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5 Risky Techniques in Jiu-jitsu – Protect Your Partners!


Any combat sport carries a risk of injury to the participants and bjj is no exception.
Experienced instructors will caution students about certain positions that have a greater potential to cause injury than others.

In this article we will identify 5 techniques or positions that carry a higher than average risk of injury for students of bjj read also: Safety on the mats: How to be safe and minimize training injuries!

Caution with these 5 dangerous moves in bjj:

1) Jumping to closed guard

The primary danger occurs when the top player has one of their legs extended in front – in a staggered stance. The guard jumper will leap up and may land flush on the front leg – hyper extending the knee-joint and unfortunately causing a broken leg or serious knee injury.

In fact, the IDF has banned jumping to closed guard for white belt competitors.

See videos below for closed guard jumps gone horribly wrong



YouTube search closed guard jumping and you will witness multiple ghastly knee injuries.

2) Heel hooks

The big problem with heel hooks are the potential for a serious ACL tear before the person caught has a chance to tap. Especially if the attacker applies the heel hook in a sudden manner.

The heel hook is significantly different from the straight ankle lock in that there is a rotational, shearing force applied on the vulnerable ACL ligament.

The heel hook is allowed under certain competition rule sets and so must be trained by those competitors.
But be careful! Unlike arm locks, there is little pain in a heel hook before the POP! and resulting ACL tear.
Many academies ban them outright on the mats.

3) Kanibasami / flying scissors takedown

This is a great technique from the original judo, but has since been made illegal due to the threat of serious knee injury. One of the most famous judo competitors of all time Yashuhiro Yamashita suffered a broken leg when his opponent attacked with Kanibasami.


The flying scissors takedown was used by MMA fighter Chonan to defeat the legendary Anderson Silva – but is a dangerous technique to use in the academy. Protect your training partners knees!

4) Slamming

Banned in most competitions, it usually occurs when one opponent has a closed guard and the standing opponent propels them with force to the ground. There is a big danger of concussive force on the head of the guard player and they can be knocked out.

When the entire weight of two bodies combined comes crashing down on the mat, the bottom person has a big chance of suffering a rib, shoulder or head injury when they absorb the impact!


In the bottom video, slamming was a LEGAL technique in the rules of that specific competition.


* Bjj students should also spend some time studying how to avoid being slammed in their guard!

5) Wrist locks

Some jiu-jitsu players will protest “What is wrong with wrist locks? They are a legal part of jiu-jitsu!” This is true.

It is also the nature of most wrist locks that they must be applied quickly and forcefully to be effective.
A slow wrist lock is easily escaped. When your training partner doesn’t expect a sudden submission snapped on, they can not tap quickly enough and can suffer a wrist injury.

I once was sparring with a student and was slowly applying a “cow hand” wrist lock. The student didn’t realize they were in danger until a CRACK! and sudden bolt of pain. A broken wrist which required surgery and a lost training partner for 3 months :-(

Since that mishap, I have been very cautious in utilizing wrist locks.

read also: A Few Words on Tapping in Training

Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Bangkok, Thailand
Twitter: @MarkMullenBJJ

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