Brazilian jujitsu is a self-defense martial art that focuses on a smaller individual taking down a larger opponent to the ground using leverage and subduing him or her using a series of chokeholds and joint locks. Born out of the martial art judo in 1882, it differs from many other martial arts in that is also a sport and a method of physical fitness.

While there are many different moves at all levels, as a beginner, you’ll want to focus on these moves:
• Mount
• Closed Guard
• Knee on Stomach

It is important to get these down pat as they are used as a base to build more advanced techniques.

Mount:
With this position, you are on top straddling your opponent who is on his back. From here you can vary the basic position by leaning forward in effect making it hard for them to breathe. It is also a good move if you need a short rest yourself. Make sure your hands are wider than shoulder-width apart to give you a good wide solid base.

Other variations include wrapping one arm behind your opponent’s neck and pulling their head into your body – another smothering move. If they are bending their legs at the knee trying to buck you off, another variation is locking up their legs by moving your legs under their knees, spreading their legs wide and lifting up their legs using the leverage of your knees.

Closed Guard:
In this position you are on the ground facing up with your opponent on top of you in between your legs. While it may seem you are at a disadvantage, you are not. The object is to get loose and to a more advantageous position such as the mount.

To start, lock your legs behind your opponent’s back keeping your head off of the floor or ground. Now straighten your legs as hard as you can. This in effect crushes in your opponent’s mid-section from the sides making it very uncomfortable. Next grab ahold of your opponent’s shoulder with one arm and right above their elbow with your other hand. Push with the upper hand while pulling with the lower hand thus rolling your opponent off of you and putting you on top where you can apply the Mount.

Knee on Stomach:
In this position you are on top with your right knee pressing down on your opponent’s stomach; your left knee is out to your left side to provide a solid base; your right arm is grabbing their belt; your left arm is grabbing the right side of their collar. To control your opponent, apply downward force with the knee that is on their stomach.

As a variation, grab the other side of your opponent’s collar and lock their arm under your armpit with your left arm. With direct pressure on your opponent’s stomach, this is a very uncomfortable positon.

Mastering these three positions give you a good base to start from. From here you can also learn other basic moves along with Transitions, Escapes, Locks and Chokes.