The (Almost) Complete Jiu Jitsu Dictionary

Created by: Cristiano Del Giacco

This is your ever-growing jiu jitsu Dictionary: no more nodding your head pretending you know what the higher belts are talking about. Now, with a click of a button, you can look up almost any word you’ll ever need to know on the mat!

Why is it almost every word you’ll ever need to know? Have you ever tried to write a complete dictionary? Try it out and let me know how you go with that.

While it might not contain absolutely every word in the jiu jitsu lexicon, just yet, with almost 170 must know terms and phrases related to techniques, jiu jitsu slang and Japanese and even Brazilian Portuguese, the Legion Jiu Jitsu Dictionary is a must for every practitioner.

The Jiu Jitsu Dictionary: Almost Every Word You’ll Ever Need To Know On The Mat!



Syllables: Ameri-Cana

Pronounced: Ame-Ri-Ca-Na

A fundamental shoulder lock where the opponent’s arm is bent to a ~90° at the elbow with their fist pointing towards their head, as if they were flexing their biceps. Here the attacking practitioner uses the figure 4 lock of their arms to pull the opponent’s elbow in tight to their body while gradually elevating it to break the shoulder.



Syllables: Ana-Conda

Pronounced: Ana-Conda

A relative of the arm triangle (See Arm Triangle) and darce (see Darce), the anaconda features a lock of the arms around the opponent’s neck, with one of their arms trapped inside. 

The defining characteristic between the anaconda and the darce is that the attacking practitioner will go shoulder deep with their arm on the side of their opponent’s neck.




Syllables: Arm-Bar

Pronounced: Ah-Rm-Bah-R

A fundamental submission in jiu jitsu where the attacker’s whole body is focused on breaking a single arm of their opponent’s by hyperextending the elbow to a catastrophic degree. 

The armbar can be applied from both the top and bottom from a variety of positions.


Arm Drag


Syllables: Arm-Drag

Pronounced: Ah-Rm-Drag

A technique used both on the feet and on the mat where the attacking practitioner uses a 2-on-1 grip (see 2-on-1 Grip) to drag their opponent across their body to either hit a takedown on the feet, or take the back on the ground. 

Arm Triangle


Syllables: Arm-Tri-Angle

Pronounced: Ah-Rm-Tri-Angle

A submission where the attacking practitioner uses their arms in a similar fashion to the triangle choke (see Triangle, Sankaku) around their opponent’s neck and arm to apply pressure to the carotid arteries. 

Ankle Lock


Syllables: An-Kle-Lock

Pronounced: Ang-Kl-Lok

A submission focused on the ankle joint. While the ankle can break, common application of this submission predominantly targets the Achilles tendon. 


Ashi Garami


Syllables: A-Shi-Ga-Ra-Mi

Pronounced: Ah-Shi-Gah-Rah-Mi

Japanese for leg entanglement (see Leg Entanglement), Ashi Garami is interchangeable with the English term single leg x (see Single Leg X), however, it is more commonly associated with situations where the hips of both practitioners are on the mat and is a big part of the leg lock game. 


The Back


Syllables: The-Back

Pronounced: The-Bak

A fundamental position in jiu jitsu and possibly the most dominant. Here the attacking practitioner is positioned behind their opponent with both feet placed inside their opponent’s hips along with some form of upper body control.

This position scores: 

  • 4 points with hooks IBJJF rulesets 
  • 3 points with hooks ADCC rulesets 

Back Control


Syllables: Back-Con-Trol

Pronounced: Bak-Cn-Trol

See The Back. 



Syllables: Ber-im-bo-lo

Pronounced: Bear-rim-bo-lo

An inversion based maneuver usually initiated from the de la riva guard, where the standing opponent is swept so that their hips are on the mat where the guard player can then invert to both control and tilt their opponent and facilitate a clean path to the back. 


Body Triangle


Syllables: Body-Tri-Angle

Pronounced: Bo-Di-Try-Angle

Usually engaged from the back (see The Back) the attacking practitioner will opt to lock their legs around their opponent’s torso with a triangle configuration (see Triangle, Sankaku).

While great for controlling opponents from the back, this will not garner points in competition as to score from the back, both hooks must be placed on the inside of the opponent’s hips.

Bow and Arrow


Syllables: Bow-And-Arrow

Pronounced: Bo-An-A-Row

A submission from the back where the collar is used to apply pressure to the carotid artery while the legs lock the opponent’s shoulder down, hindering their arm from fighting the choke while also making escape nearly impossible.




Syllables: Bridge

Pronounced: Bridj

A fundamental movement in jiu jitsu where the practitioner on their back will plant both heels on the mat and extend their hips into the air so that only the heels and shoulders are touching the mat. 

Bridge and Roll


Syllables: Bridge-And-Roll

Pronounced: Bridj-An-Rol

A fundamental movement in jiu jitsu where the practitioner performs a bridge (see bridge) and then turns to either side to end up on their knees. 

This move is commonly used as a defensive reversal when underneath the mount position, however, it’s application does serve other purposes in scrambles and similar situations.

Butterfly Guard


Syllables: Butt-Er-Fly-Guard

Pronounced: Butt-R-Fly-Gard

A guard position where the guard player is seated against a kneeling opponent and has positioned both feet in between their opponent’s knees.


Cartwheel Pass


Syllables: Cart-Wheel-Pass

Pronounced: Kart-Weel-Pass

A dynamic guard pass where the practitioner on top seeks to surprise their opponent by planting their hands on the mat and jumping over their opponent’s legs for the pass. 




Syllables: Chin-Strap

Pronounced: Chin-Str-Ap

A grip on the opponent’s chin, usually from a front headlock, where the palm of the hand encapsulates the tip of the chin, like the chinstrap of a helmet. 

Closed Guard


Syllables: Closed-Guard

Pronounced: Cl-O-Zd-Gard

One the fundamental guard positions in jiu jitsu. Here the person on bottom has their legs wrapped around their opponent’s hips/waist, locking their feet by crossing both ankles behind the opponent’s back. 

Synonym: Full Guard

Antonym: Open Guard

Collar Sleeve Grip


Syllables: Coll-Ar-Sleeve-Grip

Pronounced: Coll-R-Sl-Eev-Grip

A grip configuration featuring a grip high the opponent’s collar and the other low on their sleeve.



