The Top 10 BJJ Mistakes You Need To Stop Making

Last updated on 19.08.2022 by

If you’re white or blue belt, you probably make the same simple BJJ mistakes over and over. They are common things that you’ve probably been told not to do, but for some reason you keep doing them. Every time you make a mistake you’re giving your opponent an easy opportunity for an attack or preventing your own attacks from working!

That is why we were inspired to make a list of the top BJJ mistakes that you need to stop making. Read below to see if you’re making any of these common mistakes and see how to fix them.

#1 Bench Pressing To Escape Side-Mount/Mount

Top 10 BJJ Mistakes

The first common BJJ mistake on the list is trying to bench press an opponent off you from side-mount or mount. This is a common rookie mistake that you’ll often see beginners make. When you do this, you open yourself up for arm bars and wrist locks galore.

How to Fix The Bench Press Escape

Try keeping your arms in, using your forearms to make space instead of giving away free submissions. Drill your elbow escapes and recover guard recovery.

Also drilling your bridge and rolls after wrapping an opponent’s arm in mount is a great, and technical, way to escape the mount.

#2 Driving Off the Top of Your Feet Instead of Your Toes (Active Toes vs Sleeping Toes) 

A lot of new BJJ students have problems with holding side-mount. They’re trying everything they can, but their opponent gets out everytime. 

The clue to why this is could be due to how you’re holding your feet. When the top of your feet are on the mat that means that you have sleeping toes. It’s almost impossible to drive off the top of your feet!

How To Fix Sleeping Toes

Instead of having sleeping toes, you need to have active toes. Put your toes on the mat and keep your knees slightly off the mat to be able to control your opponent better. You’ll also be able to put more pressure on them.

#3 Crossing Your Feet From The Back 

The biggest no-no that all white belts do (and even some blue belts surprisingly) is cross their legs when holding back mount. By doing this, you’re basically telling your opponent, “please submit me.”

How To Fix Crossing Your Ankles Holding Back Mount

The way to fix this common BJJ mistake is quite simple. Uncross. Your. Feet.

If your feet aren’t crossed, you can’t get caught in that stupid foot lock. It’s as simple as that!

#4 Putting One Arm Inside Opponent’s Guard

Top 10 BJJ Mistakes

Some newbies make the mistake of putting one arm inside their opponent’s guard and the other out. When they do this, they get triangle choked at will by their opponents.

If this is you, then there is an easy fix.

How To Fix This BJJ Mistake

Remember the old rule about arm positioning while in an opponent’s guard. Either keep two arms in or two arms out, and you won’t give up a triangle so easy.

#5 Not Getting Underhook When In Half Guard/Side-Mount 

Do you ever get stuck on bottom in half guard or side-mount and can’t escape? Have you tried fighting for an undertook and then working your way out?

If not, then you’re making one of the most common BJJ mistakes.

How To Fix Not Getting The Underhook

The key to getting out of side-mount or half guard always starts with an underhook. You must fight for arm position and get your underhook. 

Once you get your underhook, you can then work your way out of these bad positions.

#6 Bad Posture In Opponent’s Guard

Top 10 BJJ Mistakes

As a newer jiu jitsu student, you may find yourself being submitted and swept at will when put in guard. After the first few dozen times of getting beat, you may start to realize that you’re doing someone wrong.

This is a common BJJ mistake and it all has to do with your posture.

How To Fix Bad Posture In Your Opponent’s Guard

Good posture is the key to being able to defend yourself in an opponent’s guard. Your back needs to be perfectly straight and not hunched over to help defend against sweeps and subs. Imagine the position you’d use for squatting with a barbell – this is good posture.

Bad posture in an opponent’s guard means that you’re easy prey for your opponent to hit any technique they want.

#7 Not Controlling Opponent’s Head In Side-Mount

Not Controlling Opponent’s Head In Side-Mount

Another BJJ mistake that many new grapplers make from side-mount is lack of head control. They may have good chest pressure, but their opponent can turn their head and get out with ease.

How To Fix Not Controlling Opponent’s Head In Side-Mount 

It’s a common BJJ mistake, but easily fixable. All you have to do is control their head, lay down heavy shoulder pressure, and make them turn their head.

When you force your opponent’s head to turn away from you, it’s harder for them to turn towards you and re-guard. Remembering this important detail will make your side-mount control ten times better.

#8 Not Angling Hips On Armbars From Guard

We’ve all seen new teammates make this BJJ mistake when doing armbars from guard. They stay aligned with their opponent and don’t angle their hips.

This is one mistake we all made as white belts, but it’s an easy fix.

How To Fix Not Angling Your Hips On Armbars From Guard

To help you learn how to angle your hips on armbars from guard, you can underhook your opponent’s leg. Under-hooking their leg will help guide you into the position for the armbars.

#9 Weak Top Leg On Triangle Chokes

The majority of BJJ beginners have weak triangle chokes. They lock them in and their opponents posture right out of them with ease.

If this sounds like something that happens to you, the reason is because your top leg is weak.

How To Fix A Weak Triangle Choke

When you go for triangle chokes, your top leg has to be strong. Drill chopping down onto your opponent’s neck to break their posture and keep your leg heavy.

Doing this makes it impossible for your opponents to easily posture out of your triangle chokes.

#10 Butterfly Guard On Your Back

Whenever your BJJ class is drilling butterfly guard, you’ll often see beginners make the same mistake. They will get their butterfly hooks and lay flat on their back. Holding butterfly guard this way is absolutely wrong.

How To Fix A Bad Butterfly Guard

For beginners that mess up the butterfly guard, you have to be sitting upright to use this guard correctly. That way you can fight for head position and underhooks to set up your sweeps.

Fix Your BJJ Mistakes And Up Your Game

We’ve all made these BJJ mistakes when we were young grapplers. To get better, you have to identify your mistakes and drill to correct the movements until you get them right.

Once you do this, you won’t make these dumb mistakes anymore and up your grappling game.