You really cannot deny the fact that the headlock is among the top two or three most common
positions you will find yourself if you have the unfortunate luck of becoming involved with a
street altercation. Why is this so? Basically, if a person assaults you at close range and is not
getting the better of the fight, the headlock becomes a rather cheap way of gaining control of the
Generally, the headlock is also used as a means of taking the fight to the ground. Once you are
on the ground in a headlock, you are in great danger of being hit repeatedly by an opponent that
is in a much more superior position. This is definitely not a good thing which is why headlock
escapes are among the most important Gracie Jiu Jitsu techniques to learn.
There are two common Gracie Jiu Jitsu escapes when an opponent has you headlocked on the
ground. These two escapes are based on whether or not the opponent’s upper torso is close to or
far away from your upper body. If he is not close then you can make a frame with your hand and
arms and push his head away and come to your knees while pushing him to the ground. If he is
close then you need to hug him and work to your knees and go around his back. Both of these
methods will get you out of a tough situation.
Obviously, the description of how the techniques are to be performed makes it all sound a little
easy. It is never easy to get out of a headlock that is executed by someone who is bigger,
stronger and more aggressive. This is why you do need to invest a lot of time drilling the escapes
with your training partners. This is the only way you will become proficient with your escapes.
Once you do become proficient with headlock escapes, you can feel somewhat confident you can
deal with one of the most common of all street attack scenarios.
Having heard so much about Gracie Jiu Jitsu, you are likely very thrilled about taking your first
class. You might even have a few expectations in mind. The class itself might be a little different
than what you expected so you should be aware of what will occur the very first class you take.
Obviously, the first session you have at a particular school will be a relaxed and designed more
to introduce you to the art itself. You might have seen a lot of cool moves on the internet but you
probably won’t be taught how to perform them your first day. Here is some news: you don’t
want to perform any of those flashy moves either. They take a bit much to coordinate and you
would be far better served sticking with simple, basic techniques.
This is not to say you first sessions will be a dull one. The instructor knows you are enthused and
want to have a lot of fun. So, a good instructor will try to make the intro class very exciting for
Your first Gracie Jiu Jitsu class will commonly deal with providing basic instruction on self-defense. This could
include dealing with aggressive collar grabs from a standing position or having to deal with
someone “getting in your face” and hauling off to hit you. Commonly, the way this is addressed
is through clinching and giving the aggressor a hip throw.
Gracie Jiu Jitsu frequently points out that one of the most dangerous positions to be in would be
the mount. The class will likely spend time on the ground showing the basic escapes from the
mount. While it can take a lifetime to learn all the fine points of escaping the mount of a skilled
BJJ player, learning how to escape the mount in a self-defense scenario could literally take as
little as one lesson.
Those new to a class would probably want to learn a few submissions from the arsenal of Gracie
Jiu Jitsu techniques. Commonly, bent armlocks and collar chokes from the mount would be the
first ones taught so you may see them during your first class.
Of course, this is just a possible way an intro to Gracie Jiu Jitsu could be taught. There can be
many other approaches but the goal will always be on ensuring those taking part in the class find
their first intro to be a lot of fun.
Attacks from the mount can be considered the primary Gracie Jiu Jitsu techniques. When
you have mounted an opponent, you will immediately launch an attack on the choke points or
the limbs of the upper torso. Of course, it is also possible to deliver strikes to the head of an
opponent but Gracie Jiu Jitsu prefers the more gentle approach and avoid more violent striking
methods unless there is no other option.
The most common attacks from the mount would be:
• Performing a spinning armbar when your opponent overreaches which his arm
• Pressing the arm to the ground to perform the Americana shoulder lock when the elbow
drifts away from the body
• Cross choking the opponent with his Gi or jacket collar
• Allowing the opponent to roll over face down and performing a rear naked choke
All of these submission moves are high percentage ones and can finish a fight rather quickly.
However, not very many opponents will be willing to allow you to finish them off so easily.
They will give you quite a bit of resistance. This should not prove to be too much of a problem
since you can always flow into the next technique to deal with the resistance.
Often, the way to deal with resistance is very simple. When you perform a collar choke or try to
execute the Americana, your opponent may reach around to grab his or your wrist to alleviate
your control over him. This is not a bad idea but it does open the door to an straight armlock. A
good Gracie Jiu Jitsu player would know exactly how to counter the move with the armlock.
You do need to familiarize yourself with the basic Gracie Jiu Jitsu techniques designed to promote attacks
from the mount and you also should develop a strong game for dealing with resistance. Doing so
will definitely make it a lot easier to use the mount in the most effective way.
In the early days of the UFC, Royce Gracie was able to takedown many of his opponents with
relative ease. The way he commonly did so was with one of the standard Gracie Jiu Jitsu
techniques: the double leg takedown. Anyone seriously interested in being able to bring a fight to
the ground should learn this very basic strategy along with other moves Royce and the other
Gracies used such as pulling an opponent into the guard, tripping an opponent or using a hip
The basic strategy was very simple. The legs of an opponent were antagonized with a series of
side kicks designed to distract and off balance a fighting stance. When the time was right, Royce
would either shoot in for the double leg or clinching the opponent to break his balance and then
tripping him to the ground. All these strategies might seem very simple and to a degree they are.