Syllables: Com-Bate

Pronounced: Com-Batch

Portugues word for fight and a signal used by the referee to start a match. 



Syllables: Cow-Catch-Er

Pronounced: Cow-Cat-Chr

A fundamental front headlock control in wrestling, the cowcatcher is commonly employed after a successful defensive sprawl against a takedown or a snapdown on the feet, as both maneuvers tend to end in a front headlock/turtle configuration.  

The cowcatcher involves an underhook with one arm and a control on the opponent’s head (usually at the chin) with the other (see Chin Strap). 


Coyote Guard


Syllables: Coy-Ote-Gard

Pronounced: Coy-Yo-Te-Gard

See Lucas Leite Guard.

Cross Ashi Garami


Syllables:  Cross-A-Shi-Ga-Ra-Mi

Pronounced: Cr-Oss-Ah-Shi-Gah-Rah-Mi

Similar to the standard Ashi Garami (see Ashi Garami), this time the practitioner has their legs inside their opponent’s much like the inside sankaku (see Inside Sankaku), but without the lock of the legs.

Cross Collar Grip


Syllables:  Cross-Coll-Ar-Grip

Pronounced: Cross-Col-R-Grip

A grip on the opponent’s collar taken with the opposite hand to that collar.


Cross Face


Syllables:  Cross-Face

Pronounced: Cross-Fays

  1. A dominant upper body control limiting shoulder and head movement in an opponent underneath side control. 
  1. One of the most satisfying grips in all of jiu jitsu.



Syllables: Cru-Ci-Fix

Pronounced: Crew-Se-Ficks

A variation of the back position where the attacking practitioner controls both arms of their opponent – one with their legs and the other with their arms – to spread them out as if they were nailed to a cross. 




Syllables:  Darce

Pronounced: Dars

A submission with many names and many origins, with the most common name being the Darce: after a practitioner who had become notorious for the maneuver named Joe D’arce.

Similar to the arm triangle (See Arm Triangle) and anaconda (see Anaconda), the darce features a lock of the arms around the opponent’s neck, with one of their arms trapped inside. 

The defining characteristic between the darce and the anaconda is that the attacking practitioner will go roughly shoulder deep with the arm on the side of their opponent’s arm.


De La Riva Guard


Syllables:  De-La-Riva-Guard

Pronounced: De-La-Hiva-Gard

A fundamental open guard position made famous by Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Ricardo de la Riva.

Once considered to be a specific type of guard, the many variations associated with the de la riva have now led the term to be more often used when referring to the de la riva hook, rather than any type of specific guard. 

The de la riva is the weaving of the guard player’s leg outside and behind their opponent’s knee. This hook has the purpose of hindering backward stepping movements while chopping the knee down maintains a bend, rotating the knee, so that the opponent is forced to face at an angle. This angle limits the top player’s ability to face in the most effective direction possible for the pass and also makes them more vulnerable to sweeps and backtakes. 


De La X-Guard


Syllables:  De-La-X- Guard

Pronounced: De-La-Eks-Gard

A hybrid of the X and de la riva guards (see X-Guard, De La Riva Guard) where the de la riva hook is combined with the X-guard hook on the far leg.


Demi Guard


Syllables:  De-Mi-Guard

Pronounced: De-Mi-Gard

A member of the lapel guard family (see lapel guard) used as a way to deal with opponents who are adamant about closing the distance and pressure passing. 

The demi guard involves a grip on your opponent’s collar with one hand, weaving the lapel behind their knee and placing your foot on the tail end of the lapel to help you relieve the pressure and elevate your opponent for the sweep.


Dog Fight


Syllables: Dog-Fight

Pronounced: Dog-Fite

A position where both practitioners are side by side on their knees, where one will have an overhook (see Overhook) or whizzer (see Whizzer) on their opponent. 


Double-Leg Takedown


Syllables: Dou-Ble-Leg-Take-Down 

Pronounced: Dah-Bl-Eg-Tayk-Down

A Takedown where both of the opponent’s legs are controlled.


Double-Under Pass


Syllables: Dou-Ble-Un-Der-Pass 

Pronounced: Dah-Bl-Un-Dr-Pass

A form of pressure passing where the person on top underhooks both of their opponent’s legs, from inside their guard, to either pass to the side or initiate the stack pass (see Stack Pass).



Syllables: E-Ze-Kiel 

Pronounced: E-Z-Kiel

A fundamental choke in the gi usually initiated from the back or side. where the attacking practitioner will take a grip inside their own sleeve and form a garrote around their opponent’s neck with their forearms. 

Arm In Ezekiel Choke



Syllables: Fifty-Fifty 

Pronounced: Fif-Tee-Fif-Tee

A guard position where both practitioners establish the same leg triangle control (see Triangle, Sankaku) over the other practitioner’s legs. 

There are a few variations of the 50/50 and practitioners’ can either be both seated, one kneeling or one standing.

2020 10 14 23 24 38

Fireman’s Carry


Syllables: Fire-Man’s-Carry 

Pronounced: Fy-R-Man-Z-Ka-Re

A takedown where the attacking practitioner drops to their knees, with their opponent stretched across their shoulders, to flip them from one side to the other on the mat. 


Flying Armbar


Syllables: Fly-Ing-Arm-Bar 

Pronounced: Fly-Ing-Ah-Rm-Bah-R

A high risk maneuver, but sexy if it pays off. Here, the attacker seeks to jump high and achieve an armbar submission (see armbar) from a standing position against an opponent who is either standing or seated.

Flying Guillotine


Syllables: Fly-Ing-Guil-O-Tine 

Pronounced: Fly-Ing-Gi-Ye-Teen – or – Fly-Ing-Gi-llo-Teen

A submission from the standing position in which the attacker jumps as high as they can while forcing their opponent’s head towards their armpit to secure the guillotine (see Guillotine). 

Flying Triangle


Syllables: Fly-Ing-Tri-Angle

Pronounced: Fly-Ing-Gi-Try-Ang-Gl

Like the flying armbar, this is yet another high risk maneuver, but will get you all the likes you desire on Instagram if it pays off. Here the attacker seeks to achieve a triangle submission (see Triangle) by jumping from a standing position against either a standing or seated opponent. 




