Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Terms Every Beginner Should Know

Beginner Terms: Starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is exciting, but there are many specialized terms to learn. Knowing these words will help you talk, and understand, what’s happening on the mats. In this guide, we’ll explore the key BJJ terms that beginners like you should know. This way, you’ll feel confident when you step onto the mat!

Gi and No-Gi:

  • Gi: Refers to the traditional uniform worn in BJJ, consisting of a jacket, pants, and belt.
  • No-Gi: This style of training involves grappling without the traditional gi, often wearing rash guards and shorts.


  • Repetitive practice of techniques or movements to improve muscle memory and proficiency.


  • Slang for sparring or grappling during training sessions.


  • The act of bringing an opponent from a standing position to the ground.
  • Common takedowns include single-leg takedown, double-leg takedown, and hip toss.


  • The position where one practitioner is on their back, utilizing their legs and sometimes arms to control or attack their opponent.
  • Common guard variations include closed guard, open guard, half guard, and butterfly guard.

Guard Passing:

  • The act of moving past an opponent’s guard to achieve a dominant pin position such as side control or mount.


  • A technique used from a guard to advance from bottom position to top position.

Side Control:

  • A top position where the practitioner is perpendicular ( 90°) to their opponent, controlling them by pinning their shoulders and/or hips to the mat.


  • A dominant position where one practitioner kneels on the mat, over their opponent’s torso.


  • A technique used to force an opponent to tap out, signaling submission due to pain or the risk of injury.
  • Examples include armbars, chokes, and joint locks.

Tapping Out:

  • The act of tapping the mat or one’s opponent to signal submission during training or competition.


  • Techniques used to free oneself from a disadvantageous position, such as being mounted or in a submission hold.


  • A term commonly used in BJJ culture as a sign of respect, acknowledgment, or encouragement.

Beginner Terms Conclusion:

Mastering the terminology of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an integral part of your journey as a beginner practitioner.

By familiarizing yourself with these essential terms, you’ll not only enhance your understanding of the art but also communicate effectively with your training partners and instructors. Remember, learning BJJ is a gradual process, so embrace the journey, stay consistent with your training, and never hesitate to ask questions along the way. Oss!