These Gracie Jiu Jitsu techniques are also very effective which is why it is suggested to employ
them. If an opponent is not very capable of defending the takedowns, he will usually go to the
ground without much effort. This is certainly what the Jiu Jitsu player would want!
There will be those opponents that do not go down easily but lack the ability to gain control of
the person clinching them. This could open the door for a hip throw right off of the trip attempt.
Your opponent may wish he had merely been tripped after experiencing the impact of hitting the
ground after being brutally hip tossed. The impact one hits the ground with from a hip toss can
be quite jarring and could even lead to a knockout.
What happens when you cannot take your opponent off his feet with trips or throws or double
leg takedowns? The last resort would be to pull the person into the guard. This is not always the
best option since the opponent can punch from the top position. However, you still have many
excellent techniques you can employ to end the fight quickly from the guard. However, a
takedown allowing you to capture the top position since it would be more dominant.
A BJJ school is easy to find, but finding the right one can be a challenge. Thanks to the popularity of the UFC and other MMA leagues, it seems that every guy who knows how to apply a triangle is running a BJJ school out of his house.
Here are some criteria that can help you choose your BJJ school:
1) Will This BJJ School Help Me Achieve My Goals?
Everyone comes to martial arts training with their own unique set of goals. Whether it’s competition, self-defense, fitness, or simply learning a new skill, everyone is looking for something specific. When evaluating BJJ schools, look closely at the teachers and students, and how they train. Some BJJ schools will help you reach your goals better than others.
2) Are The Instructors Qualified?
You’ll want a BJJ school run by a black belt.
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Very important. Instructors and students should all be treating each other with respect in a well-run BJJ school. Respect for the art, respect for each other, and respect for discipline are the backbone of any martial arts academy. That’s not to say that you can’t joke around and have fun while studying at a BJJ school (it should be fun), but the energy on the mat should be positive.
4) Will Training at this BJJ School Become a Regular Part of my Life and Routine?
It goes without saying that you can’t improve and grow with your Jiu Jitsu if you’re not training on a regular basis. A BJJ school should be easy for you to get to, the energy there should be positive (so you’ll be encouraged to keep coming back), and you should see positive results from your training (in other words, your training is helping you achieve your goals).
The spider guard can be a very fun and enjoyable guard to learn in Gracie Jiu Jitsu. The guard is
known for its unique approach to controlling an opponent and it opens the door for many
different offensive and defensive maneuvers. Putting a lot of time into learning the basics of the
spider guard is well worth the effort. Yet, there are those that might not be very interested in
learning the “ins and outs” of this guard. That could be a great mistake.
The spider guard is a version of the open guard where you have a minimum of three points of
contact. That is, you have 2 hands and 2 feet and a minimum of three of them in any
combination has to have a hold on an opponent. The feet can press into the hips or the biceps or
they can hook the inside of the knees or the thighs. The hands can control the wrist, grabs the gi
sleeves or even gran a foot. Regardless of where your contact points are and how you achieve
them, you must use them in some way to control an opponent.
Learning the spider guard is a must in Gracie Jiu Jitsu because you simply cannot rely on
keeping your guard closed all the time. When you are a beginner and you are rolling against
other beginners, you might find you can easily maintain the closed guard for quite some time.
Why is this so? Basically, you are rolling against other beginners that just might not have gotten
down the art and science of opening the guard yet. So, you can keep your legs locked around
them easier. Even when they open your guard you have the ability to wrap your legs back around
them once again without much difficulty. You won’t be so lucky with more experienced players.
You need to use the spider guard.
With the spider guard, you can control, push, pull, off-balance, and tie up an opponent. These are
all more preferable options that simply allowing an opponent to open up your closed guard and
And yes, the spider guard opens many possibilities for sweeps and submissions. Putting the right
amount of time and effort into learning the basics of the spider guard is a must for your guard
and Gracie Jiu Jitsu game.
While the world of BJJ has moved into the sport realm, Gracie Jiu Jitsu remains firmly rooted in
the self-defense aspects of the art. This is why Gracie Jiu Jitsu puts a lot of emphasis on collar
chokes. Of course, collar chokes are also employed in sportive environments but in a tournament
match you do not necessarily need to be an expert at collar chokes to be a great competitor. In a
self-defense situation, collar chokes are extremely important to learn.
Why is this so? There are a few reasons. First, people wearing shirts and jackets will have
collars. If you were to be attacked by someone wearing such apparel, it is possible to use the
apparel against him and apply an effective collar choke. Even if the person is wearing a T-shirt it
all it would take would be a few minor modifications use use the shirt to facilitate a choke.
And these chokes definitely are effective against a bigger and stronger opponent. No matter how
big you are you cannot make your carotid artery stronger. Only a person that has experience
dealing with collar chokes can develop a greater resistance to being choked. The average person
does not have this ability so an assailant is very vulnerable to a choke. A very strong person
can power out of an armbar. A collar choke would be difficult to get out of once it is sunk in.
Additionally, the choke puts a person to sleep. Once they are asleep they certainly cannot cause
any more harm.
There is another added benefit to a collar choke. A choke will not cause any lasting injury
provided it is released immediately after the person falls asleep. A joint lock can cause a broken
bone which may have legal ramifications regardless of the circumstances in which the lock was
applied. This may not be the case with a collar choke if the person suffers no injuries.