Syllables: Four-One-One

Pronounced: For-Won-Won

See Cross Ashi Garami

Full Guard


Syllables: Full-Guard

Pronounced: F-Ool–Gard

One of the fundamental guard positions in jiu jitsu. Here the person on bottom has their legs wrapped around their opponent’s hips/waist, locking their feet in place by crossing both ankles behind the opponent’s back. 

Synonym: Closed Guard

Antonym: Open Guard



Syllables: Frame

Pronounced: Fr-A-M’

Frames are anything that make or maintain space between one practitioner and another. Can be made with the forearms, elbows, hands or the legs. 

Gable Grip


Syllables: Ga-Ble-Grip 

Pronounced: Gay-Bl-Grip

A fundamental grip in wrestling, named after 1972 Olympic gold medalist and former University of Iowa head wrestling coach, Dan Gable. 

The Gable Grip features a palm to palm configuration, with the thumbs of each hand pinned in tightly, like a flipper.




Syllables: Gi 

Pronounced: G-Ee

The uniform worn in Jiu Jitsu.

Synonym: Kimono.

Antonym: Nogi.

mr bean in a gi



Syllables: Go-Go-Pla-Ta 

Pronounced: Go-Go-Pla-Ta

A submission using the instep of the foot under the opponent’s throat, while grabbing the toes behind the head, to apply a choke.


Gravedigger Pass


Syllables: Grave-Digg-Er-Pass 

Pronounced: Gr-A-V-Dig-R-Pass

A style of pressure pass made famous by American Jiu Jitsu black belt Andris Brunovskis featuring a modified over-under grip (see Over-Under-Pass), in which one arm underhooks the opponent’s leg while the other takes a grip on their pants at the the knee area of the other leg – to either quickly pass to the side or impose so much pressure that the person on the bottom will give up the pass in order to relieve pressure.

Guard Pass


Syllables: Guard-Pass 

Pronounced: Gard-Pass

A key advancement in position. The guard pass is any movement where the practitioner on top successfully navigates either over, around or through their opponent’s legs (i.e. their guard) beyond their hips and stabilizes control of their opponent in either the side control, or mount position.

This maneuver scores: 

  • 3 points in IBJJF rulesets 
  • 3 points ADCC rulesets  

Guard Passer


Syllables: Guard-Pass-Er 

Pronounced: Gard-Pass-R

Jiu Jitsu practitioners who prefer to play an aggressive game on top, forcing their opponent to play guard where they then seek to pass and score. (See Passador)

Antonym: Guard Player

Guard Player


Syllables: Guard-Pla-Yer 

Pronounced: Gard-Play-R

Jiu Jitsu practitioners who specialize in either one or multiple guards using them as attacking positions rather than defensive positions.

This individual prefers to play guard, as opposed to being on top, where they can more easily submit or sweep their opponent to gain points and advance position. 

The guard player will often pull guard (see Pull Guard) to initiate their preferred position as quickly as possible. 

Antonym: Guard Passer, Passador.

Guard Pull


Syllables: Guard-Pull 

Pronounced: Gard-Pool

See Pull Guard.

Gubber Guard


Syllables: Gu-Bber-Guard 

Pronounced: Guh-Br-Gard

A variation of the rubber guard (see Rubber Guard), where the lapel is used to lock the guard player’s leg in place making postural control easier to achieve.

8 7 Gubber Guard Cross Choke



Syllables: Guil-O-Tine

Pronounced: Gi-Ye-Teen – or – Gi-llo-Teen

Fundamental submission in jiu jitsu, MMA and schoolyard shenanigans. This technique involves wrapping an arm around the opponent’s neck, in a face to face orientation where the opponent is bent forward with their head and neck under the attacker’s armpit.

The guillotine has many variations and applications from a variety of positions, using a number of grips. 

Derivatives include: Hingertine, Marcelotine, Ten Finger Guillotine, Arm-In Guillotine, and more.

Half Guard


Syllables: Half-Guard

Pronounced: Half-Gard

A fundamental closed guard position in jiu jitsu, where the guard player has both of their legs locked around one of their opponents. 

Harai Goshi


Syllables: Harai-Goshi

Pronounced: Ha-Ra-Goh-Shi

A judo throw where the attacking practitioner steps their outside leg across the opponent’s body and uses their hip, with a slight backward kicking motion, to throw the opponent to the mat.


Heel Hook


Syllables: Heel-Hook

Pronounced: Heal-Huk

A devastating leg lock targeting the knee joint after stabilizing the joints up and down stream of the knee i.e. the hip and heel. 

There are many variations of the heel hook depending on how the heel is controlled and the leg entanglement applied. 

heel hook

High Crotch


Syllables:  High-Crotch

Pronounced: Hi-Cr-Och

A grip from the standing position where the attacking practitioner secures control over one of the opponent’s legs high up near the groin. 

The high crotch can be used as a takedown or as a stepping stone to other takedowns such as the double and single leg.

Salter High Crotch



Syllables:  Hing-Ger-Tine

Pronounced: Hing-Gr-Teen

A variation of the guillotine (see Guillotine) made famous by American Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Joshua Roy Hinger.

Traditionally, this variation had been known as the arm-in guillotine, where the defending practitioner would have their arm wrapped around the attacking practitioner’s hip, forcing the attacking practitioner to overhook that arm in order to connect their hands for the choke. However, Hinger states that a “real arm-in guillotine” would involve the opponent’s arm being involved in the choke, in a kind of anaconda (see Anaconda) guillotine hybrid. So some confusion may occur in regards to terminology depending on which camp you identify with.

Hip Escape


Syllables: Hip-Es-Cape

Pronounced: Hip-Es-Cape

A fundamental movement in jiu jitsu, where a practitioner on their back will bridge (see Bridge), pivot on a shoulder to face to the side, and push into the ground with their feet to shoot their hips backward on the mat. 

This maneuver is vital for making space on the bottom and a crucial constituent for escaping bad positions: shifting angles to facilitate sweeps or submission while on the bottom. 

Honey Hole


Syllables: Hon-Ey-Hole

Pronounced: Hun-E-Hol

See Cross Ashi Garami



Syllables: Hook

Pronounced: Huk

Generally used to describe the hooking control of a dorsiflexed foot. 

