With Brazilian Jiu Jitsu continuing to grow in popularity across North America, it is important to better understand the variety of fighting styles that one can incorporate into this discipline. This began as a sport that was mostly focused on ground fighting, but has since evolved into a mixed martial arts genre that is focused on precision techniques and incorporates an adaptation of judo. No matter if you are just beginning in the sport, or you are an advanced Jiu Jitsu master, it is important to understand the nature of the different fighting styles in this form of MMA. The four styles to focus on are ground fighting, training methods, primary ground positions, and submission.

Ground Fighting

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a bit different from other MMA disciplines because of its overwhelming focus on the ground fight. Other disciplines have minimal focus on groundwork, so it is important to look at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in relationship to Judo. Judo has an extreme focus on throws, primarily because of the way the sport is scored. This has lead to a discipline that is heavy on standing, which is what sets Brazilian Jiu Jitsu apart from the rest.

Primary Ground Positions

The full mount is one of the primary ground positions. This involves one fighter sitting astride the chest of their opponent. This allows them to control the opponent simply by using his bodyweight to his advantage, along with his hips. This is the strongest ground position one can gain in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The fighter will end up working his knees into the armpits of the opponent. This is done in an effort to reduce the opponent’s arm movement and his likelihood of moving into a position that can counter any attempt at submission. Full mount ground positions can also be utilized in order to apply an arm lock or choke.

Another type of ground position is the back mount. This allows one fighter to attach his back to his opponent by wrapping his legs around the thighs of his opponent. This is done with a hooking or locking motion that moves the body into a triangle figure. One shin will be crossed across the waist just like a belt. A back mount can be utilized in an effort to apply a chokehold. This ground position is effective when used by a smaller fighter who may be going against an opponent that is much bigger and stronger.


Within the discipline of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there are two primary submission holds. These are the joint lock and the choke. Joint locks most commonly focus on an isolation of the opponent’s limb to create a lever by using body position. This will effectively force the joint to go past the range of motion that it normally would. Pressure can be increased in a manner that is rather controlled, and then can be released only if the opponent is not able to escape and issues a signal to the referee. This is similar to other MMA styles as well.

The compression lock is a less common type of submission hold. This involves the opponent’s muscle being compressed against a bone that is hard and large. This is usually something like the shin or wrist, and it can cause a great deal of pain to the opponent. The risk is so high of tearing muscle tissue using this kind of submission hold that it is not usually allowed in competition any longer. A compression lock can also hyper extend the joint in an opposite direction, which effectively pulls it apart.