Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: fun for the whole family

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling sport that is fun, challenging and beautiful to look at. One of the things that makes it so great is that it is suitable for all ages. With proper instruction, children as young as three or four years old can hit the mat with confidence. Jiu-Jitsu is done traditionally in a gi, but this has been adapted for mixed martial arts. Now you can choose between gi and no-gi Jiu-Jitsu. The objective of the sport is to make your opponent submit or earn the most points by gaining advantageous positions, performing takedowns or submission attempts. Hover over photos for further detail.

Jiu-Jitsu can begin standing, sitting, or even lying down. I prefer to start standing. This provides the added element of takedowns and throws.

Jiu-Jitsu can begin standing, sitting, or even lying down. I prefer to start standing. This provides the added element of takedowns and throws.

 

From a standing position, there are multiple ways to take an opponent down to the mat. One of the most simple take-downs to learn is the single-leg whip. 

The Single-Leg Whip Takedown

The Single-Leg Whip Takedown

 (Red) - The right knee is placed between the legs of Blue while simultaneously ducking and grabbing the right leg  as shown.  The leg is then whipped to the outside in a quick swinging motion. Done properly,  this will cause Blue to  lose balance . Red will fall with blue ending up in either the guard or half guard position.

 (Red) - The right knee is placed between the legs of Blue while simultaneously ducking and grabbing the right leg  as shown.  The leg is then whipped to the outside in a quick swinging motion. Done properly,  this will cause Blue to  lose balance . Red will fall with blue ending up in either the guard or half guard position.

Once both fighters are on the ground, Jiu-Jitsu becomes an aggressive  game of rolling around, scrambling for the best position, and attempting to enforce your will onto your opponent.

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From the ground, you can try to pull off hundreds of submissions. The arm-bar is becoming common knowledge with the rise of UFC star, Ronda Rousey submitting 75% of her opponents by arm-bar. I have been in many, and I can assure you that it's not a fun position to be in.

(Green)- An arm-bar can be performed from a few different positions but it always ends up looking something like this. Green has their legs on either side of Red's right arm and each leg over the chest. Green clasps Red's forearm just before the wrist and twists until Red's palm is facing upwards. Green then arches their back, pulls on the arm and pushes Red down with the legs. This bends the arm at the elbow (blue). It is easy to dislocate the elbow from here.

(Green)- An arm-bar can be performed from a few different positions but it always ends up looking something like this. Green has their legs on either side of Red's right arm and each leg over the chest. Green clasps Red's forearm just before the wrist and twists until Red's palm is facing upwards. Green then arches their back, pulls on the arm and pushes Red down with the legs. This bends the arm at the elbow (blue). It is easy to dislocate the elbow from here.

Another well-known submission is the triangle choke. A triangle is formed when the head and one of the arms are caught in a triangular hole made by either the arms or the legs. This blocks the opponents airway and blood passages causing decreased blood flow to the brain and an inability to breathe. 

The Arm-Triangle Choke: The arm-triangle choke is performed from the side control position. The head and arm are hugged while using shoulder pressure to force a choke. 

The Arm-Triangle Choke: The arm-triangle choke is performed from the side control position. The head and arm are hugged while using shoulder pressure to force a choke. 

While the arm-triangle Choke is a practical submission, a leg-triangle choke can be even more effective due to increased strength in the legs and the ability to pull on the arm, utilizing more muscles for maximum choking power. This submission is also useful because it can be done from the guard position with the opponent on top.

Leg-Triangle Choke from guard.

Leg-Triangle Choke from guard.

(green) - From the guard position, Green wraps their legs around Red's head and right arm. Green pulls on the right arm.  so that Red can't sit up. They then lock their right ankle behind their left knee.  While pulling on Red's arm, Green applies pressure with their legs, creating a choke.

(green) - From the guard position, Green wraps their legs around Red's head and right arm. Green pulls on the right arm.  so that Red can't sit up. They then lock their right ankle behind their left knee.  While pulling on Red's arm, Green applies pressure with their legs, creating a choke.

The last submission I will go over is the guillotine choke. The guillotine choke is as easy to pull off as it is versatile and effective. This particular choke can be done from a standing, kneeling, or prone position. The most effective position to lock in a guillotine choke is from guard. With the forearm tightly against the throat, a submission can be forced within seconds.

Guillotine Choke into Guard 

Guillotine Choke into Guard 

(red) - The Guillotine into guard  is performed by grabbing the head as shown with Red's right forearm across Green's throat. Red will then lie down on their back pulling Green with them  and wrap their legs around Green's body. From there, Red would arch their back, push and squeeze with their legs and pull on Green's head while simultaneously pushing their right forearm into the throat, forcing a choke.  

(red) - The Guillotine into guard  is performed by grabbing the head as shown with Red's right forearm across Green's throat. Red will then lie down on their back pulling Green with them  and wrap their legs around Green's body. From there, Red would arch their back, push and squeeze with their legs and pull on Green's head while simultaneously pushing their right forearm into the throat, forcing a choke.  

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a fantastic sport that truly is fun for the whole family. It caters to all ages, skill levels, and provides a surprising amount to learn. It can take around seven years to earn a black belt which, for many, is an exciting goal. If this post piqued your interest (even in the slightest) I highly recommend giving it a shot!


Gavin Hart

Gavin is an amateur mixed martial artist from Muskoka, Ontario. He enjoys the outdoors, dirt biking, playing the drums and long walks on the beach. 

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