Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

    A

    • Advanced

      The Advanced student will have advanced proficiency in at least 1 of the major MMA foundation styles and at least intermediate proficiency in the others.

      More importantly, the Advanced student will demonstrate the ability to apply the techniques on a wide range of sparring partners in class, and will demonstrate a high level of physical fitness relative to Beginner and Intermediate students.

    • All American

      An honorific title used to describe a wrestler that has placed in high level regional or national level competitions.

    • Americana

      A bent arm submission in which pressure is applied to the shoulder joint by holding your opponent’s wrist with one hand and threading your other arm beneath their bent elbow and grabbing your own wrist.

      Pressure is applied by elevating their elbow. This is also called the american arm bar, bent armlock, figure 4 arm lock, key lock and ude garami.

    • Anaconda Choke

      A blood choke in which you capture one of your opponent’s arms alongside of his head using your arms to create a triangular shape.

      Pressure is applied by squeezing his arm to his head and applying pressure to the carotid artery.

    • Ankle Lock

      Any number of submissions which are effected by placing torque against the ankle joint beyond it’s normal pathological limits.

    • Ankle Pick

      A wrestling takedown where the cross side ankle is captured and elevated to off balance one’s opponent. Kata Ashi Dori is the Judo equivalent.

    • Arm Bar

      A generic term for submissions applied to the arm to either cause the elbow to hyperextend, or create torque in the shoulder joint.

      Most commonly used to describe a straight arm lock or juji gatame.

    • Attack

      Any type of offensive technique such as a strike, kick, throw or takedown initiated in hopes of accumulating points and demonstrating aggressiveness.

    • Axe Kick

      A straight leg kick in which the impact focus is with the heel as the leg is lowered.

    • B


    • Back Control

      a dominant position, typically on the ground, where one has control of their opponent from behind resembling a rear guard.

    • Base

      A strong stable position where one is protected, center of gravity is lowered and able to effectively attack or defend.

      Commonly affiliated with how one gets up from a position on the ground to a standing position, especially in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

    • Beginner

      Students who have typically been training for about 2 to 6 months and have identified a dominant skill area for example striking, takedowns or
      submissions.

      Basic students will generally be less comfortable with the other areas but at least have a basic understanding of them as well as awareness of basic safety considerations and defenses.

      A basic understanding of key positions and foundational techniques should be acquired during this phase.

    • Belt

      Ranking systems used in martial arts to symbolize different levels of proficiency.

      Colors and meanings vary between disciplines and often criteria is specific to a particular lineage.

      Belts may also have stripes to demonstrate experience levels within that particular color belt.

      For example someone who has a 2 strip blue belt is considered to be more advanced than a blue belt without any stripes.

      Criteria for each level is usually specific to the particular teacher, lineage, and / or governing affiliation.

    • Block

      Using a part of your body to absorb the impact of an incoming strike to prevent it from reaching the intended target. For example, using your arm to absorb a haymaker strike intended to hit your head.

    • Bob & Weave

      A boxing term used to describe up and down upper body movements used to evade punches and make it more difficult to time and land strikes.

    • Body Lock

      A term used to describe a secure offensive hold against your opponent to prevent movement and restrict breathing.

      In wrestling terms it refers to one being performed with your arms, in MMA it is typically done with the legs in a figure 4 position.

    • Boxing

      A combat sport utilizing footwork, speed and hand strikes to score points or knockdowns against ones opponent.

      Modern Boxing requires the use of protective gloves and in amateur divisions, headgear.

    • Bracket

      Refers to the organization of competitors within a weight devision or category.

    • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

      A martial art derived from Japanese Judo and refined primarily by the Gracie family of Brazil.

      Brazilian Jiu Jitsu focuses predominantly on fighting on the ground and relies heavily on submissions such as chokes and joint locking techniques.

    • Break

      The separation and restart of fighters due to inactivity or prolonged stalemate.

    • Breakfall

      A method of safely falling from being thrown derived largely from Japanese Judo, Jujutsu or Aikido.


    • Bridge

      A method of raising the hips while in a supine position to off balance and escape someone from being on top of you (mount).

    • Butterfly Guard

      A variation of the “gaurd” in which the insteps of your feet are placed in the inside of your opponent’s thighs while they are above you.

