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30 “Dirty” Jiu Jitsu Techniques


Dirty Jiu Jitsu TechniquesThere are certain unspoken rules of jiu jitsu that most practitioners know and respect. Like all grappling sports, jiu jitsu is very competitive, often fueled by ego. Whether you admit it or not, almost everyone wants to come out on top of every roll no matter if it’s in competition or friendly rolls in your academy. It’s human nature to want to win.

But let’s face it, no one wants to roll with that one guy in class who goes 100% all the time and will do anything necessary to win and become the uncrowned open mat champion of his gym.

Before we get into the full list, understand that just because a lot of these “techniques” are 100% legal for competition doesn’t mean it’s cool to use them on your training partners on a daily basis.

We’ve compiled a list of 30 jiu jitsu techniques you should avoid during training if you don’t want to be public enemy #1 in your gym.

In competition? Go ahead, sweep the leg.

1. Grabbing Fingers

It’s never okay to grab fingers while rolling. Grab the wrist or the hand, if you start peeling and twisting fingers off a lapel grip you’re surely going to piss off your sparring partner.

2. Pinching & Scratching

Okay, we shouldn’t even have to put this one on the list, but if you intentional scratch or pinch your opponent that’s just weird. Also, cut your fingernails!

3. The Faux Flow Roll

You all know that guy, he’ll start out by saying something like “Bro, let’s just flow.”

10 seconds later he’s going ape shit trying to pass your guard.

Don’t be this guy.

4. (Un)intentional Striking

Accidents happen, but you all know that one person who is always somehow either kneeing or elbowing someone during transitions. Slow down and transition with style.

5. Knee Nut Slices

Easiest way to pass from knee slice? Knee ’em right in the stones. I’m all for this technique in competition, but please for the sake of your training partners future, don’t do this in class.

6. The Oil Check

Jiu Jitsu Oil CheckThe oldest trick in the book. This may be the most effective technique in this list, nothing will help you advance your position better than a good ole oil check. On the flip side, nothing will stop your training partner from ever wanting to roll with you again.

7. Knee On Soul

Okay, there is nothing like a good knee on belly. I love just thinking about it.

But if you’re trying to suck the soul out of your training partner by driving your knee through the floor, you deserve what’s coming up next.

8. Waterboarding

WaterboardingA little self awareness goes along way. If you are drenched in sweat, try to avoid waterboarding your opponent from north south or heavy side control.

9. The Chloroform Choke (Covering The Mouth)

The Vagner Rocha special.

Just because you’ve seen your favorite MMA fighter do this, doesn’t mean it’s cool to do while rolling. If you rely on this technique, you deserve to be bitten.

10. Fist Under The Back

This is an old school trick that almost didn’t make the list as it’s a crazy effective way to break the closed guard as well as other positions.

11. Can Opener

If you have to rely on the can opener to break someones closed guard, you should go back to jiu jitsu 101 class. You can also really injure someone who has never had it applied on them before.

12. North South Teabag

You know your body better than anyone. If you like to play north south, please keep your junk north of your training partners face.

13. Mopping The Face

Long hair? Put it up, tie it back, roll it in a bun, whatever you do keep it out of your opponents face.

14. Knee On Throat

Knee on neckWe covered the knee on soul above, but equally dirty is the knee on throat. If you’re trying to get out of a scissor choke from side control, go for it, otherwise avoid it.

15. Hey, That’s Not Legal!

Nothing like sinking in the perfect heel hook in practice…

Except for the fact that you did it to a white belt with the gi on.

Every gym and training partner is different, but generally speaking if your partners skill level doesn’t allow a certain technique don’t do it to him. Do this with discretion, they should be aware and should be working on these as they progress but there is no reason to knee bar a white belt who just finished his 3rd trial class…

16. Wrist-locking White Belts

Same as above, as fun as it is making white belts squeal by catching them in a wrist lock, don’t do it. You know it’s there, go for something else, it’ll make you better.

17. Pulling Back On The Nose For RNC

Another old school favorite. Pulling back on the nose (or worst – on the eye socket) to expose your opponents neck is perfectly acceptable in competition, but try not to gouge your opponents eyes out during training.

Work on finding other ways to expose the neck.

18. Slamming In Closed Guard

Closed Guard SlamThis is a spazzy white belt favorite. While I’ve never seen anyone get picked up and straight up power-bombed in class, I’ve seen plenty of strong white belts get frustrated and proceed to lift their opponent up from closed guard a few inches and drop them over and over.

This is a great way to get straight arm barred by someone who doesn’t care about hyperextending your joint.

19. Forearm In Throat

forearm in throatPosting up and driving your forearm in your opponents choke is going to do one thing and one thing only: piss them off.

It also opens you up for a ton of counters that you probably don’t want coming your way.

20. Knuckles In The Ribs

Another old school jiu jitsu move that should be avoided in training.

21. Neck Crank

“That was a choke right?”

… if you have to ask your partner if your choke was a choke, chances are it wasn’t a choke and you were just crushing their jaw.

22. The Elbow Dig Pass

Elbow Grind PassOtherwise known as the “universal piss your partner off button.”

Aside from the fact that most upper belts no longer have nerves in their thighs from years of dealing with this, it’s just not very effective. But it’s a great way to make your opponent want to sub you that much more!

23. Turtle “Gut Wrench”

Performing the heimlich maneuver on your opponent while he’s in turtle is a great way to open him up to get your hooks in.

But if you do that to me, we’re probably not friends after this roll.

24. Skull Pressure To Chin While Passing

Another one that almost didn’t make the list. If you’re trying to pass to side control putting your skull on your opponents chin and flattening them out is almost unstoppable if you know what you’re doing.

On the other hand, doing this to your training partners day in and day out probably makes them avoid you during open mat.

25. Herculean Collar Drag

Go ahead and use everything you’ve got in a tournament!

You can do an effective collar drag without forcing your opponents to eat the mat.

26. The Brazilian Tap

If you need to tap, tap. Accept defeat and move on, don’t play stupid games.

Nothing makes you look more cowardly than trying to pull off the Brazilian tap.

27. Using Illegal Grips

There’s a reason grips are illegal, and if you like to compete you should take your grips seriously during training.

28. Stepping On Thighs From Standing Pass

Step Through PassIf you’re good enough to pass straight through my guard from standing, you’re good enough to do so without stomping on my thighs.

29. Chin In Side Of Ribs

Welcome to the side control show with Jay Leno!

This is a great way to get the kimura from top side control while your opponent is grabbing their own belt as a defense.

30. Grabbing Shorts or Rashguard in NOGI

Is see this a lot in nogi training, especially with that one guy who always forgets its nogi class so ends up training with his gi pants on.


There you have it, the 30 Dirty Jiu Jitsu Techniques to avoid during training! Of course this should be used as a general guideline, use anything above(except the oil check, never oil check) at your own discretion.

And always remember – if you’re a lower belt rolling with an upper belt, what goes around comes around.

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