10 Fundamental Jiu Jitsu Positions That You Should Learn

Brazilian jiu-jitsu positions are critical for a complicated BJJ and grappling fighter. A fighter tends first to secure a dominant position and then seek submission, sweeps, or other jiu-jitsu moves. Otherwise, a dominant position is once you arrive to require total control of your jiu-jitsu opponent and give them no chance to react appropriately.

A BJJ practitioner fighting from rock bottom tends to secure ju-jitsu positions like the full guard, half guard, butterfly, de la Riva Guard, spider guard, etc. Whereas from the top, a practitioner tends to hunt other positions like side mount, side control, full mount, back mount, etc.). 

So, what are the basic jiu-jitsu positions? Continue reading because I will offer you a list of fundamental positions that you should be aware of and be able to cope with as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter.

What Are the Fundamental Jiu-Jitsu Positions?

Source: Jiu-Jitsu Times

As a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, you will learn various positions that can be used to either attack an opponent or defend yourself from being smashed.

Here are some basic BJJ positions you should be familiar with.

Closed Guard

The Closed guard, also called full guard, is one of the basic jiu-jitsu positions. This is a vital and somewhat complicated position every new Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner should learn and deal with from the beginning of BJJ practice.

The closed guard is a BJJ position where the bottom Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner’s legs are closed around the guy’s waist on the top. 

In this position, the bottom guy has a plethora of BJJ submissions (kimura lock, armbar, triangle, etc.) and sweeps (scissor sweep, kimura sweep, and more).

However, the guy on the top has limited choices. He ought to adjust his posture and try to break the full guard.

Here is a BJJ video about the closed guard submissions by Eli Knight jiu-jitsu.

Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

Here is another BJJ video about the closed guard no-gi structure concepts by Gordon Ryan jiu-jitsu.

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

Here is another about “how to build the perfect BJJ closed guard game” by John Danaher.

source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

Recommended: This detailed article will instruct you on all you need to know about the closed guard in BJJ. It details the full guard posture and some effective attacks and sweeps to help defeat your numerous opponents.

Half Guard

coyote half guard

The half guard is one of the basic BJJ positions, and it’s a position played by many tough jiu-jitsu fighters in gi and no gi competitions.

This is an important position where many beginners find themselves, so they should learn how to defend and attack from this position.

The half-guard is a position where one of the legs of a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner is between his opponent’s legs. 

The guy on the top has more choices for winning than the Bottom fighter. But, the fastest jiu-jitsu attacker who arrives to set their grip of control fist can dominate the fight or the grappling match.

There is no perfect way to play the half-guard position. However, when in this guard, the person on the bottom should use their knee shield and hands to maintain a safe distance from their opponent.

Furthermore, the primary thing to prevent is not letting your opponent control your head and then obligating you to lie on your back.

On the other hand, the BJJ guy on the top controls his opponent’s head to prevent him from leveraging distance, then breaks the half-guard and moves to the side mount. From there, he can process a jiu-jitsu submission like the armbar or switch his position to the knee on belly or full mount.

Here is a jiu-jitsu video about “how to build the perfect BJJ half-guard game” by John Danaher BJJ.

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

Recommended: This detailed article will instruct you all you need to know about the half guard in BJJ. It details the half-guard posture and some effective attacks and sweeps to help defeat your numerous opponents.

Butterfly Guard

BJJ Butterfly Guard Position

The butterfly guard is one of the challenging BJJ positions, and it’s played by many Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters in both gi and no-gi.

This is an important position every beginning BJJ student should learn because it’s very effective in protecting your guard or executing beautiful BJJ sweeps or submissions. 

A fundamental jiu-jitsu Butterfly Guard is an open guard, where you’re on your butt sitting up. You control your BJJ opponent by having your shins on the inside of your opponent’s legs and inside arm ties. And, your legs are slightly slanted outward, appearing almost like a butterfly, hence the name Butterfly Guard.

