Progressive Jiu Jitsu: It’s All About The Basics!

As you’ll quickly find in your jiu jitsu training, the amount of techniques and situations you have to process is overwhelming. People are getting you in bad positions and you are stuck and unable to get out – eventually leading to submission.

Don’t worry, you can survive!

The neat thing about jiu jitsu is that it is a great equalizer. The big and strong may actually be at a disadvantage against a skilled jiu jitsu practitioner. The question is how do you last long enough in training to become skilled.

The key is right there for anyone to take: learn the basics. If you can get down the jiu jitsu fundamentals, you can typically prevent yourself from getting in bad spots but also handle yourself if you do end up there. You’ll want to practice these at home and reinforce them during your usual classroom time. After a month or so you’ll have a skill level that’ll let you focus on learning and applying your newly taught techniques instead of constantly getting stuffed.

What are these basics?

Hip Escapes

The grand daddy of all jiu jitsu techniques is the hip escape. When you train, you should always have “loose hips”. Switching from side to side and using hips for generating leverage is critical. This really bears repeating. Being able to hip escape – shrimping – is always needed to create space for attacking submissions and defending to recover guard.


A basic that many beginners don’t realize is proper breathing. If you wear out in a fight or training, you’ll lose. You have to realize this may be a marathon and you need to relax, slow down and breathe. If you treat rolling/sparring as a sprint, in 30 seconds you will be dead. A typical training round is 5-7 minutes long, so imagine how bad it would be those last 5 minutes when you are gassed! So take your time, work for position, take a deep breath, and enjoy the match.

Open Mind

Many students come to jiu jitsu thinking that their strength is going to beat all challengers they face. This type of person is typically brutally proven wrong by some featherweight with a bit of training. To accelerate your learning, open your mind to the new ideas this art presents. Work the techniques with proper form and without using strength. Understand that you are going to have a learning curve and realize that this is a journey that you can’t just power through.


Most jiu jitsu students are male and as such have sizable egos. Check your ego at the door. Embrace the long journey of learning BJJ and learning all it has to offer. If you are the guy that doesn’t tap, you will end up frequently injured. And if you are injured, you won’t be able to train. Embrace losing just as much as winning. Help your classmates improve their skills. Become a family!

These basics aren’t a fully exhaustive list of everything you need to master. But they provide a great foundation to build upon. Walk into class ready to learn, guide your classmates where you can, and train hard. This is a special martial art and it can change you if you let it.

– Draculino

Visit Draculino’s online training site to train using the same BJJ techniques and approach he uses. Be sure to also check out the free jiu jitsu forum at the site and join the online community.

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