Much of this list is taken from these sources.
ADCC – stands for ‘Abu Dhabi Combat Club’. The ADCC is a sports club founded by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and a black belt in BJJ under Renzo Gracie. However, the term ‘ADCC’ most commonly refers to the ADCC World Submission Fighting Championships, an event which began in 1998 and is currently held every two years. It is the most prestigious nogi tournament in grappling. The ADCC has been dominated by practitioners of BJJ, but it is open to all style of grappling: for example, the wrestler and MMA champion Mark Kerr has several ADCC gold medals.
Americana – A common submission in BJJ.
Arm Drag – A movement mainly used from guard but also possible standing up, where you grab their opposite wrist and pull it across your body. That is then enhanced by using your same side hand to grab behind their elbow, which becomes available due to the earlier pulling of their wrist. If this grip and the ‘dragging’ motion proves successful, it should expose their back. A similar motion can be achieved from a collar grip (a ‘collar drag’).
Arm Triangle Choke – A common submission in BJJ.
Armbar – A common submission in BJJ.
Back Mount – A common position in BJJ.
Base – generally refers to balance (e.g., someone who is difficult to sweep may be described as having a “good base”), in particular the position the person on top takes when in someone else’s guard: keep your weight low, back straight, head up, knees wide.
Berimbolo – A technique used to take the back of your opponent from De La Riva
Bow and Arrow Choke – A common submission in BJJ.
Breakfall – a method by which you can reduce the impact of being thrown or falling. The general principle is to disperse the force by slapping the ground with your hands (specifically the palm heel) and feet. Differs slightly depending on direction – for example, with a backwards breakfall, both hands slap the ground, whereas with a side breakfall, you only use one hand.
- Back Breakfall
- Side Breakfall
- Rolling Breakfall
Bridging – This is a very important movement in Jiu-Jitsu. In this movement, the person is laying on their back with their feet planted on the mat as close to their butt as they can get them. They will then elevate their hips and spine by pushing off the mat with their legs and engaging most of the muscles in their legs and core. When done properly, the only parts of the body that are touching the mat are their toes and the tops of their shoulder (or sometimes the top of the head!), and their body will be arched and shaped like an upside-down “U”. This shape is extremely strong and can support a tremendous amount of weight without collapsing, which is why so many bridge supports are engineered using this shape.
Butterfly Grip – A variation on the Gable grip is to reach further across and grasp your forearms. The goal is to have the bends of wrists hook against each other to add to the strength of the grip. You see this used when a grappler gets double underhooks and wants to close the circle of their arms extra tight, such as in Greco throws or half guard.
Butterfly Guard – A common position in BJJ.
Chin Strap – A direct way of controlling the head is via a chin strap. Mostly it’s limited to the front headlock position but it is a crucial concept to have. For the chin strap, you need a monkey grip under the opponent’s chin while you’re in a front headlock position. This offers huge control as well as plenty of choking or transitioning opportunities. You can also use chin strap grip to escape some submissions like head and arm choke from the north south position.
Collar Tie – Your forearm is on the shoulder of your opponent keeping them at distance so they can not shoot.
Crank – A term used to describe submissions that operate by twisting parts of the body into abnormal positions in order to cause pain. Cranks tend to be crude and rely on brute force, in comparison to submissions like chokes and armbars. Due to the increased risk of serious injury, particularly to the neck and spine, cranks are often either frowned upon or outright banned. A typical example is the ‘can opener’, performed by grabbing behind the head and pulling it towards you while in somebody’s guard. Note that there can be a grey area, especially between certain chokes and neck cranks, such as the guillotine choke. Crank may also be used to describe the process of locking on a submission: e.g., “she cranked that armbar”.
D’Arce Choke – A common submission in BJJ.
De La Riva – A common position in BJJ.
Figure-Four Grip – The figure four grip is mostly used for finishing although it might also be a controlling grip. For that, you need to have one palm gripping the other arm’s wrist in a figure four configuration. Think of a Kimura, Americana, Toe Hold.
