13 Basic Jiu-Jitsu Positions You Should Master

Jiu-Jitsu is all about the level of fluidity you show along with strength. And while doing so, mastering its techniques from each and every aspect becomes immensely important.

Since techniques mainly consist of how perfectly you time and perform every single position.

Therefore, it is very crucial for experienced Jiu-Jitsu players to enhance and for beginners to accustom themselves to these fundamental positions.

So, here are some basic jiu-jitsu positions and all you need to know about them.

13 Basic Jiu-Jitsu Positions Beginners Need To Perfect

These positions can be classified into two broad categories viz. the “Chief or Prominent” positions and “Basic yet Important” ones.

1. Full Guard

Full Guard Jiu-Jitsu Position

The most basic and important jiu-jitsu position is the full-guard position. In this position, one of the players leaning at the bottom wraps his legs around the waist of the opponent who is positioned directly in front of him. 

Clearly, this position is more advantageous for the bottom player, since he has better opportunities for sweeps and submissions. The top full guard person has no option except to break the guard. It is also known as a ‘closed guard position’.

2. Half-Guard

Half Guard Jiu-Jitsu Position

Here, the bottom guy grabs one of the legs of the top half-guard guy by folding his legs around it.

The bottom-placed guy can attempt many moves like a sweep, guillotine, or even a kimura lock. He can also try to get into an even better position.

For the top guard player, though this position allows a better movement yet he has only two options to choose from – break the position or attempt for a side mount.

3. Side Control

Side Control Jiu-Jitsu Position
Image source: bjj-world.com

One of the most crucial basic jiu-jitsu positions one must know is side control. It brings extreme advantages to the top guy.

Herein, the top position holder takes control over the arms while putting an isolating pressure on the hips of his opponent by leaning his body over the opponent from the side.

The controlling person (top guy) can perform a Kimura, Americana, gi-chokes and even upgrade the position to a full or a half guard. 

The only thing left for the opponent to opt is to take over the top guy’s back to break the position, or push off his rival. Though this would require a tremendous force, succeeding in this scenario would open up opportunities for full as well as half guard.

4. Mount

Image Credits – gallerr.com

The dominance that you would be presenting while being in the top position would be unmatched.

As the top guy would be sitting on the belly or chest of his opponent while locking his legs and arms, he would be capturing almost all of the controls of the bottom guy.

Moreover, the top guard would be eligible for attempting all sorts of submissions.

Being the top guy, it is very easy to control and perform all kinds of movements in this position. 

Whereas, the bottom guy would survive only if he can successfully perform an explosion and get out of this position. But obviously, this would require great skills.

Well, skills are what jiu-jitsu is all about though!

5. Back Control

Back Control
Credits – Ram Vision

Back control is undoubtedly one of the most dominant positions of BJJ. The controller literally hangs on his rival’s shoulder similar to as in a ‘backpack’.

All he has to do is to hold a firm and strong grip. He can then perform various kinds of chokes and submissions. 

The opponent just has to focus on trying to break through the grip of his rival in any way possible. And while he will be helplessly trying to do so, the controller would get plenty-full of opportunities.

6. Knee Mount

Knee Mount
Credits – Stephan Kesting

In this position, the mount controller eyes to press his knee over the belly or chest of the opponent. Sounds painful right?

So it is, since, it not only restricts the opponents but also is extremely uncomfortable.

Moreover, the top person has the chance to perform free movements while the focus of the bearer is on the discomfort.

7. De La Riva

De La Riva
Credits – grapplearts.com

This position can be a very effective active guard position. Herein, the performer (bottom guy) grabs the ankle of the opponent and locks the foot around the rival’s leg.

Thereafter, it is easier for the person beneath to balance and support the posture while controlling the sleeves or lapel of the rival.

8. Butterfly Guard

Butterfly Guard

Not as adorable as it sounds, this position works quite similar to the full guard.

In this position, the performer locks the legs of the opponent spread open and active using his feet, similar to the wings of a butterfly. This greatly restricts the movement of the top guy.

9. Spider Guard

Spider Guard BJJ

In this complex yet effective position, the bottom guy i.e. the controller hinders the opponent’s arms through the rival’s sleeves.

Moreover, the top guy locks the bends (front side of elbows) of the opponent using the feet.

10. North-South

North-South BJJ
Credits: www.attacktheback.com

Not a very stable position, yet it is quite useful while transitioning towards a more supportive and dominant position.

In this structure, the top guy leans his body over the bottom guy from the vertically inverted direction (from the side of his head). This makes it extremely uncomfortable for the opponent.

11. Lasso Guard

Lasso Guard BJJ
Source – JiuJitsuMag

It would be much easier to understand this underrated position while relating it to weaving.

While performing this, the bottom guy weaves his leg through the arm of the opponent, by positioning it from above the opponent’s forearm and then passing it through the armpits.

12. Kesa Getame

Kesa Getame jiu-jitsu position

In this highly dominating position, the performer wraps the opponent’s arm around his own waist, similar to a seat belt.

Also, he grabs the neck of the opponent to lock it along with the arm. It is also known as ‘Head & Arm Pin’ or ‘Scarf Hold’.

13. Turtle Position

Not meant for aggressive purposes, this position works well for a comeback from recessive positions. Here, the controller structures the opponent like a turtle by weaving through his arms and locking them with his hands wrapped around the rival’s waist.

This limits movement as well as the vision of the opponent. However, it’s not possible to attack in such a position.

Final Words

With so many complex positions involved in this skillful game, understanding them from all aspects is very important.

For experienced players, this plays a major role in sharpening their skills whereas, for beginners, this is, of course, a key to perfect learning.

So, these were some of the most crucial basic jiu-jitsu positions, with brief descriptions about the structures, advantages, and disadvantages associated with them.

Leave a Comment