Imanari Roll


Syllables: Im-A-Na-Ri-Roll

Pronounced: Im-A-Na-Ri-Rol

A maneuver made famous by its namesake, Japanese MMA fighter Masakazu Imanari, the Imanari roll is a type of sacrifice technique where a practitioner will dive, from a standing position, at their opponent’s legs and use the momentum of a rotational roll to set up the leg lock entanglement and sit their opponent’s hips on the mat, all in one motion.

iminari roll to leglock

Inside Heel Hook


Syllables: In-Side-Heel-Hook

Pronounced: In-Syd-Heal-Huk

A variation of the heel hook (see Heel Hook) where the attacker’s torso is faced towards the opponent with their heel between the attacker and defender.

inside heel hook

Inside Sankaku


Syllables: In-Side-San-Ka-Ku

Pronounced: In-Syd-San-Ka-Ku

A position used to control an opponent’s lower body and hips on the mat and a constituent of the leg lock game. 

The inside sankaku differs from the cross ashi garami (see Cross Ashi Garami) in the lock of the feet.

Here a triangle like (see Triangle, Sankaku) lock with the legs is taken on the inside of the opponent’s legs to establish control.

Synonyms: 411, Honey Hole, Saddle.

inside sankaku



Syllables:  Ju-Ji-Ga-Ta-Me

Pronounced: Jew-Ji-Ga-Tah-Me

The Japanese name for armbar (see Armbar) originally a Judo technique known as Ude Hishigi Juji Gatame.

Kata Gatame


Syllables:  Ka-Ta-Ga-Ta-Me

Pronounced:  Ka-Ta-Ga-Ta-Me

The Japanese word for arm triangle (see Arm Triangle). 



Syllables:  Ka-Zu-Shi

Pronounced: Ka-Zu-Shi

A masculine Japanese name, Kazushi is also a term in Judo for the push-pull action/reaction involved in off-balancing your opponent to take them down to the mat or sweep them. (see Off-Balance).

Kesa Gatame


Syllables:  Ke-Sa-Ga-Ta-Me

Pronounced:  Ke-Sa-Ga-Ta-Me

A fundamental ground position in Judo, the kesa gatame is when a practitioner is on top in the side control position (see Side Control) and switches their base so they are facing towards their opponent’s head. 

Synonym: Scarf Hold.

kesa gatame



Syllables:  K-Guard

Pronounced: Kay-Gard

A precursor to leg entanglements made famous by Australian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Lachlan Giles. The K-guard can be engaged against either a standing or kneeling opponent. 

It involves underhooking the opponent’s leg from the inside and taking a grip with both hands, palm-to-palm, at the knee. The guard player will use this grip to invert on the shoulder closest to the controlled leg, passing their knee through the legs, however, keeping their foot between them and their opponent at roughly hip height.  



Syllables:  Ki-Mono

Pronounced: Ki-Mo-No

See Gi.



Syllables:  Ki-Mura

Pronounced: Ki-Mu-Ra

A fundamental shoulder lock submission. Similar to the Americana, the kimura is almost an inverse relation. Here the attacking practitioner bends the opponent’s arm at a ~45° angle at the elbow with the fist pointed down to their hips. The attacking practitioner then rotates the opponent’s arm behind their back to break the shoulder. 

The kimura is extremely versatile and can be engaged from a variety of positions.

O.P. to Kimura

Kiss of the Dragon


Syllables:  Kiss-Of-The-Dragon

Pronounced: Kis-Ov-The-Dra-Gn

A technique engaged from the reverse de la riva (see Reverse De La Riva) where a guard player will invert and spin in between their opponent’s legs with the goal of ending up behind them.

kiss of the dragon

Knee Bar


Syllables:  Knee-Bar

Pronounced: Nee-Bah (Yeah. you know what I’m talking about)

Similar to the armbar, this submission focuses on breaking the leg by hyperextending the knee joint.

knee bar

Knee Cut


Syllables:  Knee-Cut

Pronounced: Nee-Kut

A term used for both a style of passing and an intra-passing position. The knee cut involves the top player placing a knee on the inside thigh of their opponent to force them to play guard on one side while killing their ability to use their bottom leg to attack or hinder the pass. 

The most common pass from here, after removing the annoyance of the top leg, is to use the knee to cut straight through the opponent’s guard – hence the name. 

12 Rewinding Deep Half Guard To The Knee Cut

Knee On Belly


Syllables:  Knee-On-Belly

Pronounced: Nee-On-Bell-E

A fundamental position in jiu jitsu where the practitioner on top has their knee on the belly or sternum of the downed opponent from a side position. 

Knee Shield


Syllables:  Knee-Shield

Pronounced: Nee-Sh–Eeld

A guard position where the person on bottom is positioned on their side and uses the knee of their top leg to block their opponent’s ability to gain a chest-on-chest connection.

knee shield

Knee Tweak Position


Syllables: Knee-Tweak-Po-Sition

Pronounced: Nee-Tweek-Po-Zish-On

See Lucas Leite Guard.



Syllables:  La-Pel-La-Pla-Ta

Pronounced: Lapel-La-Plata

A variation on the omoplata (see omoplata) made famous by jiu jitsu black belts Roberto “Satoshi” Souza and Rubens Charles “Cobrinha”, this position features the use of the lapel, as a substitute for your opponent’s arm, to control and sweep them. 

Lapel Guard


Syllables: La-Pel-Guard

Pronounced: L’pel-Gard

  1. An umbrella term for guard positions based on the use of your opponent’s lapel
  2. The system of lapel based positions and techniques created by lapel guard pioneer Keenan Cornelius
keenan main image square 1

Lapel Lasso


Syllables:  La-Pel-La-Sso

Pronounced: La-Pel-La-Sew

A hybrid of the lasso guard (see Lasso Guard) and lapel guard (see Lapel Guard), here instead of weaving the leg through the arm of the opponent, the guard player will instead use the lapel in a similar fashion. 