Four Finger Grip – Four fingers in BJJ grip is the king. It offers huge control in multiple directions. The gripping mechanism is the same as with pants grips. Again, gripping inside the sleeve is illegal, so make sure you keep all your fingers except the thumb out. Creating a pocket in order to obtain as much material as possible is once again the way to go.
Full Guard – A common position in BJJ more commonly known as Closed Guard
Full Mount – A common position in BJJ more commonly known as Mount
Gable Grip – a grip in which your palms are together, fingers wrapped round the edge, not using the thumbs. As far as I’m aware, its named after legendary wrestler Dan Gable, but I don’t have any further information on that – feel free to put up a comment if you know anything about the origins.
Gi- The traditional (and sturdy!) attire for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. The outfit is comprised of long pants and a long-sleeved top that is open down the front but crossed across the front of the body and secured with a colored belt to indicate your rank in the sport. During a match, the opponents will grip each other’s Gi to gain leverage or control over the other person. For this reason, a low-quality gi will quickly break down under the strain.
Granby Roll – A Guard retention technique and a wrestling escape
Grapevine – a type of control that most commonly applies to MOUNT. You have your legs threaded through your opponent’s, hooking around with your feet to stop them escaping. This makes for a stable defensive position, though attacks are mostly limited to Ezekiel.
Guard Pass – A move or set of moves that allows one opponent to advance into a superior position out of another opponents guard. There are many types of guards, most of which involve controlling an opponent with your legs. A guard is considered passed when one opponent disentangles themselves from the legs of the other and secures a new dominant position above the opponent’s legs.
Half Guard – A common position in BJJ.
Heel Hook – A common submission in BJJ.
Hooks – (Not to be confused with Overhook or Underhook). Most often used as another word for feet. When a coach says “Get your hooks in!”, this usually means to make sure your feet are hooked around an opponent’s legs or hips for control.
IBJJF- stands for ‘International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation’. The IBJJF is a for-profit company that provides some of the largest BJJ tournaments in the sport.
Kesa Gatame – A common position in BJJ.
Kimura – A common submission in BJJ.
Kiss of the Dragon – A technique where you go in between your opponents legs to take the back. Normally from Reverse De La Riva or Sitting Up Guard.
Knee on Belly – A common position in BJJ.
Kneebar – A common submission in BJJ.
Lasso Guard – A common position in BJJ.
Leg Drag – A Common way of passing in BJJ where a knee goes between the opponents leg and the same side elbow goes over top the opponent.
No-Gi – A type of Jiu-Jitsu where the opponents are not wearing a Gi. In this style, neither opponent is allowed to use the fabric on the opponent for any kind of control or submission.
North-South – A common position in BJJ.
Omoplata – A common submission in BJJ.
Oss – Sometimes “Ossu” is most frequently used as a form of congratulations or agreement in BJJ. It is also frequently used as a form of encouragement for somebody who is showing a lot of heart on the mat when under intense pressure. WE DO NOT USE THIS!!
Overhook – (See also: Underhook) A type of arm control where the attacker wraps their arm over and around the defenders arm. The attacker will have the defender’s shoulder in their armpit.
Pistol Grip – Pistol grips are much more important with sleeves than they are with pants. Unless the opponent’s Gi is very tight around the wrists you can grip it like a pistol handle once again. This means your pinky is nearest to their wrist, with all your fingers holding as much of the material as a pistol handle. It is a great way to increase control over the opponent, plus add some discomfort due to the tightness of the sleeve.
Post – used as a verb, posting. A term which refers to placing a part of your body on your opponent or the mat in order to gain stability and prevent or set up movement. For example, if someone is attempting to use the UPA to escape your MOUNT, you can ‘post’ your arms to the relevant side in order to prevent being swept.
Posture – also known as postura (Portuguese). Good posture means that your back and neck are straight, your head in line with your spine.
Position – The key to BJJ is controlling the opponent, and control starts with the relative position of both opponents. Click the link for a list of the most common positions in Jiu-Jitsu. Mastery of these positions should be the highest priority for any student.
