Daily Dojo

Blue Belt Notes - For BJJ Junkies Only

As promised in my Color Me Blue Belt post, below find the notes I kept in preparation for my BJJ blue belt test. Couple things … these are my personal notes (stuff I compiled a few days before the test) and as such may be incomplete and / or have mistakes in content. Any errors are mine and mine alone. Also, it doesn’t include everything … just what I wanted to keep in my head. And it doesn’t include the info for the written part of the exam.

Last thing. This isn’t required for the test, it’s just what I did. As my dojo classmates would be quick to tell you, I’m a bit obsessive and crazy when it comes to things like this.



Rolls, hip escapes, and sprawls. Especially know the sprawls.

Know how to do side control, full guard, half guard and mount, knee on belly, taking the back, rear naked choke, kimura, armbar, etc.

Single leg
Double leg (also do left jab and double leg takedown)
Hip throw


Establish and maintain mount position.

Escape from mount (yank in opponent sleeve, pull in tight so he can’t post. Hook same side foot with your ankle, then bridge up in that direction. Roll them.)

Or to half guard – (slide one leg down, bump their hips with your hands to get space, bring opposite foot over, hook their opposite knee, bring back extended same side leg. Now you’re in half guard).

Do we need to know armbars, kimuras, chokes from mount? I know them …

Taking the back

Taking opponent’s back and placing hooks.
Escape when opponent has your back.
Escape from rear naked choke (need to work on this)
Apply rear naked choke from back
Apply lapel choke from back.

Side control

Establish and maintain side control

Escape side control – (Your high forearm up against his throat. The other forearm, by your side, down by his hip. Push his body up and then shrimp in, getting your knees into position to retake guard.)

Do we need to know armbars from side control, armbars from north-south, transition to full mount? - update, we do and have reviewed with Sensei and Alex.

The guard

Triangle from guard - (yank one opponent arm in toward your chest, push the other out under your leg, bringing that leg up tight against his neck. Grab that shin, pull down, other hand on his head. With the free foot, push against his hip to turn your body for proper angle, and then bring it up over your other foot, locking tight. Pull down on head to sink.)

Arm bar from guard – (one hand grabs under his opposite elbow (and under his same side arm) and pulls in. Your other hand on opposite shoulder, pulling down so he can’t posture up. Bring your legs up high on his shoulders, locking tight. With shoulder hand, push his face to the side, same direction as trapped elbow, and bring your leg over. Legs together, but not crossed, arch your hips and you have him).

Do we need to know guillotine from closed guard?

Know kimura (when opponent plants their hand, grab it with same side hand, sit up, bring other hand over and under for kimura).

Cross choke from closed guard (review)

Must know how to defend triangle in a closed guard – (your free hand grabs for your trapped hand, Gable grip, and pushes hard against the knee pressing on your neck to give you room to breath. Posture up, hard, still pushing against the leg. Once you have created enough space, pull your head out … be wary that you don’t leave your arm in there and get caught in an armbar).

Defend kimura in closed guard (keep your hand off mat, elbows in, grab your belt or knee to defend, use your own knee to keep your elbow pinned to that side).

Defend cross choke while in guard (two hands on their chest, over their arms, push and posture up).

Passing the guard

Shaolin has one pass that we HAVE to know, the basic guard pass - (grab lapels of gi, trap their hand under, leg up on the trapped side, then the other, change hands, push down on their knee, control the legs, pass).

Should also know how to do this standing, same beginning, but pick up and shake.

Sweeps from closed guard

Scissors sweep - (grab sleeve and lapel on one side, pull in, bring opposite knee inside, knee pushed firmly against their belly, same side on the mat against their leg, scissor and sweep).

Fake kimura sweep - (rise up, pulling in the arm like going for a kimura, then raise leg into opposite armpit, grabbing their knee, sweep).

Sweep from half guard

Lapel sweep – (Make sure one knee is up against opponent belly, yank out lapel, feed it under their leg. Bump up. If they don’t post their leg, sweep right there. If they post (and they will) bring leg up, keeping hold of lapel, push with legs straight back. They’ll go.)

Half guard sweep, no knee on belly – (they’re on top of you tight, you have no knee inside. Get underhooks, slide under until you can hook under their knee with closest hand. Grab the foot and feed it to your opposite hand on the other side of the opponent’s back. Then with same side hand, slide under the bent knee, pull in. They should go right over. If you can’t feed the foot to your opposite hand, then grab knee and pull in, rocking back and forth. They’ll eventually lose balance. If they post that leg up, shrimp your body under until you take their back.

Spider guard

Sweep with opponent on their knees - (grab sleeve opposite of extended foot, pull in, sweep in that direction)

Sweep with opponent standing - (bring non-extended foot in, to let them pass, grab closest ankle, extend your foot and roll like a wheel in directed on spider-guard).
Sweep standing, del la riva hook (hand under their ankle, grab their opposite sleeve, same leg goes behind their knee, your foot hooking into their groin, turn body on side same direction to secure, then turn back, pull sleeve in as you roll them away).

Triangle from spiderguard.

Omoplata from spider guard - (if you can’t hook opposite sleeve, grab same sleeve, feed it to same side hand under their ankle, shoot legs up, lock foot under your knee, roll them down … once on the ground, hand on their belt to keep them from rolling, lock their arm in tight under your legs, lean forward).

Butterfly Guard

Sitting, both feet under opponent. Know simple sweep and arm drag (work on this and review).


Review escaping from turtle, when the other guy is heavy with his chest on you (swing leg and opposite arm up, take their back?).


Defend armbar – (bend the arm right away, walk in the same direction with your feet on the matt, keep turning, and then roll over that shoulder, get to your knees, yank the arm out, take control of their pants)

Defend omoplata – (plant your head and hands, if they’ve not secured your belt, and jump your legs up and over their body, now you’re in side control. If they are pushing down on your belt, roll forward again … you’ll be in an armbar again, but still moving and alive.)

What else?

Break grips while standing. Cartwheels … oh shit. Yeah, cartwheels.

Tripod sweep. I know this.

Combinations? Spoke to Sensei, reviewed basic combo from guard when opponent tries to pass, go for tripod sweep, then punch sweep, then omoplata, then roll over shoulder, grab knee and takedown.

After-Action thoughts on the test.

The written part of the exam covered basic history of BJJ, Shaolin and his school and BJJ team, as well as basic knowledge (points for position, etc).

We didn’t get asked to do everything on my list, which would only turn the test into an exercise of memorization, which it most certainly was not … rather, we were drilled in situations (such as the guard pass drill, etc) where we had to demonstrate (against upper belts) not only the knowledge of the techniques but the ability to utilize them when the opening presents itself.

Another interesting thing … we were asked during warmups to do a backroll into a handspring that would take us to our feet. This isn’t something we necessarily needed to know (as white belts) but we do practice it at our school (because we will be asked to do it eventually as we advanced), and being a heavyweight, I’ve never been able to pull it off.

I don’t know if it was because I was jacked up for the test or what, but when asked, I backrolled, pushed off with my hands and sprang right to my feet like a gazelle. I was so shocked I’d actually done it for the first time, and at the test, no less, that I nearly tripped and fell. Heh-heh. I managed to keep my feet.

I only hope I can do it again at some point.

One Response to “ Blue Belt Notes - For BJJ Junkies Only”

  1. Stacy Says:

    Awesome Brother!!!!!

    Pretty sure if I tried that I’d break a hip or something!

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