Jiu Jitsu For Beginners:

The Fundamental Moves


Anyone starting in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Severna Park may find him or herself overwhelmed at all the different techniques to learn. Don’t become too frustrated. There is an open secret beginners need to know: success and skill in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu come down to knowing several basic, fundamental techniques and movements. So-called advanced movements rely on a grasp of the basics to work. And don’t waste time with flashy, YouTube-style moves. Stick with the basics, and you’ll go far at Severna Park BJJ.What are the basics? You could call them the primary moves that Jiu Jitsu practitioners use and rely on over and over. These moves also consist of high-percentage techniques. The work time and time again against a wide range of different opponents in different environments.


Here are some of the most important of all the fundamental movements to know:


The Upa and Shrimp


Escaping the mount and the side control are usually the first things taught to a beginner. The upa and shrimp moves facilitate these escapes. The upa is a variation on a wrestling bridge, but one with less explosion and a greater emphasis on leverage. The shrimp, also known as the elbow or hip escape, relies on a side-to-side crunching movement that brings the elbow to the knees. The shrimp also allows you to create distance with the hips, a crucial skill in BJJ.


As single movements, both the upa and shrimping can lead to an escape, but more people find they work better in combinations. When mounted, an upa can create space to perform a better shrimp, which allows you to put the opponent in the guard.


Beginners at Severna Park Jiu Jitsu often assume these two movements solely serve the purpose of escaping difficult positions. Both techniques, however, do a lot more. A series of shrimps, for example, could take you from one guard to a different guard and then into an armbar. An upa-like movement allows you to put the pressure on the elbow necessary to finish an armbar.


The bottom line here is the shrimp and the upa represent the two most important movements in all of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!


Escapes from the Bottom


Is there anything more frustrating than remaining pinned on your back for an entire sparring session? To be submitted while pinned would probably be the top answer.


Severna Park BJJ students don’t feel too thrilled when lying underneath someone’s side control. Further frustration arrives when your opponent switches from the side control or a scarf hold, north/south, or knee-on-stomach position. No players enjoy suffering under a pin because they don’t get to do much during rolling sessions.


Getting off your back and putting someone in the guard or going to your knees defeats pins. The skill necessary to do so requires a lot of practice. So work on side pin escapes as much as possible.


Controlling from the Top


There is an inverse skill to escapes, and it is pinning and controlling from the top. A tight side control can lead you into submissions with less effort. Effortless attacks require less endurance, so solid pins help you preserve your stamina. Learning how to hold someone down and switch to the mount and other pins make you formidable.


Skill at top control requires working on the movements and performing them effectively. Pressure and mobility drills help with developing a strong top game. Investing even only 15 minutes a week with these drills could change your game.


Controlling from the Guard


Controlling from the guard refers to keeping someone from passing while executing an effective offense. Chaining from one guard to another, off-balancing an opponent, breaking his/her posture, and threatening attacks keep someone from clearing the legs and attaining side control. Unfortunately, beginners focus too much on submissions and sweeps without developing skill at control. Learn to control an opponent better, and offense improves.


Maintaining a Strong Grip


Have you ever worked with a training partner whose grip was like a vice? Breaking such a grip can seem impossible. You probably noticed that someone gets a lot of extra mileage out of an excellent grip. Strong grips don’t only improve throws or chokes. Forceful gripping makes it difficult for an opponent to pull an arm out during a submission attempt. A grip makes passing the spider guard frustrating if not impossible.


Learning to grip also involves preventing injury to yourself. Reasons exist why you grip outside the sleeve rather than inside. An inside sleeve grip places the fingers at injury risk. Learning the proper way to grip adds a level of safety to training.


Passing the Closed Guard


Anyone who masters the art of guard passing will make life challenging for opponents and training partners. If they can’t keep you in their guard, they better be good at pin escapes. Passing the guard becomes challenging to learn because there are so many types of guards. Beginners may find it best to concentrate on a fundamental closed guard pass. The standing pass involving passive over instead of under the leg receives recommendations since you worry less about the triangle choke.


Proper posture contributes to performing effective guard passes. The right posture reduces the chances you get swept or caught in a submission. Even if you find yourself stuck in someone’s guard, proper posture makes it easier for you to defend yourself.


Executing a Scissor Sweep


The scissor sweep is another one of those “first-taught techniques” beginners learn. The scissor sweep might not turn up often in tournament matches, but it remains a vital technique to learn. The movements required to execute the sweep are found in many other techniques. The sweep’s hip movement is an example of the art’s building blocks. Elements of the scissor sweep find their way into many other moves.


The Straight Armlock


You can hit the straight armlock from any position. BJJ players often first learn how to do it from the mount and side mount. Then, they move onto learning the move from the closed guard. Working on perfect the armlock from these three positions is a wise strategy for beginners. If you put the right amount of time into working the armlock from these positions, the ways to execute the move from other positions reveal themselves.


The technique requires coordinating several moves at once while using perfect mechanics. The straight armlock isn’t easy to perform. Students who put the necessary amount of time into developing the skill to do the move will see their efforts pay off.


Do all these moves seem like a lot to work on? BJJ isn’t an art people learn overnight. Training consistently for years is the only way to become skilled. Try not to miss your Severna Park Jiu Jitsu lessons. You have to put the time in on the mat with all these basic techniques to see improvement.


Don’t worry, the whole journey is fun and rewarding.