Position before submission? Techniques and tactics in competitive no-gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu





Martial arts; combat sports; jiu-jitsu; BJJ; grappling; performance analysis


The authors received no funding for this work.


Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is a grappling-based combat sport performed either with a traditional uniform, the gi, or without, known as no-gi. Differences between the two when it comes to gripping, pace, and ruleset can affect match characteristics, which has implications for how athletes approach competition. The present study investigated time-motion and technical-tactical characteristics in matches from official no-gi submission-only BJJ tournaments. The analysis included 26 regional and 26 international athletes from the light-feather to super-heavy weight class. Match characteristics did not differ between competition levels, style (guard or pass player), or weight (p > 0.05). The duration of positional dominance was similar between competition levels and styles (p > 0.05), but significantly different between winners and losers (p < 0.05; effect size (ES) = 0.39). Positional dominance also correlated with upper-body submissions (r = 0.50; p < 0.05). Interestingly, positional dominance appeared inconsequential in matches determined by lower-body submissions. In fact, athletes winning by lower-body submissions, in most cases a heel hook, exerted no positional control prior to their victory. The high- to low-intensity ratio was 1:2 and 1:1, for regional and international athletes, respectively. The standing to ground time ratio was 1:2 for both groups. In addition to the novel competition characteristics of competitive no-gi BJJ, these findings indicate that there are strategical discrepancies that precede distinctly different submission holds.


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Author Biographies

Charalampos Spanias, Human Performance Science Research Group, University of Edinburgh

MSc Strength and Conditioning graduate from the University of Edinburgh; Undergraduate Data Science (BSc) student at the Open University; Data Engineer at Codeverse. E-mail: spaniascharalampos@gmail.com

Christopher Kirk, Sport and Human Performance Research Group, Sheffield Hallam University

Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology at Sheffield Hallam University; member of the Sport and Human Performance Research Group; consultant to International MMA Federation; applied physiologist working with combat sport athletes. E-mail: c.kirk@shu.ac.uk

Karsten Øvretveit, Department of Public Health and Nursing, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Physiologist and Doctoral Research Fellow in Medicine and Health Sciences at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Research areas include genetic disease risk, exercise as medicine, sports performance, and nutrition. E-mail: karsten.ovretveit@ntnu.no


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How to Cite

Spanias, C., Kirk, C., & Øvretveit, K. (2022). Position before submission? Techniques and tactics in competitive no-gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas, 17(2), 130–139. https://doi.org/10.18002/rama.v17i2.7410