Porrada – Literally translated as “beating” or “brawling”, this word is most often used to mean training as hard as you can. This style of training requires you to go hard for every single roll. See also Nutella.Rear Naked Choke – A common submission in BJJ.
Rolling – The act of grappling with another person in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If you watch two experienced grapplers, their fluid movement and positional transitions resemble a ball rolling across the floor.
S-grip – When an opponent is too big for your arms to wrap enough to go palm-to-palm, you may be able to hook fingers-to-fingers in a s-grip. You can also use this when defending armbars, but make sure the arm that is being attacked is turned so the palm is away from you.
Seat Belt Grip – The seat belt grip is used most commonly from back control or the front headlock, as well as ankle locks and guillotines. As a rule, you want to hide the “choking” hand under the other hand so you make it harder for your opponent to grab and pull away, and to reinforce the choke or footlock when you go for the submission.
Shrimping – (Sometimes call Snakey Move or Hip Escape), this is one of the most critical movements in BJJ. The purpose of this movement is to quickly and efficiently move the hips away from the opponent in order to evade a negative position, create space, or affect the balance of the opponent. To do this move, the person typically begins by laying on their side on the mat. In one fluid motion, they lift their hips off the mat by supporting their weight on their foot and shoulder and they scoot their hips backward by straightening their legs.
Side Control– A common position in BJJ.
Spider Guard – A common position in BJJ.
Sleeve Grip – The sleeves have two major points of connection. The first and much more commonly used is the end of the sleeve just above the wrist. The second is either above the elbow (triceps level) or high in the armpit. Sleeve grips at wrist level are much more reliable though, given the type of material and the tightness of the Gi at upper arm level.
Straight Ankle Lock – A common submission in BJJ.
Submission – A way to defeat an opponent. In a submission, the attacker has created a painful situation that the defender can not escape and so must tap out in order to prevent injury. Click the link for a list of the most common submissions in BJJ.
Sweep – This is an attack or movement that transitions somebody that is in a weaker position into a more dominant position. For example, if an attacking player has somebody in their Full Guard, and they are able to roll the defending person over into a less neutral or less dominant position such as Full Mount, the attacking person has executed a sweep. In tournament scoring, a player will typically have to hold the new, dominant position for a certain amount of time (usually 3 seconds) before points for the sweep will be awarded.
Tap/Tapping Out – The act of submitting to an opponent’s submission attempt. In old times, a person would yell “Uncle” when they had had enough pain. Today, a person can tap out by tapping their hand on their opponent or on the mat. They can also tap the mat with their foot or yell “TAP!” if their hands are not easily available.
Tips/Stripes – A measure of rank within a certain belt class. For all adult ranks below black belt, there are four sub-ranks (called degrees) which are donated by white stripes on the belt. For example, a 3-striped or 3rd-degree blue belt will have three white stripes on one end of their belt. Once a person has accumulated four stripes, they can expect a rank promotion in their near future.
Triangle Choke – A common submission in BJJ.
Turtle Position – A common position in BJJ.
Two on One Grip – The basic two-on-one BJJ grip is with both your hands wrapped around an opponent’s wrist. This makes it extremely difficult for them to escape and opens up multiple avenues of control and attack for you.
Underhook – (See also: Overhook) Underhook is a type of arm control where an attacker wraps their arm underneath a defender’s arm and either reaches around the defender’s back or reaches up to grab their shoulder. In this position, the attacker’s shoulder is usually under the defender’s armpit.
Windshield Wiper– Pivoting at the knee to free one’s ankle from an open guard. This move allows a player to free themselves from the guard while not relinquishing superior positioning of the legs.
Wristlock – An uncommon submission in Jiu Jitsu where the wrist of your opponent is bent or twisted to the point of submission. Many gyms avoid teaching this submission, and it is often seen as a “dirty” submission. In most rulesets, white belts cannot attack the wrist due to risks of injury to their opponent. When attacking the wrist, you’ll often hear the term “prison rules” which means that dirty or mean submissions are open.
X-Guard – A common position in BJJ.