Being a beginner in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be quite tough and frustrating, sometimes. However, if you learn and use the following 5 techniques, your life on the mats will be much easier!
1 Shrimping & Bridging
Shrimping and Bridging are fundamental moves in Jiu Jitsu. Many techniques later on build upon your ability to shrimp and bridge from about every position imaginable. Of course, especially bridging requires you to have a certain degree of flexibility and strength, but trust me, training to do bridges from different positions and angles is worth it (the same goes for shrimping, but shrimping is arguably easier)!
2 Side Control Escapes/Guard Retention
Side control is a position that comes fairly natural to most people starting Jiu Jitsu. It is also a position where you will find yourself in more often than you probably think in the beginning. Furthermore, being stuck under a person is just not comfortable. Thus, escaping from someone’s side control and/or retaining your guard from (bottom) side control are techniques you should try to learn and use as early as possible.
3 How to Break Closed Guard
Passing someone’s guard can be rather difficult sometimes. And this is especially true for closed guard, as you (generally) have to break the guard before you can start to pass it. As a beginner, you don’t necessarily have to know how to properly pass closed guard (yet), but just breaking it to get free will help you a lot within the first few weeks of training.
4 Armbar/Triangle/Omoplata from Closed Guard
Closed guard is a position almost everyone is comfortable in. You basically just lay on your back and hold your opponent with your legs. But closed guard is one of the best positions to control and ultimately submit your opponent. As a beginner, you will spend a lot of time in closed guard (you’re either stuck in it or you’re holding someone). Thus, learning submissions from that position is crucial. The most common submission from closed guard is probably the straight armbar. But especially from the armbar, you can fairly easily transition to either a triangle choke or an omoplata. Being able to submit an opponent from closed guard will be a game changer within your first few weeks and months of training.
5 Scissor/Hip Bump Sweep from Closed Guard
Closed guard is not only a great position to control and/or submit your opponent from. It’s also a great position to sweep someone to advance your position. If you, for some reason, cannot submit your opponent, you might nonetheless be able to sweep him or her. This gives you points in competitions and advancing your position is always advisable. The scissor sweep and the hip bump sweep are probably the easiest and best working closed guard sweeps for beginners.
Bonus Technique: Armbar from Mount
When you were able to sweep your opponent or, generally, when you end up in mount on top of your oponnent, you’re in a pretty good position. Being able to submit your opponnent from mount is an important skill in Jiu Jitsu. Personally, my favourite submission from mount is the straight armbar (or Juji-Gatame).
If you learn all the mentioned techniques you have at least one or two techniques to do from the most common situations in Jiu Jitsu and that will help you tremendously on the mats, even against more experienced opponents, but certainly against the other beginners.
In order to properly learn the mentioned techniques, it is not enough to just look them up on YouTube, the easiest and best way to learn techniques is to ask your coach to show them to you!
In general, if you have any questions about techniques, do not hesitate to ask your coach directly. This is especially important in Jiu Jitsu and especially important for beginners.