White belt

7 Jiu-Jitsu Concepts Every White Belt Should Know

Brazilian jiu-jitsu can seem like a complicated martial art to white belt students. There are so many concepts and techniques to learn that it can be hard to know where to start. But with proper guidance and a bit of knowledge, you can quickly get a handle on the basics and start progressing rapidly in your jiu-jitsu journey.

In the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ranking system, a white belt is the starting rank in belt ranks. Knowing the following concepts will help you build a strong foundation in this sport and make your venture in learning this martial art much more accessible. As a white belt or a beginner rank, it is essential to understand and apply the following concepts to ensure proper development in your jiu-jitsu.

1. The Four Basic Positions

It is crucial to know that all Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques and moves stem from one of four basic positions. If you can learn to control your opponent in each of these positions, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a jiu-jitsu expert.

Here are the four positions you need to know:

Closed Guard

In the closed guard, the bottom person has their legs wrapped around the waist of their opponent, who is standing up.

Side Control

The side control position is a holding position that you may achieve when you are perpendicular to your enemy, and your legs are not tangled up in theirs.

Full Mount

The mount position involves being on top of your attacker and facing their face. You are in a kneeling position as a result of their torso, with your hips on top of theirs.

Back Control

In this position, you are on your opponent’s back, with both legs hooked in and your weight pressing down. You will typically have one arm around their chest and the other around their neck.

2. Types of Sweeps

There are many different types of sweeps in jiu-jitsu, but these are the four most common that you’ll likely encounter as a white belt:

Scissor Sweep

To execute this move, you need to be in your opponent’s half guard. This is a grand sweep for when your opponent is trying to stand up.

Hip Bump Sweep

This sweep is also done from half guard. It’s a little more advanced than the scissor sweep, but once you get the hang of it, it’s very effective.

Half Guard Sweep

The half-guard sweep is a great way to take your opponent’s back. It’s also an excellent move to use if you’re trying to get out of your opponent’s half guard.

Butterfly Sweep

This enables you to strengthen your position by upsetting an opponent’s equilibrium and switching to a more dominant posture.

3. Basic Submissions

As a white belt, you’ll likely be focused on learning the essential submissions that are most commonly used in jiu-jitsu. Here are five of the most critical submissions that you should know:

Straight Arm Lock From Mount

This is an excellent submission to use when you’re in your opponent’s mount. It’s also relatively easy to execute, which makes it perfect for white belts.

Triangle From Guard

The triangle from guard is one of the most common submissions in jiu-jitsu. It’s a great way to get your opponent to tap out, and it’s also relatively easy to learn.

Kimura From Side Control

It is a double-joint arm lock utilized in a variety of mixed martial arts. This technique is tough to evade and delivers severe pressure to the opponent’s shoulder.

Guillotine Choke

A simple guillotine is executed by placing one arm over the opponent’s head and around the neck.

Rear Neck Choke

This is perhaps the most prevalent and dominating choke in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Because the back is such an aggressive stance, it permits attacks to occur with minimal reaction.

4. How To Defend Yourself Against a Choke Hold?

Choke holds are a standard submission move in jiu-jitsu, and they can be very dangerous if you don’t know how to defend yourself. Tuck your chin to your chest, and place your hands on the inside of your opponent’s arms. This will help you to avoid getting choked. If you find yourself in a choke hold, it’s essential to stay calm and try to relax. This will help you to avoid panicking, which can make the situation worse.

5. Escapes From Bad Positions

In jiu-jitsu, there are a lot of different positions that can be considered “bad.” These are the positions that you don’t want to be in because they put you at a disadvantage:

Shrimp Escape

The shrimp escape is a great way to get out of the bottom position. It’s also an excellent move to use if you find yourself inside control or mount.

Technical Stand Up

This is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique for safely and successfully regaining your feet after being on your back and can be used to transition to a more dominant position.

Break Falls

This is a potentially dangerous fall in which the impact is mitigated by striking an arm or leg on the mat or floor.


This is a fundamental move in Brazilian jiu-jitsu that helps to keep your opponent from taking you down. It’s also an excellent way to get out of the wrong positions.

6. How To Take Down an Opponent

In taking down an opponent, you want to control their center of gravity and get them off-balance. This can help you to take them down without using too much force. By putting pressure on their legs, you can make it difficult for them to maintain their balance, and this can help you to take them down. Simply put, if you can make your opponent lose their stability, it will be easier for you to knock them off.

7. How To Submit an Opponent With a Joint Lock

A joint lock is a technique that is used to cause pain or injury to an opponent by hyperextending or hyperflexion of their joints. Joint locks are commonly used in jiu-jitsu, and they can be very effective if done correctly. To submit your opponent with a joint lock, you will need to control their body and apply pressure to the joint. This can be done with your hands, feet, or even your knees.


Keep in mind that jiu-jitsu is a complex and challenging martial art, but the principles are simple to understand and will help you achieve a variety of  jiu-jitsu belts. If you’re a white belt starting out in this sport, be sure you focus on these seven concepts. With practice, you’ll be able to apply them on the mat and start your journey towards becoming a black belt.