Marcelo Garcia was one of the best grapplers playing a butterfly guard, and in this BJJ video, he reveals some details about this savage jiu-jitsu technique.

source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

Playing the butterfly guard gives you the power to regulate spacing. And then, you can process a sweep or submit your opponent.

Here is a BJJ video about the Butterfly guard structure, sweeps, and submissions by Eli Knight jiu-jitsu.

Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

Recommended: This comprehensive article will teach you more about the butterfly guard in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It details the butterfly posture and highlights some effective attacks and sweeps to help you defeat your many opponents.

Spider Guard

bjj spider guard position

The spider guard is among the most challenging positions in gi jiu-jitsu. It’s a troublesome Brazilian jiu-jitsu control every beginner BJJ student should learn.

The jiu-jitsu spider guard allows you to comb or submit your opponent. So, it’s played by many Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters.

The spider guard could also be a kind of open guard or a dynamic game, where you grip your opponent’s wrists or sleeves and have a minimum of one foot controlling a minimum of 1 among his arms.

Typically, the sole of your foot goes to be placed against his biceps, or your leg will spiral around his elbow alongside your toes, hiding underneath his upper arm.

A troublesome Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter plays the spider guard well to regulate his opponent, leading him off-balance. Then, he will be in a favorite position to comb or submit with triangle chokes, armbar, and omoplata.

In the next jiu-jitsu video, Eli Knight jiu-jitsu reveals some of the spider guard’s fundamental setup concepts and sweeps.

Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

Recommended: This detailed post will instruct you more about the spider guard in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It explains the spider posture in depth and highlights some effective attacks and sweeps to defeat your many rivals.

De La Riva Guard

The De La Riva (DLR) is a challenging Brazilian jiu-jitsu guard position created by Ricardo de la Riva. It is an authoritarian BJJ control popular among practitioners in the Gi game mode.

Otherwise, this is an important position where a BJJ student creates a tough game-play, leading to several sweeps and submissions.

The De La Riva guard is played from the bottom position and can be used effectively when your opponent stands or kneels with one leg up.

Furthermore, a practitioner must secure several things when playing the DLR guard in BJJ.

  • First, he needs to use one hand to regulate the ankle of his BJJ opponent’s leading leg. And this prevents the top jiu-jitsu opponent from quickly walking away. 
  • Second, he needs to wrap an equivalent side leg around the outside of that same leading leg. 
  • Then, he must use his free arm and leg to push, pull, and control other locations on the opponent’s body. This is crucial because it creates the desired jiu-jitsu sweep and submission.  

The DLR guard allows you to attack with a large arsenal, including sweeps, berimbolo, back takes, chokes, arm locks, and leglocks.

In the below jiu-jitsu video, you will learn how to set up some savage BJJ submissions and sweeps from the DLR guard.

Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

Recommended: This detailed article will teach you more about De LA Riva guard in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It explains the DLR position in depth and highlights some effective submissions and sweeps to defeat your many competitors.

Side Control

The side control or “side mount” is an intermediate position before going to the mount or Knee on the belly position.

The side control is the best position to take when you pass your jiu-jitsu opponent’s guard. In this position, you have numerous BJJ submissions and opportunities for switching to another position.  

Otherwise, the bottom guy in the side mount will attempt to push and return to full guard or half-guard.

However, the person on the top can submit his opponent with Kimura, Americana, and various gi chokes. He can also pass into more dominant positions like full mount or north-south.

Recommended: With this detailed post, you will learn more about side control in BJJ. It explains the side control position in depth and highlights some effective submissions to conquer your opponents.

Knee on Belly

bjj knee on belly position

The Knee on belly (also known as knee on the stomach or knee ride) is a severely unpleasant jiu-jitsu position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

The BJJ Knee Ride is a dominant ground grappling position where the practitioner on the top places a knee on the bottom combatant’s stomach and typically extends the opposite leg to the side for balance.

