10 basic jiu jitsu positions you should know

basic jiu jitsu positions you should know

The Brazilian jiu jitsu positions have much importance for a complicated BJJ and grappling fighter. This fighter tends first to secure a dominant position then seek for the submissions, Sweeps, or other jiu jitsu moves. Otherwise, a dominant position is once you arrive to require total control on your jiu jitsu opponent and you giving him or her no chance to react properly.

As you recognize that Brazilian jiu-jitsu may be a martial art supported ground fighting. So, the BJJ fighter has got to fight from rock bottom or the top.

Besides, a BJJ fighter fighting from rock bottom tends to secure some ju jitsu position just like the guard (full guard, half guard, Butterfly, etc.), But if he chooses to play from the top he tends to hunt other positions like (side mount, full mount, etc.). 

During this BJJ article, we attempt to answer this question: What are the basic jiu jitsu positions?

Therefore, what follows is a list of some basic BJJ positions you should know and deal with as Brazilian jiu jitsu fighter.

1. Full Guard jiu jitsu positions

bjj positions
Full guard bjj position

The full guard or called also “closed guard” is one of the basic jiu jitsu positions. This is a very important and little complicated position every new Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner should learn and deal with from the beginning BJJ practice.

What’s the jiu jitsu full guard position?

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

Otherwise, 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 full guard submissions by Eli Knight jiu-jitsu.

source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

Here is another BJJ video about the closed guard nogi structure concepts by Gordon Ryan jiu-jitsu.

source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

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

source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

2. Jiu jitsu Half Guard positions

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The half guard is one among the basic BJJ positions, and it’s a position played by many though jiu jitsu fighter in both gi jiu jitsu and no gi.

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

What’s the Brazilian jiu-jitsu half guard position?

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

Furthermore, the BJJ guy on the top has more choice of winning than the Bottom BJJ fighter.

But, the fastest jiu jitsu attacker who arrives to set his or her grips of control fist can dominate the Brazilian jiu jitsu fight or the grappling match.

What is the ideal way to play the half guard? 

There no ideal or perfect way to play a BJJ position. However, when at the half guard the guy on the bottom needs to secure a good distance among his opponent using the knee shield and his hands for that purpose.

Furthermore, the major thing to prevent is don’t let your opponent control your head then obligate 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 break the half guard and move to side mount.

And from here he can process a jiu jitsu submission like the armbar or he can switch his position to the knee on belly or full mount.

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

source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

3. BJJ Butterfly Guard positions

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

This is an important position every beginning BJJ student should learn because it’s very effective to protect your guard or to execute some beautiful BJJ sweeps of submissions. 

What is the BJJ butterfly guard?

A basic jiu jitsu Butterfly Guard is an open guard, where you’re on your butt sitting up.

Though, you control your BJJ opponent by having your shins on the within of your opponent’s legs and inside arm ties. And, your legs are slightly slanted outward that appears 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

What a jiu jitsu fighter can do at the Butterfly guard position?

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

4. Spider guard BJJ position

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The BJJ spider guard is one of the tough BJJ positions using the jiu jitsu Gi. It’s a troublesome Brazilian jiu-jitsu control every beginning BJJ student should learn.

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

What’s the Spider Guard BJJ?

The BJJ 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 well the spider guard with the aim to regulate his opponent then lead him to be off-balance. And then, he is going to be at a favorite position to comb or submit with a triangle chokes, armbar, and omoplata.

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

source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

5. BJJ De La Riva Guard position

basic jiu jitsu positions
Dela Riva basic jiu jitsu position

The De La Riva (DLR) is one of the tough Brazilian jiu jitsu guard positions created by Ricardo de la Riva. It’s tough BJJ control popular within several jiu-jitsu practitioners in the BJJ Gi game mode.

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

What’s De La Riva guard in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

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

Furthermore, a BJJ practitioner needs to secure several things when he plays the DLR guard.

  • 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 easily walking away. 
  • Second, he needs to wrap an equivalent side leg around the outside of that very same leading leg. 
  • And then, he must use his free arm and leg to push, pull, and control other locations on the opponent’s body. This is a crucial step because it creates the desired jiu jitsu sweep and submission.  

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

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

source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

       source: Stephan Kesting

6. Side mount jiu jitsu positions

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

The side mount is the best position to take when you pass your jiu-jitsu opponent’s guard. And, in this position, you have numerous BJJ submissions and several 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, various gi chokes, and he also can pass into more dominant positions like full mount or north-south.

 Here is a BJJ video on how to do the perfect BJJ side control escape by John Danaher

source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

Here another one about some jiu jitsu submissions from the side mount by Eli Knight jiu-jitsu

source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

7. Knee on belly BJJ positions

Knee on belly (knee on stomach or knee ride) is a jiu jitsu position among the foremost painfully uncomfortable positions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

It might be a dominant ground grappling position where the BJJ 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 most 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

Here is another video about some knee on belly escapes by Eli Knight jiu-jitsu

source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

8. BJJ North South

The north-south is one of the most dominant BJJ positions. You can get on 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 in the side mount or the knee on the stomach.

This jiu jitsu position opens your gi or nogi game for many transitions or submissions like the north-south chokes.

source: BJJ Mental Models

Discover in This video some north south BJJ submission and escapes by Eli Knight jiu-jitsu

       source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

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


source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

9. Full Mount jiu jitsu positions

Brazilian jiu jitsu positions
BJJ full mount position and moving to americana submission

The Full Mount BJJ position is one of the most dominant Brazilian jiu jitsu positions. Though, if we took about positional hierarchy we find that the full mount is the second most important position after the back control. 

Otherwise, the jiu jitsu mount position can be reached from many other positions like the knee on belly or the control and more.

Indeed, it’s a fertile position with many possible jiu jitsu submissions and transitions such as BJJ chokes, Americana lock, Kimura lock, and more.

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

 source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

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

source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

10. Back Mount BJJ

The Back Mount or Back control” is the most dominant Brazilian jiu-jitsu and grappling positions. And from there you can reach from many savage BJJ submissions and transitions such as RNC BJJ choke, Bow and arrow choke, and more.

Learn more about the BJJ Back control position in these BJJ videos.

 source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

We hope that this information about BJJ positions will help you with improving your jiu jitsu game.

Feel free to let us know your favorite jiu jitsu position