    • C

    • Camp

      The coaches and training partners a fighter trains with to prepare for a fight.

    • Can Opener

      A neck crank submission where you bring the opponent’s neck into excess flexion.

    • Card

      The fights that are happening on that particular event.

    • Cardio

      exercises that elevate the heart rate to improve cardio- respiratory efficiency.

      In MMA, typically refers to a fighters endurance and stamina.

    • Catch Wrestling / Catch as Catch Can Wrestling

      A style of wrestling which is geared towards submission holds on various joints rather than pinning.

    • Cauliflower Ear

      A condition frequently experienced by MMA fighters, grapplers and wrestlers where the ear sustains an impact resulting in a separation of cartilage causing fibrous deposits, permanent swelling and deformity unless properly treated.

    • Caution

      A verbal reprimand given by a referee or official warning a competitor of an illegal or prohibited act where another occurrence may result in penalization.

    • Chain

      A series of techniques in which one sets up and flows into the next. Changing Levels: lowering of the head and hips at the same time in effort to “slip” a
      punch or attack the opponent’s legs as in an ankle pick.

    • Choke

      A submission technique where pressure is applied to an opponent’s neck to restrict flow of oxygen or blood. Prolonged application will lead to unconsciousness and ultimately fatal.

    • Clinch

      A position where fighters are facing each other close enough to wrap or immobilize each other’s arms or torso to prevent short punches, knees or elbow strikes.

    • Closed Guard

      A ground position where one opponent is on his back and has his legs wrapped around the other who is facing him.

    • Coach

      The person in a “camp” who is responsible for supervising the training and technical instruction of a competitor.


    • Collar Choke

      Refers to any number of choking submissions effected by using the lapel of the “gi” or “kimono” to place pressure on the neck restricting the flow of blood or oxygen.

    • Collar Tie

      Capturing hold of the back of your opponent’s head and/or neck with one or both arms to maintain control, change his position or direct him into strikes.

    • Combination

      A series of techniques thrown in a sequence. Usually refers to striking techniques.

    • Contender

      A fighter who is ranked to make a challenge for the chanmpionship.

    • Control

      Used to describe a fighter who has a dominant position, whether standing or on the ground and is able to direct or restrict his opponent’s movement or actions.

    • Corner

      Describes the section of the ring or octagon that the fighter is “fighting out of”.

      Collectively used to describe the support team which accompany’s the fighter to the bout and tends to him between rounds consisting of their coach or trainer, a cutman and training partner.

    • Counter

      A technique which reverses or capitalizes upon the opponent’s attack.

    • Covering Up

      A defensive position usually covering the head with the arms and if on the gound, curling up in an attempt to protect themselves from their opponent’s attacks.

    • Crank

      Refers to submissions that are more reliant on brute force than technical proficiency and typically target the neck and spine.

    • Crash Pad

      A thicker, more pliable mat used for practicing high impact throws.

    • Cross

      Refers to a powerful straight punch that is thrown with the fighters dominant/ rear hand.

    • Cross Face

      Using the bicep or forearm across your opponent’s face to thwart an attack or expose his neck for submissions.

    • D


    • Daylight

      Refers to space between you and your opponent.

      Offensively, taking away space is necessary to control or make a submission effective.

      Defensively you want to increase to allow for your own mobility and restricting your opponent’s.

    • Decision

      Method of deciding the winner of a fight when the allotted time is exhausted, based upon scoring such factors as control or domination of the fight, damage inflicted, and aggressiveness.

      A unanimous decision is one where all of the judges score in favor of the same fighter.

      A split decision is where the judges score each differently.

      A draw is a fight which is scored evenly and no winner is determined.

    • Dirty Boxing

      Pugilist techniques which are typically against the rules of a traditional boxing match but are allowed in MMA.

    • Double Leg Takedown

      A wrestling takedown where you attack both of your opponent’s legs, preventing their movement, and driving his center of gravity backward causing him to fall down.

    • Drill

      Repeated practice of a technique, in part or whole, to improve the performance and execution of the technique.

    • Duck Under

      A technique in which you go under and around your opponent’s arms to take his back while standing, positioning yourself for a takedown.

    • E

    • Elbows

      Using the elbow to strike the opponent, may be thrown from several different angles.

    • Escape

      To free oneself from a clinch, submission or pin to regain an offensive position.