Setting Up Lapel Lasso from De La Riva

Lasso Guard


Syllables:  La-Sso-Guard

Pronounced: La-Sew-Gard

A guard position where one of the guard player’s legs is weaved through the top player’s armpit while controlling their sleeve.

lasso guard

Latvian Handcuff


Syllables:  Lat-Vian-Hand-Cuff

Pronounced: Lat-Ve-N-Han-Kuf

A lepel grip created by American Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Andris Brunovskis, where the top player’s hand is locked to the torso of the guard player via the lapel.

latvian handcuff

Leg Drag


Syllables:  Leg-Drag

Pronounced: Leg-Drag

Both a style of passing and a position (however, an unscored position. Points only awarded for the completion of the pass). The leg drag is generally played by more dynamic guard passers due to its common connection with taking the back or quickly passing side to side, based on the opponent’s defensive reactions. 

18 Gravedigger 17 Super Stack To Leg Drag

Leg Entanglement


Syllables:  Leg-En-Tan-Gle-Ment

Pronounced: Leg-En-Tang-Gl-Mnt

  1. A position where you gain control over your opponent’s legs and hips predominantly with your own legs. Generally, this position is the precursor to leg locks. 
leg entanglement

2. A way to say to you cheated on your soul mate, without technically admitting it, that apparently absolves you of any wrongdoing.


Live Rounds 


Syllables:  Live-Rounds

Pronounced: Lyv-Rownds

Full contact grappling rounds, where both practitioners are seeking to gain the most points or submit their partner.

Synonyms: Rolling, Sparring.



Syllables:  Lock-Down

Pronounced: Lok-Down

A variation of the half guard made famous by American Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Eddie Bravo where the guard player’s legs hook low at the ankle, instead of the thigh, and stretch out the leg to reduce the top player’s capacity to apply chest on chest pressure. 



Noun, Verb

Syllables:  Long-Step

Pronounced: Long-Step

A style of pass for open guards where the top player explosively collapses to one side to remove their trapped leg and consolidate the pass.


Lucas Leite Guard


Syllables: Lu-Cas-Lei-Te-Guard

Pronounced: Loo-Kas-Lay-Che-Gard

A position made famous by its namesake, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Lucas Leite, this variation on the half guard involves locking the legs lower down on the opponent’s shin (as opposed to the standard thigh high lock of the half guard) so that by hipping forward the guard player can apply torque and extremely uncomfortable pressure on their opponent’s knee. 

Synonyms: Coyote Guard, Knee Tweak Position

lucas leite guard



Syllables: Lute

Pronounced: Loo-ch

Portugues word for fight and a signal used by the referee to warn the competitor or competitors that they are stalling and need to pick up the action.  



Syllables: Mano-Plata

Pronounced: Ma-No-Pla-Ta

A variation of the omoplata (see Omoplata) where the attacking practitioner is seated facing their opponent, while their opponent’s back is on the mat. 


Mão De Vaca


Syllables:  Mão-De-Vaca

Pronounced: M-ow(nasal)-Je-Vaka

Brazilian Portugues word with the literal meaning “hand of the cow” (cow’s hoof), however it has numerous colloquial slang iterations that include calling a person “tight fisted” or cheap. 

In jiu jitsu, it is used to symbolize the wrist lock submission (see Wrist Lock).

Mata Leão


Syllables: Mata-Le-ão

Pronounced: Mata-Le-ow

“Kill the lion”, The Brazilian Portugues term for the rear naked choke (Rear Nake Choke) 

Synonyms: Rear Naked Choke, RNC.



Syllables: Mount  

Pronounced: M-Ow-Nt

Good to be on top, bad to be on the bottom. The mount is the most known position from traditional martial arts to MMA to being bullied by your older brother.

In this position, one practitioner sits on the torso of the other practitioner with both knees planted on the ground either side of their opponent. 

This position scores: 

  • 4 points in IBJJF rulesets 
  • 2 points ADCC rulesets  

Neck Crank


Syllables: Neck-Crank

Pronounced: Nek-Crank

A submission that applies pressure to the cervical spine. You won’t make many friends with this move at thanksgiving, no matter who your uncle is.




Syllables: No-Gi

Pronounced: No-Gee

Jiu Jitsu practiced without the gi and instead in shorts and often a rash guard.

Antonym: Gi, Yes-Gi.



Syllables: North-South

Pronounced: Nor-Th-Sow-Th

A position where one practitioner is on top and the other is on bottom flat on their back. Here, rather than being in mirror body alignment, like many other positions, the two practitioners will meet at roughly the head and chest area (see image below) so that one represents the north and the other the south.

north south

North-South Choke


Syllables: North-South

Pronounced: Nor-Th-Sow-Th

A choke submission from the north-south position. 

North South Choke



Syllables: Off-Bal-Ance 

Pronounced: Off-Bal-Ans 

Any maneuver that involves forcing your opponent to focus on maintaining their base and balance, so that you can attack them elsewhere (see Kazushi).

Usually a tactic applied from the guard or in takedown scenarios where posture and balance are vital.



Syllables: O-Mo-Pla-Ta  

Pronounced: Oh-Moh-Pla-Ta 

A shoulder lock submission akin to the kimura where the attacker applies control and leverage for the break using their legs and hips. 


Open Guard


Syllables: O-Pen-Guard  

Pronounced: Oh-Pen-Gard 

The big bang of modern guard play in jiu jitsu, open guard is an umbrella term for guards other than those involving a lock of your legs around your opponent’s body or leg.

See spider guard, butterfly guard, de la riva guard, etc.

Antonym: Closed guard, Half guard.

Osoto Gari


Syllables: Osoto-Gari

Pronounced: Oh-So-To-Ga-Ri

A judo foot sweep.

osoto gari miha

Outside Heel Hook


Syllables: Out-Side-Heel-Hook

Pronounced: Ow-T-Syde-Heal-Huk

A variation of the heel hook (see Heel Hook) where the attacker’s torso is facing away from the opponent and the attacked leg is passed and controlled on the outside.

outside heel hook

Outside Sankaku


Syllables: Out-Side-San-Ka-Ku

Pronounced: Ow-T-Syde-San-Ka-Ku

A position made famous by Australian Black Belt Lachlan Giles. In this leg entanglement, the attacking practitioner is faced towards the opponent with a triangle (see Triangle, Sankaku) locked slightly above the opponent’s hip line, with the top leg passing across the hips to the farside of the opponent’s body blocking them from leaning forward.

This differs from the inside sankaku (see Inside Sankaku) where the legs are locked in a triangle below the hip line, thus keeping both feet between the opponent’s legs. 

outside sankaku



Syllables: O-Ver-Hook 

Pronounced: Oh-Vr-Huk

A constituent of upper body control, where a practitioner secures an opponent’s arm tightly under their armpit.