Otherwise, the Knee on belly is an excellent position to take care of control and open up various submission opportunities.

Thus, Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters must implement this robust knee-on-belly attack game.

Here is a BJJ video about some jiu-jitsu submissions from the knee on belly by Eli Knight jiu-jitsu

Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

Recommended: With this thorough guide, you will learn the BJJ knee ride position adequately. It explains the knee-on-stomach position in depth and highlights effective attacks and escapes to conquer your opponents.


The north-south is one of the most dominant BJJ positions. You can get into this position with a smooth jiu-jitsu move transition from the side control.

Several Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters choose the north-south when they have no clue about the side mount or the knee on the stomach.

This jiu-jitsu position opens your gi or no-gi game for many transitions or submissions like the north-south chokes.

Discover some north-south BJJ submissions and escapes by Eli Knight jiu-jitsu in this video.

Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

And here is another video about “how to perfect your north-south choke” by Marcelo Garcia.

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

Full Mount

The full mount is one of the most dominant Brazilian jiu-jitsu positions. Though, if we look at the positional hierarchy in BJJ, we find that the full mount is the second most important position after the back control

The BJJ mount is a position in which the top player sits on the bottom player’s chest, paralyzes the bottom player’s shoulder, and head to the mat.

In the following, Andre Galvao explains the jiu-jitsu mount position.

Source: Atos Jiu-Jitsu HQ

BJJ Mount Entries? The jiu-jitsu mount can be reached from many Brazilian jiu-jitsu positions, like the knee on the belly or the side control.

  • Entering the mount position from the side control
Source: Stephan Kesting
  • Entering the mount position from the knee on belly
Source: MMA Leech

Jiu-Jitsu Mount Submissions? The Jiu-Jitsu mount position is fertile with many possible submissions and transitions, such as BJJ chokes, Americana locks, and Kimura locks.

Discover in This video some full mount jiu-jitsu submissions by Eli Knight jiu-jitsu.

Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

Recommended: With this detailed guide, you will master the BJJ mount position. It explains the mount control positions in depth and highlights some attacks and escapes to use to conquer your opponents.

Back Control

The back control, also called the back mount, is the most dominant Brazilian jiu-jitsu and grappling position.

In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, back control is a strictly enforced position that occurs when someone takes the opponent’s back. This is ideal when fighting a more powerful opponent because it gives you complete control with unstoppable attacks.

In the video below, Andrew Wiltse demonstrates the Brazilian jiu-jitsu back control position. Have a fantastic time!

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ Fanatics

The BJJ back control enables advanced grapplers to finish their opponents with devastating attacks. In addition, it can provide a variety of savage BJJ submissions and transitions, such as RNC, bow and arrow choke, rear triangle choke, armbar, and more.

The following video demonstrates several excellent BJJ submissions from the back control by Eli Knight Jiu-Jitsu.

Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu Back Mount Escapes? The following video demonstrates five excellent techniques by Eli Knight Jiu-Jitsu to escape the back control position.

Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

Recommended: With this thorough guide, you will master the back mount position. It explains the back control positions in depth and highlights some submissions and escapes to use to dominate your opponents.

The Importance of Mastering Jiu-Jitsu Basic Positions

In the world of jiu-jitsu, the learning journey never ends. With each technique you perfect, you uncover many possibilities that can arise during any match, whether during a competition or training session.

At its core, jiu-jitsu is a game of seizing opportunities. In a five-minute bout, you’ll have the chance to capitalize on your opponent’s mistakes or the techniques you have mastered. Will you take advantage of these moments or find yourself in a tricky situation you hoped to avoid?

