An Unfair Advantage – Unorthodox BJJ Positions


I’ve said before are six major positions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu:

1. Guard (including closed, open and half guard)
2. Sidemount,
3. Kneemount,
4. Full mount,
5. Rear mount,
6. Turtle.

These are the bread and butter positions. Everyone who grapples should have a good idea of how to maintain these positions, attack from these positions, and escape from these positions.

That being said, I think it’s also a great idea to sometimes go and explore other less-well-known positions.

The topic of unusual positions has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks, because I was getting ready to teach a seminar called “Unorthodox Positions and Attacks” at Dynamic MMA last weekend.

Since I’ve never before taught this as a distinct topic, I spent a fair bit of time organizing the techniques and strategies I use in these types of positions. I wanted a coherent and teachable curriculum.

Some people will say that you don’t need to go beyond the basic six positions. Other positions – they argue – are merely novelties that distract you from perfecting the basics.

Now I completely agree that perfecting the basics is important – that’s a no brainer. But I also believe that there are at least three important reasons to study positions that aren’t part of regular, normal, day-to-day Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

First of all, it’s a HUGE advantage to pin an opponent in a position that he’s never seen before. Because he’s unfamiliar with the position, odds are that he won’t know the right way to escape and that he’ll do something stupid, thus giving you the submission. The best part here is that he’ll never see the submission coming.

Secondly, being familiar with an odd position is invaluable if YOU get caught in it yourself. If someone puts you into an offside kesa gatame hold then hopefully you’ve been there before, and have some idea of what to do (and what not to do). We are most scared of things we don’t understand.

Thirdly, you could end up in these unorthodox positions by accident. Strange and convoluted positions happen all the time in grappling. Having a large variety of positions in your grappling rolodex helps you when you end up in something really weird. It’s a huge comfort whenever you’re able to relax and remind yourself that you’ve already been in similar positions.

Here is the complete article with actual examples of my favorite unorthodox positions, and see how they can be used to give you an unfair advantage in submission grappling and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

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