Over-Under Pass


Syllables: O-Ver-Un-Der-Pass  

Pronounced: O-Vr-Un-Dr-Pass

A form of pressure passing (see Pressure Pass) where the person on top under hooks one of their opponent’s leg with one arm and overhooks the other to either pass to the side or initiate a stack pass (see Stack Pass).

over under pass andris



Syllables: Pa-Rou

Pronounced: Pa-Ro

Brazilian Portugues word for stop or stopped. This is the signal a referee will use in a jiu jitsu match to indicate they want the action to stop.



Syllables: Pass-A-Dor

Pronounced: Pass-A-Door

Brazilian Portugues word for the jiu jitsu practitioner who prefers to play on top and pass guard rather than play from their back (See Guard Passer).


Pistol Grip


Syllables: Pi-Stol-Grip 

Pronounced: Pi-Stol-Grip

A grip taken on the material of the gi, where a handful – usually at the end of the sleeve – is bunched up and held in the palm like the grip of a handgun. 

Pistol Grip

Platinum Worm Passing


Syllables: Pla-Tinum-Worm-Pass-Ing 

Pronounced: Plat-Num-Werm-Pass-Ing

A guard passing system created by American Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Keenan Cornelius, where the lapel is used to nullify the opponent’s ability to play guard or move their hips. 

Pocket Grip


Syllables: Po-Cket-Grip 

Pronounced: Poh-Ket-Grip

A grip taken on the material of the gi, where the fingertips of all four fingers drag the material into the palm. Predominantly used for sleeve grips (see Spider Guard), the pocket grip can also be used at many areas of the gi, such as the knee, armpit and hip.

Pocket Grip

Polish Wormrider


Syllables:  Polish-Worm-Rider

Pronounced: Po-Lish-Werm-Ry-Dr

A lapel guard position used to counter top players who drop to their knees to avoid having their legs wrapped up with the lapel. 

To initiate the polish wormrider, the guard player will…

… actually. It’s probably best for all of us if you just watch the GIF below on this one.

polish wormrider
Imagine writing and reading a description for that bad boy, huh.



Syllables: Po-Rra

Pronounced: Po-Ha

Brazilian Portuegues which literally means “sperm”, but is used much in the same way “Fuck” is used as an idiom in English. 

Not to be confused with porrada (see Porrada).



Syllables: Po-Rra-Da

Pronounced: Po-Ha-Da

Brazilian Portuegues word loosely translated as “Fight Hard”. 

Not to be confused with the word porra (see Porra).

Positional Training


Syllables: Pos-It-Ion-Al-Trai-Ning

Pronounced: Poz-Ish-i-On-Al-Tray-Ning

Controlled sparring where live rounds are restricted to specific positions only. Usually, once the position has been lost or advanced, either by a sweep, guard pass, backtake, etc, the action is stopped and the position is once again reset. 

Synonyms: Specific Position Training. 

Pressure Pass


Syllables: Press-Ure-Pass

Pronounced: Pre-Shur-Pass

A style of guard passing that involves less dynamic movements and more body on body contact. Here, the guard passer seeks to apply as much of their bodyweight to their opponent as humanly possible to both optimize control and make life hell for the person on the bottom. 

Pull Guard


Syllables: Pull-Guard 

Pronounced: Pool-Guard

When a practitioner intentionally goes straight from standing to playing guard.

Quarter Guard


Syllables: Quar-Ter-Guard

Pronounced: Kwar-Tr-Gard

A variation of the half guard (see Half Guard) where the legs are locked around the opponent’s shin rather than the thigh. 

Rear Naked Choke


Syllables: Rear-Naked-Choke

Pronounced: Reer-Nay-Kd-Cho-k

A fundamental submission in jiu jitsu. Applied from the back, the attacking practitioner wraps one arm around their opponent’s neck, so that the chin is inline with the elbow, and grabs the bicep of their other arm. 

This choke works to apply pressure to the carotid arteries, putting the opponent to ‘sleep’. 

Synonyms: RNC, Mata Leão.

Reverse De La Riva


Syllables: Re-verse-De-La-Riva

Pronounced: R’vers-De-La-Hiva

A variation of the de la riva (see De La Riva Guard), where the opposite leg is used to hook behind the opponent’s knee. 

reverse dlr

Reverse De La Worm


Syllables: Re-verse-De-La-Worm

Pronounced: R’vers-De-La-Werm

A variation of the worm guard (see Worm Guard) created by Keenan Cornelius, where the lapel is fed behind your opponent’s leg to your opposite hand – palm up – tight to their knee. 

In this position, the lapel acts as an unbreakable hook behind your opponent’s knee, similar to the less unbreakable hook your leg would create in the reverse de la riva (see reverse de la riva).

reverse de la worm

Reverse Kimura


Syllables:  Re-verse-Ki-Mura

Pronounced: R’vers-Ki-Mu-Ra

A variation of the kimura (see Kimura), where both practitioners are facing each other and the arm configuration for the lock and control now takes a mirrored image. The reverse kimura can be used to set up a variety of attacks, namely from the half guard and closed guard. 

Dynamic Tension Reverse Kimura

Reverse X-Guard


Syllables: Re-verse-X-Guard

Pronounced: R’vers-Eks-Gard

A variation of the X-guard with the top and bottom legs reversed. Usually used to set up elevation sweeps that directly facilitate heel hook submissions. 

Ringworm Guard


Syllables: Ring-Worm-Guard

Pronounced: Ring-Werm-Gard

A variation of the basic worm guard position (see worm guard) created by Keenan Cornelius, where you seek to face your torso toward your opponent and grip the lapel with your outside hand. 

ring worm guard



Syllables: R-N-C

Pronounced: R-En-See

Acronym for rear naked choke (see Rear Naked Choke) used by MMA fans at Buffalo Wild WIngs. 

Synonyms: RNC, Mata Leão



Syllables:  Ro-Lling

Pronounced: Ro-Ling

Full contact grappling rounds from start to finish where both practitioners are seeking to gain the most points or submit their partner.

Synonyms: Live Rounds, Sparring.

Round Timer 


Syllables:  Round-Timer

Pronounced: Rowned-Ty-Mer

Also known as the clock.