To better understand this concept, imagine driving on an unfamiliar highway. You must take the next right to reach your destination but miss the turn. Now, you’re forced to take a longer detour. This scenario is similar to the experience of many jiu-jitsu practitioners.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Did you overlook a position because you were unfamiliar with it? Take time to study and practice the position to understand potential outcomes better.
  • Do you know a position well but lack the strength to maintain it? Focus on building resilience through training.
  • Did you hesitate to execute a move you are familiar with, especially against a more experienced opponent? Build your confidence and mental fortitude.

It is essential to master the basics as they provide a foundation to evaluate your performance and identify areas for improvement.

Which Is the Most Dominant BJJ Position?

Controlling the back in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a highly advantageous position called the “rear mount” or “taking the back”. It is considered the ultimate goal for practitioners due to its dominance.

Once you have achieved it, your opponent is left vulnerable and unsure of your next move. The back mount is particularly effective for potential chokes, including the rear naked choke, widely used in BJJ and mixed martial arts.

To further enhance the control, incorporating a body triangle makes it even more challenging for your opponent to escape.


Brazilian jiu-jitsu positions are essential for becoming a savage grappler. After establishing a dominating position, a fighter often pursues submission, sweeps, or other jiu-jitsu tactics.

This post taught us ten significant BJJ positions you must master to improve your ground combat abilities. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Full Guard
  • Half Guard
  • Butterfly Guard
  • Spider Guard
  • De La Riva Guard
  • Side Control
  • Knee on belly
  • North-South
  • Full Mount
  • Back Mount

Otherwise, Brazilian jiu-jitsu positions need commitment, patience, and constant practice.

Drilling techniques and sparring with experienced partners may help you grasp the sport’s numerous positions and enhance your grappling abilities.

Seeking advice from experienced teachers may also give significant insights and speed up the learning process.

Anyone can learn the positions and techniques of Brazilian jiu-jitsu with time and effort. We hope this article has helped you improve your jiu-jitsu game.

Recommended: With this guide, you will start a healthy BJJ experience. So, it gives you critical advice before beginning your training, preparing well, and dominating the mat.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Significance of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Positions for a Fighter?

Brazilian jiu-jitsu positions are crucial for a fighter as they allow the practitioner to secure a dominant position from which they can seek submission, sweeps, or other jiu-jitsu moves. A dominant position provides total control over the opponent, giving them minimal chances to react appropriately.

What Are Some of the Basic Positions a BJJ Practitioner Should Be Familiar with When Fighting from the Bottom?

When fighting from the bottom, a BJJ practitioner should be familiar with positions like the closed guard, half guard, butterfly, Dela Riva guard, and spider guard.

What Are Some of the Basic Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Guard Positions

In Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), the Guard is a fundamental position that focuses on ground fighting. Here are some of the basic jiu-jitsu guard positions:

There are several guard positions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).

  • Closed Guard, also known as Full Guard, involves the person on the bottom wrapping their legs around the opponent’s waist and locking their feet together. Though defensive, it offers opportunities for sweeps and submissions.
  • Half Guard is a transitional position where the person on the bottom has one of the opponent’s legs trapped between their legs.
  • The butterfly guard has the person on the bottom sitting upright with their feet inside the opponent’s thighs, offering sweep opportunities.
  • Spider Guard involves using feet to control the opponent’s arms.
  • De La Riva Guard has one leg wrapping around the opponent’s leg and the other foot on the opponent’s hip or thigh.
  • Turtle Guard is a defensive position where the person is on their hands and knees, protecting themselves from the opponent.

Each Guard has its techniques, sweeps, and submissions, and practitioners often find specific guards that suit their body type and style of fighting.

Are Gi Jiu-Jitsu Positions the Same as No-Gi?

In traditional Gi Jiu-Jitsu, participants wear a gi (or kimono) uniform, whereas in No-Gi BJJ, they wear tight-fitting shirts and shorts. Despite this difference in attire, the two styles share many positions and techniques.

Aside from that, when it comes to competitive bouts, they are applied differently. The main factor that separates GI and No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu is the clothing worn during practice and competition.