck and abdomen and joint sockets on the shoulders and hips are practical areas to place grapple holds and bring them to the ground or submission holds to make them tap out.
The Final Round
With consistent practice, these three solid tips will improve your mastery in no time! Remember, relax, focus on your breathing, and execute the right holds when you’re in the ring. You’ll give your combatant a run for their money and make you realize just how crucial the basics are to achieving victory.
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