Tag Archives: back

8 Basic Positions for Beginning Grapplers

With all the unique attacks and moves in jiu jitsu comes plenty of positions. Learning all the advanced positions in jiu jitsu can be confusing at first but Head Coach of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Van Nuys Alder Hampel and I have come up with eight basic positions to get you started. After learning and mastering these, you’ll be ready to go on and learn all the other fun stuff in the vast world that is jiu jitsu.

The most basic position out there is where every fight starts… standing. With both fighters on their feet, people have a variety of options. Grapplers can lock up for a clinch, shoot for a takedown, or go for a trip or throw in order to get the fight to the ground. If you’re looking to develop your grappling game for self defense, MMA, or competition, you should be familiar with at least 1 or 2 takedowns to start with.

After the takedown, the most common position to land in, is the infamous Guard position. This is achieved when one fighter is kneeling in between another grapplers legs and the legs are around the waist. What makes BJJ so unique from other grappling arts is the ability to attack from the bottom position which most of the time, is deemed “inferior.” From here, the person playing bottom has a variety of sweeps and submissions depending on the type of guard they want to play. With things like Standard Closed Guard, RubberGuard, Overhooks,  Underhooks,  and more, the guard is an incredibly versatile position with endless moves. However, start by familiarizing yourself with the standard guard position and from there, you will prepare yourself to learn all the other guards. Some of the attacks that are well known in the guard are the armbar, triangle, kimura, or the guillotine choke. The top player however, should be looking to stay safe from attacks and eventually pass the guard.

One of those other forms of guards is the downed or Open Guard with your opponent still standing. If you are on the mat and your opponent is standing in front of you, they are in your downed open guard. This can happen many ways. The person on top can complete a trip takedown of some sort to drop their opponent or they could have just stood up from inside the bottom persons guard. Also, the bottom player could have initiated this by simply siting to their butt without contact with their opponent. In MMA, the standing fighter could have landed a powerful shot sending their opponent crashing onto the mat. And the list of possibilities goes on and on. Also, it’s important to note that there are multitudes of different Open Guards: XGuard. De La Riva, Reverse De La Riva, and more.

From here, the person on bottom will be playing the same game as the previously mentioned closed guard working for sweeps or submissions. The person standing will also be doing the same as before by trying to pass the guard to gain a more dominant position.

While attempting to advance to a dominant position, the top grappler can often get trapped in the bottom fighters Half Guard. Half guard is when the bottom player has their legs trapping one of the top fighters legs, preventing them from fully passing the guard. Although it’s still a bottom position, this position is perfect for sweeps. There are a few submissions to hit from half guard, but sweeps are the go-to move for most half guard players. The 10th Planet system is known for developing an incredible sweep game for bottom players by utilizing the Lockdown. What other positions?


The Lazy Sunday Armbar

The Back is arguably the most dominant position in grappling. The most obvious finish is the Rear Naked Choke (RNC). However, there is an Armbar that if done properly, can prevent your opponent from ever grasping their hands together to defend!

This video was originally posted on 10thPlanetwatch.com but I thought I’d share it with you guys just in case you didn’t catch it there.
So how do I apply this undefendable Armbar?!? Continue Reading…

Belt Tests @ 10th Planet Van Nuys

Earning a colored belt rank in Jiu Jitsu is no easy task. You have to not only show the skill level for the rank you deserve, but also gym loyalty, competition, knowledge of the sport, and much more are all factors that are considered before you earn a rank.

However, because there are so many factors to be considered before earning your Blue or Purple belt rank at our gym, Coach Alder has developed a belt test method to be sure everyone has a goal to work towards in their Jiu Jitsu.

So, each month, Alder will set up an array of moves that focus on a particular position or submission and we as students will drill all the moves required. At the end of the month, Alder will test us on our knowledge of the moves. We’ll receive points depending on our grade on the test. After so many points, we become eligible for the next belt rank.

For example, our first belt test was on the truck position. The moves we had to master were the Calf Crank, Kamikaze Calf Crank, and the back take all from different set ups such as De Souza, double shin, etc.

This month, we’re focusing on the back. Moves to master include the RNC (even when the opponent tucks their chin), the Armbar, Head & Arm Choke, and for colored belts looking towards their Purples, the flow drill.

Now, before it gets twisted up, meeting the required points does not guarantee you the next belt. It just makes you eligible for promotion. Otherwise, students could simply only practice these moves and never work on other parts of their game or roll and it wouldn’t make any sense.

So, even if you’re not necessarily looking to earn your Blue or Purple belt very soon, these tests are still something to look forward to. Why? Because repping techniques over and over again is the ultimate way to develop the muscle memory required to execute it in live rolling.

So, get your reps in guys & gals and see you on the mats!

P.S. If you’re in the area and want to check out a class, come down to 10th Planet Van Nuys! Hope to see you guys real soon! =)