Fun Fact: Only 1 in 47 people will figure out how to work this thing.

round timer

Rubber Guard


Syllables: Ru-Bber-Gard

Pronounced: Ruh-Br-Gard

A position made famous by American Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Eddie Bravo, and a staple component of the 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu System. 

Here, the guard player will be in a position like the closed guard (see Closed Guard) and will walk their legs up their opponent’s back, behind their shoulders, grabbing onto one of the shins with a palm up grip in order to anchor it in place.

The rubber guard is used to control an opponent’s posture, making guard passing or even striking difficult to achieve. The Rubber guard can also be used as a hub for a number of submissions. 



Syllables: Sa-Ddle

Pronounced: Sa-Dl

See Cross Ashi Garami

Same Side Collar Grip


Syllables: Same-Side-Co-Llar-Grip

Pronounced: Say-M-Sy-D-Ko-Lar-Gri-P

A grip on the opponent’s collar using the same side arm.

same side collar grip



Syllables: San-Ka-Ku

Pronounced: San-Ka-Ku

The Japanese word for triangle. Sankaku can identify the triangle submission (see Triangle) but can also refer to any scenario where a practitioner will adopt the triangle configuration with their legs to secure or lock onto their opponent (see Inside Sankaku, Outside Sankaku).

Scarf Hold


Syllables:  Scarf-Hold

Pronounced: Scarf-Hold

See Kesa Gatame.



Syllables:  Schau-bin’

Pronounced: Shaw-bin

An idiom derived from the Metamoris match between ex UFC fighter Brendan Schaub and 2013 ADCC Champion Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu. 

  1. Accepting a match or sparring round, only to avoid engagement throughout at all costs. 
  2. Bonus points for claiming that by doing this, you technically win because you didn’t get submitted.

Seat Belt Grip


Syllables:  Seat-belt-grip

Pronounced: Seet-Belt-Grip

An alternative to gripping the lapel from the back position, made famous by Marcelo Garcia and largely used in nogi matches.

Here, one of your arms passes over your opponent’s shoulder, while your other arm passes under their armpit on the opposite side to connect your hands at your opponent’s chest, like the seat belt in a car. 

Paulo Miyao Backtake in the Gi at Jiu Jitsu X

Sem Kimono


Syllables:  Sem-Kimono

Pronounced: Seng-Kimono

Brazilian Portugues for Nogi (see Nogi).

Seoi Nage


Syllables:  Seoi-Nage

Pronounced: Se-O-Na-Ge

A judo throw where the attacking practitioner – after gaining control of the opponent’s arm – will spin in a 180° motion, facing away from their opponent, using their hips to elevate and throw them over their shoulder.


Shark Tank


Syllables:  Shark-Tank

Pronounced: Shar-K-Tank

A variation of sparring, usually in preparation for competition, where one person stays in for a full round, facing off against a line of fresh partners, one after the other. 

How new partners are tagged in can come down to preference and may be based on first points scored, submission, time in the tank, etc. 



Syllables:  Shrimp

Pronounced: Sh-rimp

See Hip Escape. 

Side Control


Syllables:  Side-Con-Trol

Pronounced: Syd-Con-Troll

A fundamental top position in jiu jitsu most commonly achieved after passing guard. Here the practitioner on top is aligned perpendicularly to their opponent’s body, usually with a cross face grip (see cross face) to control the upper body with the other hand either blocking movement of the hips, controlling a leg or attacking a limb. 

0 points are awarded for side control in competition. This can be confusing for many beginners as 3 points are instead awarded for the pass that usually precedes this position.  

Single-Leg Takedown


Syllables:  Sin-Gle-Leg-Take-Down

Pronounced: Sing-Gl-Egg-Tayk-Down

A takedown where one leg of the opponent is lifted off the mat and controlled by the attacking practitioner’s arms and legs.


Single-Leg X Guard


Syllables:  Sin-Gle-Leg-X-Guard

Pronounced: Sing-Gl-Egg-Ex-Gard

A variation of the X-Guard (see X-Guard) where both of the guard player’s legs are used to control a single leg of a standing opponent (see Ashi Garami).

single leg x guard conner

Single-Leg X Worm Guard


Syllables:  Sin-Gle-Leg-X-Worm-Guard

Pronounced: Sing-Gl-Egg-Ex-Werm-Gard

A hybrid of the worm guard (see Worm Guard) and single-leg x guard (see Single-Leg X Guard).

single leg x worm


Verb, Noun

Syllables: Spar-Ring

Pronounced: Spah-Ring

Full contact grappling rounds from start to finish where both practitioners are seeking to gain the most points or submit their partner.

Synonyms: Live Rounds, Rolling.

Specific Position Training


Syllables: Spe-Cif-Ic-Pos-It-Ion-Trai-Ning

Pronounced: Spe-Zif-Ic-Poz-Ish-i-On-Tray-Ning

Controlled sparring where live rounds are restricted to specific positions only. Usually, once the position has been lost or advanced, either by a sweep, guard pass, backtake, etc, the action is stopped and the position is once again reset. We use a lot of positional sparring, starting as early as in the Beginner Course.

Synonyms: Positional Training.

Spider Guard


Syllables: Spi-Der-Guard

Pronounced: Spy-Dr-Gard

A fundamental open guard position featuring a control on the opponent’s sleeve and a foot placed at the bicep of the same arm. 

The spider guard has a number of variations depending on the placement of the other leg and the grip of the other hand. 

For example: spider guard with a de la riva hook, spider guard with a foot on the hip, spider X-Guard, etc.

Keenan in spider guard 1

Spider Hook


Syllables: Spi-Der-Hook

Pronounced: Spy-Dr-Huk

Describes the combination of the sleeve grip and foot on the bicep in the spider guard (see Spider Guard).



Syllables: Sprawl 

Pronounced: Sp-Rall

A defensive maneuver against takedowns where the defending practitioner shoots their legs  and hips backwards away from their opponent’s reach during a takedown attempt.

Squid Guard


Syllables:  Squid-Guard

Pronounced: Skwid-Gard

A member of the lapel guard family and evolution of the lapelaplata (see lapelaplata) differing in its focus on controlling the knee and leg of your opponent. 