    • F


    • Feint

      Faking a strike of kick to elicit a response from one’s opponent in order to make him more vulnerable.

    • Finish

      Used in reference to securing a submission to cause one’s opponent to “tap”, ending the fight.

    • Fireman’s Carry

      A wrestling takedown in which you bring your opponent over your shoulders.

    • Folk Style

      A style of wrestling with higher emphasis on safety and control popular in high schools and colleges.

      Also referred to as collegiate or scholastic style wrestling.

    • Footwork

      Refers to a fighter’s ability to use their stepping patterns to avoid being hit or place them in a better position for an offensive maneuver and ability to generate power.

    • Free Style

      An international style of wrestling allowing both using your legs to attack your opponent, or the ability to attack your opponent’s legs. Sometimes referred to as “Catch as Catch Can” wrestling.

    • G

    • Gassed

      refers to a fighter who has no more energy, often the result of poor conditioning.

    • Gi

      The uniform worn by students of Brazilian Jujutsu and Judo.

      Also called a “kimono” Grappling: refers to ground fighting styles that favor position, leverage and joint manipulations over striking.

    • Greco Roman

      A style of wrestling which favors throws from a tie up position and where using your legs or attacks to your opponent’s legs are prohibited.

    • Ground & Pound

      Refers to a style in which one seeks to gain the top position on the ground and pummel their opponent underneath with strikes.

    • Guard

      A position in which you are on your back with your legs wrapped around your opponent’s waist and your ankles crossed. Similar to Do Jime in Judo.

    • Guillotine

      A type of choke in which pressure is applied to the front of their neck from a headlock position in which your opponent is facing you and bent over.

      Called Mae Hadaka Jime in Judo.

    • H

    • Half Guard

      A position in which the man on the bottom has both of his legs wrapped around one of the man on top’s.

    • Hammer Fist

      A strike using the bottom side of the fist (pinky side) usually performed in a downward manner.

    • Haymaker

      A wild wide hooking punch thrown with a great deal of power in hopes of knocking out one’s opponent.

    • Headgear

      A piece of training equipment designed to diminish the effects of strikes to the head in boxing and MMA.

      In wrestling, refers to protective gear designed to minimized the likelihood of Cauliflower Ear.

    • Heel Hook

      A submission applied by capturing the heel and rotating it with potential for damaging the ligaments of the knee.

    • High Level Attack

      An attack directed at the opponent’s upper body.

    • Hip Throw

      A throwing/takedown technique in which you take your opponent over or across your hips.

    • Hooks

      Refers to placement of your heels in a manner to help you secure your position.

      Commonly refers to the position where you have taken your opponent’s back and place your heels high inside his hip/groin.

    • I

    • Infighting

      Fighting taking place in close quarters, usually within arms reach.

    • Injury Timeout

      Time given to a fighter to recover after receiving an accidental / illegal strike usually to the groin or eye(s).

    • Inside Control

      A dominant position in which your arms are on the inside of your opponent’s in a tie up or clinch situation.

    • Intermediate

      Intermediate students will have trained between 9 months to 2 years and have some experience with live sparring and grappling in class.

      During this phase the Intermediate student will begin to practice with increased resistance from partners and more technically complex techniques as well becoming comfortable with counters and combinations.

    • J


    • Jab

      A quick snapping straight punch thrown with the lead hand typically used to set up subsequent strikes.

    • Joint Locks

      Manipulation of joints in excess of their normal range of motion to cause the opponent to submit or possibly receive injury.

    • Judo

      A Japanese martial art derived from feudal Jujutsu systems which includes throwing, locking, striking, choking and pinning techniques.

      Judo is the art from which Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was created.

    • K

    • Kick Boxing

      A general term referring to competitive fighting which is similar to boxing but allows for striking with the legs and feet.

      Depending upon the sanction and type of event, this may also include the use of elbows, knees and possibly takedowns.

      Martial arts such as Karate, Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do and Savate often serve as foundational systems for Kickboxing.

    • Knee Bar

      A submission technique applied to the leg where it is taken to a hyperextended position.

    • Knee Pad

      A protective padding worn to protect the knee from impact or repetitive contact.

    • K.O. / Knockout

      A strike or technique that causes the opponent to lose consciousness thereby stopping the fight.

