6 Primary Positions of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Compared to other martial arts, Brazilian Jiu jitsu( BJJ) distinguishes itself from multitude positions and techniques, which in result, might frustrate and infuriate beginner practitioner.

And it is true, BJJ contains 6 primary positions, from which you have to work from bottom and top, as well as from left and right side. Add to that hundreds of different techniques from every position and you will understand complexity of this art.

Therefore, following question occurs: how can we learn BJJ and get less frustrated? Answer lies in learning 6 primary positions.

6 Primary Positions of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

If you will look at any sparring or competition, you will see that people spend 90% of their time in following positions:

1a:  Full Guard: In full guard, bottom player encircles his legs around opponent and tries to defend himself, top player tries to get past his opponents legs to get to superior position.

1b: Open Guard

In Open Guard, top player is standing while he is trying to get past the legs,bottom players goal is to sweep the opponent or defend the position.

1c: Half Guard

In Half Guard, top player must constantly pressure the bottom one to completely get past of the opponents legs, bottom player, on the other hand, tries to sweep or gets back to the full guard.

2. Side Control

In Side Control, top player managed to get past the legs,and now has better advantage to attack or transition to better position. During this time bottom player tries to escape and retain his guard.

3. Knee on the Belly

Knee on the belly is long transition between Side Control and Mount (next position). Top player usually uses it to pin the opponent on the ground and safely transition to superior position. Bottom player tries to defend himself and tries to disrupt opponents actions.

4: მაუნთი (ანუ Mount)

In Mount, top player managed to get into dominant position from which he can attack and create an opening for better position.

Bottom player tries to defend himself while trying to sweep the opponent into less superior position.

5. Rear Mount

In Rear Mount top player has total dominance over bottom player.

6. Turtle

In turtle bottom player has defensive superiority and waits for good timing to attack, meanwhile top player tries to break the position to his favor.

Positional hierarchy of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

For top and bottom players positions mentioned above have their advantages and disadvantages, it goes like this:




As you noticed, it is better to be in the top position, compared to bottom, however in the beginning try to learn following skills:

1. To understand in which position you are in: During sparring ask yourself a question: Which position am I in? What can I do from here? How can I go to my favorable position?

2. Always try to advance in positional hierarchy step by step :

Guard—> Side Control—-> Knee on the Mount—–> Mount–>Rear Mount


Guard—> Side Control—->Mount—>Rear Mount

რა თქმა უნდა ამ გადასვლებსაც თავისი შესაბამისი ტექნიკის სწავლა ჭირდება, მაგრამ ამას დროთა განმავლობაში ისწავლით, დასაწყისთვის კი ზემოთხსენებულ პუნქტებს მიაქციეთ ყურადღება.

Of course you will need to know specific techniques for these transitions, and you will learn them during training, meanwhile focus on above mentioned skills. It will really reduce your frustration and will pave way for you to enjoy this awesome journey.


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