Use Breakfalls to maximize shock absorption and surface area. DON’T LAND ON YOUR ELBOW! Breakfall arm should be 45° from body, breakfall with palm and forearm surface impacting the mat. Best to learn from a sitting position first.


Shrimping is a movement on the ground, pivoting on your shoulder using your toes to scoot your hips, as opposed to getting up on your elbow for a technical stand. Shrimping is the most critical fundamental movement of groundwork. If you train bridging and shrimping, you will be able to escape any hold-down. 

Most important points: 

  • Getting on your side so you can breathe – if you are pinned on your back with weight on you, it compresses your diaphragm.
  • “Building the Wall” – Connecting your bottom knee and elbow.
  • You can do two or more scoots on one side but the essence of the movement is in pivoting from one side to the other in combination with bridging.

Kick-away to Technical Stand

It is critical that you are able to get back to your feet from the ground without giving your back. If you get pushed back down you won’t make it – so this is how you learn how to use body geometry (your base, frames and posture) to build up structure against an opposing force; known as “Bone Strength”.

Backward and Forward Roll

Creating an angle and getting your head out of the way for your roll, avoiding impacts on any hard, bony points or organs. Smooth – all of the impact should go into the break fall and none of the impact should go into the roll. Learning to roll is a huge step towards building self-confidence in your balance and movement. 

Grip Breaks

Controlling points of contact in a fight is key, that’s what Jiu Jitsu is about, at the fundamental level. You learn how to find the weak point of the grip between the thumb and fingers, and how to put the strength of your whole body structure into the blade-like surface of your bones to slice through that weak point. It’s important to see the strong and weak directions of the grips. Reinforced grip break is an option: conjoining your hands into a reinforced framing structure (gable grip) if the person is very strong or grabbing you with two hands. 

Basic Stance

Pretty much all Martial Arts and fighting styles incorporate a staggered stance, shallow lunge structure that has a combo of ground connection and being light on your feet with your hands up, protecting the knockout zone (jaw/neck/temple). In this stance, the whole body is alert and ready to move.

Framing & Getting Base

Getting base refers to ground connection. Using your framing structure to deflect moving force and divert it to your ground connection, and as much as possible using your bone strength (body geometry) instead of muscular exertion. The concept of deflection/ deflecting oncoming force is central to Jiu Jitsu. 

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