    • L

    • Leg Kick

      Kicks targeting the opponent’s leg which may lead to fatigue or inability to bear weight on it.

    • Leg Lock

      Refers to submissions which target the knee or ankle such as a knee bar or heel hook.

    • Liver Shot

      a strike directed to the opponents torso / abdomen which if landed can drop an opponent and end the fight.

    • Low Level Attack

      Techniques that are directed towards an opponent’s lower body, such as kicks or takedown techniques.

    • M


    • Main Event

      The most important fight of the event.

    • Mat

      Padded flooring to absorb impact of takedowns and throws.

    • Mat Time

      Generally refers to experience in terms of time someone has “on the mat”

    • Mid Level Attack

      Attacks or takedowns targeted at the opponent’s midsection.

    • Mount

      A position in which you are sitting on top of your opponents chest with your knees up by his armpits while he is lying on his back.

    • Mouse

      Swelling on a fighter’s face or head.

    • Mouth Piece

      Protective equipment worn inside the mouth to protect the teeth an tongue.

    • Muay Thai

      A form of sport fighting in Thailand originally developed from Muay Boran.

      Muay Thai allows the use of low kicking techniques, elbows, knees and punching techniques.

    • N

    • Naked Choke

      Traditionally refers to choking techniques of Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which do not rely on the use of the Gi or Kimono.

      Essentially all chokes in MMA are naked chokes. Frequently refers to a “rear naked choke” (hadaka jime) in MMA.

    • NCAA

      National Collegiate Athletic Association.

    • No Gi

      Training or competition without the Gi jacket or Kimono top.

    • North-South

      A position on the ground where you and your opponent are chest to chest, but with your heads pointing in opposite directions.

      Called Kami Shiho Gatame in Judo.

    • O

    • Open Guard

      Guard position where the legs are not closed or crossed at the ankles.

    • Open Mat

      Refers to training time which is not a structured work out where participants are free to practice what they like.

      Open mat sessions are typically supervised by instructors or senior students to provide assistance and ensure safety.

    • P


    • Parry

      Slapping deflection of an incoming strike changing it’s trajectory just enough to miss.

    • Points

      Awarded by landing of legal strikes and dominance over ones opponent within a round and used to determine the winner if necessary.

    • Post

      Positioning of a limb or part of the body against your opponent or mat used to prevent his movement from being effective or assisting yours.

    • Pound for Pound

      Used to describe an overall excellence of a fighter, not by weight.

    • Pulling Guard

      A term used to describe fighters who are more comfortable fighting on the ground and their methods for getting their opponent there rapidly.

      May also be called “jumping guard”. Any attempt to get one’s opponent into their guard as expediently as possible.

    • Punch

      Refers to striking techniques using a closed fist.

      Common punches are the straight, cross, jab, uppercut and haymaker.

    • Purse

      The prize money awarded for a fight.

    • R

    • Rabbit Punch

      An illegal punch that lands on the back of the head or neck.

    • Rash Guard

      A piece of tight fitting clothing worn o decrease friction, prevent rashes and wick moisture away from the body.

      Commonly worn in both gi and no-gi Brazilain Jui Jitsu practice and competition.

    • Reap

      A takedown derived from Judo in which you cut out one or both of your opponent’s legs using one of yours.

    • Rear Naked Choke

      A carotid choke applied from behind an opponent in which pressure is applied using your biceps and forearm to the sides of his neck while interlocking it with your other arm to assist.

    • Referee

      The judging official inside of the ring/cage with the opponents to enforce the rules and ensure the safety of the fighters.


    • Reversal

      Refers to when a technique is initiated by one fighter, but the recipient is able change it to his advantage.

      Sweeps in BJJ are some of the most common reversals in MMA.

    • Riding

      Describes the ability of a fighter to stay on top and in a dominating position despite the movements of his opponent.

    • Ringside

      Typically refers to being located just outside the ring/cage, either at the press table, referee table, or seated in the first few rows.

    • Ringworm

      An infection caused by a fungus due to skin to skin contact and/or mats.

    • Roll

      Refers to sparring in BJJ or submission wrestling.

    • Round

      The periods of time used to measure the duration of the fight.

      Most MMA fights are between 3 - 5 rounds lasting 3 - 5 minutes each.