In this position, your leg is passed through your opponent’s lapel similar to an omoplata (see omoplata) while the tail end of the lapel is passed behind their knee to your hand to control the leg (see image below).

A versatile position that can be used to either play a tight, controlling game on your opponent or a loose open guard style with a number of sweeps and submissions available.

7 1 Squid Guard Introduction

Stack Pass


Syllables: Stack-Pass

Pronounced: StaK-Pass

Usually following the double-under or over-under (see double-under, over-under), this pass involves raising the guard player’s hips off the mat so that their hips and spine are now stacked in a column over their shoulders. 




Syllables: Su-Mi-Gae-Shi

Pronounced: Su-Mi-Gae-Shi

A fundamental judo technique where one practitioner throws or sweeps the other over their head by placing a foot at their hip and rolling backwards.

In jiu jitsu, it is often used to refer to similar movements from the butterfly guard and other positions where a hook may facilitate a rolling sweep backward or to the side.



Syllables: Take-Down

Pronounced: Tayk-Down

A maneuver where one practitioner takes another standing practitioner down to the mat, on their back, and maintains dominant control on top. 

This maneuver scores: 

  • 2 points in IBJJF rulesets 
  • 2 points ADCC rulesets



Syllables: Ta-Ta-Mi

Pronounced: Ta-Ta-Mi

The Japanese word for the traditional straw mats commonly seen in the Japanese culture. It is also the word used for the training mats in judo and jiu jitsu academies. 

Ten Finger Grip


Syllables: Ten-Fin-Ger-Grip

Pronounced: Ten-Fin-Gr-Grip

A grip usually used in guillotine submissions (see ten finger guillotine), where the practitioner will make the hand-to-hand grip at their fingers rather than their palms.

ten finger grip

Ten Finger Guillotine


Syllables: Ten-Fin-Ger-Guil-O-Tine 

Pronounced: Ten-Fin-Gr-Gi-Ye-Teen or  Ten-Fin-Gr-Gi-llo-Teen

A variation of the guillotine, where a ten-finger grip (see Ten Finger Grip) is utilized so that the bony part of the exposed thumb can be pushed into the opponent’s throat as the wrists rotate toward the body.  

10Finger 3
10Finger 2

Throwby Pass


Syllables: Throw-By-Pass

Pronounced: Th-Row-By-Pass

A fast pass to the side initiated by gripping the opponent’s pants with the same side hand (from standing) and pushing it across the body while sidestepping in the other direction.


Toe Hold


Syllables:  Toe-Hold

Pronounced: Tow-Hold

A submission focusing on breaking the ankle joint, tendons and finer bones of the foot.




Syllables: To-Rrean-Do

Pronounced: Toh-Re-An-Do

A fundamental pass against open guards. Here, the top player is standing against a downed opponent and uses their hands to control their opponent’s legs while sidestepping around the guard for the pass. 




Syllables: Tri-An-Gle

Pronounced: Try-An-Gl

A fundamental submission in jiu jitsu, where the attacker seeks to restrict blood supply to the brain of their opponent by applying pressure with their legs around their opponent’s carotid arteries. 

In this submission, the attacker requires one of their opponent’s arms to also be inside the lock of the legs along with the head and neck. 


The Truck


Syllables:  The-Truck

Pronounced: The-Truk

A position made famous by American Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Eddie Bravo, where a practitioner is positioned below and behind an opponent on their back, using both of their legs to control one side of the opponent’s hips, while their arms control the other. 

The truck is either used as a means to reach the back or as a position for setting up leg locks as seen in the image below. 




Syllables:  Twis-Ter

Pronounced: Twi-Str

An old wrestling pin made famous as a submission in jiu jitsu by American Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Eddie Bravo. 

Here, the attacking practitioner works to crank on the cervical spine with their hands while their legs lock the opponent’s far side hip in place applying leverage at the far end for torque.  


2-on-1 Grip


Syllables:  Two-On-One-Grip

Pronounced: Too-On-Won-Grip

A grip on the opponent’s arm where two arms are used, usually in a staggered high/low configuration. 

2 on 1 grip



Syllables: Un-Der-Hook 

Pronounced: Un-Dr-Huk

A constituent of upper body control where an arm is threaded under the opponent’s armpit and anchored by cupping at the shoulder. 




Syllables: Vai

Pronounced: Vy

Portugues for “Go!”

Vai Pegar


Syllables: Vai-Pe-Gar

Pronounced: Vy-Pe-Gar

Portugues for “Go, get” usually yelled to encourage someone to hit a submission or as a taunt against opponents of a teammate, e.g. “Ele vai pegar” – He’ll get you



Syllables: Whizz-Er

Pronounced: Wiz-Er

An overhook that is used to stop an opponent from moving to the back position and is also used to drive the opponent downard by applying pressure to their shoulder. Can be applied from both standing and grounded positions. 


Worm Guard


Syllables: Worm-Guard

Pronounced: Werm-Gard

The first incarnation of the lapel guard system, created by Keenan Cornelius. 

This position involves passing your opponent’s lapel under your own leg, on the same side, and weaving it behind their opposite leg to your other hand (see image). 




Syllables:  Worm-Hole

Pronounced: Werm-Hoal

The space between your opponent’s hip and lapel where your foot is placed for all variations of the worm guard (see worm guard, ringworm guard, reverse de la worm guard).

Worm Wrestling


Syllables:  Worm-Wrest-Ling

Pronounced: Werm-Ress-Ling

A wrestling system created by American Jiu Jitsu Black Belt, Keenan Cornelius, where the lapel is used to control the leg and balance of an opponent making takedowns more efficient and less taxing on the body of the attacker. 

Wrist Lock


Syllables:  Wrist-Lock

Pronounced: Rist-Lok

A submission focused on breaking the wrist (see Mão De Vaca).



Syllables: X-Guard 

Pronounced: Ex-Gard

A position made famous by jiu jitsu legend Marcelo Garcia in which the practitioner on the bottom is positioned directly under their opponent with their legs aligned in an X type fashion to both control their opponent’s movements and off-balance them for the sweep.  




Syllables:  Z-Guard

Pronounced: Zee-Gard

A variation of the knee shield (see Knee Shield) where the guard player’s top leg is positioned at the hip of the top player.


Hopefully you find this jiu jitsu dictionary useful, if there are missing terms that should be added, please leave them in the comments below.

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