If you had just 20 minutes to introduce someone to Jiu-Jitsu, what would you teach?

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That was the question proposed by our reader Nicole over Twitter (@ottermav89). So then, what basic moves would you quickly demonstrate to a complete layman so he’ll understand what Jiu-Jitsu is and fall in love with our arm?

You only have 20 minutes?

Something wishy-washy like “self-defense” or “guard” doesn’t count; get into the details.

This query brings to mind the story of American actor and now black belt Ed O’Neill’s first contact with Jiu-Jitsu, in California. Rorion Gracie asked whether he was capable of getting on top and holding him down for three (three!) seconds. “Shoot, three seconds is easy.” In one second he’d been flipped. In five, he was signing the contract to register at the academy.

What about you, what would you teach? Comment below and enrich the debate!

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There are 14 comments for this article
  1. Cvg265 at 11:25 pm

    I would teach the 3 phases of combat and how we use the stand up phase to transition/close the distance to achieve the takedown, to reach the primary goal which is to control the opponent on the ground through positions, holds, and finally submissions! This is the gift from Maeda’s Jiu-Jitsu and which was passed to Grandmaster Carlos Sr. BJJ is the evolution of Maeda’s Jiu-Jitsu! Showing how the ultimate self-defense and martial art is really grappling and groundfighting, and not simply exotic punches or kicks. Thanks to the Maeda and the Gracie Family (all of them and not simply Helio RIP) this core set of ideas was not lost but passed to the world!

  2. Tyson Kamp at 3:32 pm

    Escape from the mount (by trapping the arm, foot, then bridging). I tell all the new students if they remember one thing from jiu jitsu they should remember this because they are in serious trouble in a real fight if they can’t get out from the mount. Not knowing this move cost an MMA guy his life about 15 years ago in the Ukraine. http://vbox7.com/play:0d7edb59

  3. Jiu-Jitsu is poetry in motion at 5:59 pm

    Blind fold myself and the individual. Start on our knees and roll. I train like this sometimes, its a surreal feeling when by muscle memory you can visualize your moves and the person who never rolled feels something they’ve never experienced before. The helpless feeling of being wrapped and having the air choked out of you while you can’t see a thing of what’s going on. They will realize that even without that blindfold they are oblivious to the world and possibilities in front of their eyes – the universe of endless ends that is Jiu-Jitsu

  4. Yuriab at 3:33 am

    Instinctively, I would want to share the wonder of the Guard, but to a layman, I think it would be hard to improve on Master Rorion’s three second challenge. A blindfold might add to the theatrics, though…

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