Glossary Of Martial Arts Terms

In this section, we aim to explain all of the terms you're likely to come across when reading, discussing, and training in the martial arts, specifically in Jujitsu and/or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

A style of Jujitsu forumlated by the Gracie family from Brazil. Helio Gracie took the core of traditional Jujitsu and Judo and modified techniques to work for smaller practioners.


Breakfalls are used whenever you are thrown to the floor by your opponent. The technique should result in your landing on the ground as comfortably as possible by throwing out an arm to take some of the impact of the fall.


A traditional term for the club or hall where you train.

Fighting Stance

The fighting stance is a position to stand where you have your guard up to protect your face. You should also have one foot in front of the other, so you are nearly stood sideways on to your opponent, giving them the smallest area to hit as possible.


The clothing worn by many martial artists, loose fitting to aid in varied body movements. A Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gi is usually much thicker than a Karate gi to stop rips when grappling.

Gracie Family

The Gracie family, originally from Scotland, were taught Jujitsu/Judo from a grand master. They then worked on the techniques modifying them where necessary to make them more effective for smaller people.


To fight an opponent but with no punching or kicking, much like a Judo match, but the ground-fighting may continue for longer than compared to a Judo match.


If told to 'keep your guard up', this means that you should raise your hands to protect your face from any possible punches or kicks. The guard is also the name for a common position used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu where you are on your back, but have your opponent secured between your legs.


The father of all Japanese martial arts as used by the Samurai, utilising punches, kicks, joint-locks, pressure points, throws, ground-fighting, along with a variety of weapons.


See Gi, the more commonly used word.


The traditional Japanese term for a belt worn with a gi.


A tight fitting top worn whilst grappling, meaning that your opponent doesn't have anything to grab hold of to control your movements.


The traditional Japenese name for an instructor.


See fighting stance.


A punch or kick.


When grappling with an opponent, it is usually the aim to make them submit by a technique which they cannot escape from, such as a choke or arm-bar. Your opponent should tap out to indicate they wish to submit.

Submission Wrestling

Much like grappling, but usually without wearing a Gi, normally just shorts and possibly a t-shirt or rashguard.

Tap Out

If you are caught in a technique that you cannot escape from, and that would result in (more) pain if they continues to apply it, you should tap your opponent to indicate you which the match to end. If you are unable to tap your opponent, you should tap the floor, with your hands or even your feet. If that's not possible, simply shouting submit can be used.