    • S

    • Sambo

      A Russian martial art based predominantly off of Judo also containing elements of other systems of grappling and wrestling.

    • Sanctioned Event

      An event that is approved by a specific governing body.

    • Scarf Hold

      A grappling position where you have control of the opponent’s head and arm.

      Also called Kesa Gatame in Judo and head and arm in wrestling.

    • Setup

      A technique used to draw a response or open the opponent up for another attack.

    • Shoot

      To enter in on an opponent in an attempt to take them down.

    • Shrimping

      A hip movement used by the person on the bottom to attempt to escape their current position and gain an more dominant or defensive position.

    • Side Mount

      A position in which you are on top of your opponent chest to chest in a perpendicular orientation.

      Also known as Yoko Shiho Gatame in Judo.

    • Single Leg

      A wrestling takedown attack in where one shoots in to capture one of your opponent’s legs with both of your arms and attempting to drive them down onto their back.

    • Slip

      Slight evasive head movement to avoid an incoming punch.

    • Small Joint Manipulation

      Submission holds targeting the fingers, toes and sometimes including the wrists.

      Generally not allowed in MMA bouts.


    • Sprawl

      An evasive defensive response to a takedown attempt where the defender shoots his legs back and drives his weight down on top of his attacker.

    • Stack

      A position where the person on top compresses the person on the bottom by driving their legs up towards their head or chest.

    • Stalemate

      A position in which neither fighter has any viable attacking opportunities, often broke up by the referee and returned to an upright position.

    • Stance

      Refers to a fighters body position while upright.

    • Striking

      A term which refers to any method of attacking the opponent with the hands, elbows, knees, legs or feet.

    • Submission

      A manipulation of a joint or choke performed to elicit the opponont’e surrender.

    • Submission Wrestling

      A hybrid style of wrestling which includes joint manipulations and choking techniques.

    • Sweep

      Any number of techniques found in BJJ which are meant to change the position of the man on the bottom from the guard to a more offensive or dominant one.

    • T

    • Takedown

      Taking your opponent off of their feet and onto the ground. May be accomplished by numerous means, some of the more common methods include manipulation of the legs or taking your opponent across your hips.

    • Take the Back

      Achieving a secure position behind your opponent, with or without the legs wrapped around the waist.

    • Tap / Tapout

      refers to the signal of submission, that a hold or technique is effective and the opponent wishes to submit before sustaining injury or no longer wishing to continue.

    • Throw

      A form of takedown in which your opponent is taken off of his feet , being “thrown through the air” before hitting the ground.

      Common throws include the hip toss and inner thigh reap.

    • Throw in the Towel

      The act of the fighter’s corner throwing their towel into the ring signaling they want the fight to stop.

    • Tie Up

      Also called the clinch, a position in which one or both of the opponent’s arms are bound to obtain a dominant position.


    • TKO

      Stoppage of a fight by intercession of the referee based upon observation that the fighter is no longer able to defend themselves or due to injury sustained.

    • Toe Hold

      An ankle lock in which the arms are placed in a figure four position causing rotation at the ankle by leverage placed against the toes / ball of the foot.

    • Triangle

      A common submission in where the opponent’s head and arm are trapped between your legs positioned in a figure 4.

      Called Sangaku Gatame in Judo.

    • U

    • Unanimous Decision

      When all of the judges score in favor of the same fighter Under Card: refers to the fights which take place before the main event.

    • Under Hooks

      Refers to a tie up position in which you have your arms underneath your opponents.

    • Upa

      Lifting your hips while in a mounted position in attempt to escape that position.

      Also called bridging or bucking.

    • Uppercut

      A close quarter punch thrown in an upward manner typically directed at the jaw or solar plexus.

    • V

    • Vale Tudo

      A style of fighting that used to occur in Brazil which translates as “Anything Goes”.

    • W

    • Warning

      A verbal reprimand given to a fighter to make them aware of committing an illegal move or technique with the understanding that if it happens again they may forfet points or become disqualified.

    • Weaving

      Turning and twisting movements used to avoid being hit.

    • Weigh In

      The official verification of a fighter’s weight prior to the fight to ensure they are within the limits of the weight class they are participating in.

    • Weight Classes

      Designates how fighters are grouped and matched up. Commonly there are 8 weight classes for male fighters where the fighters are expected to weigh in at or below their designated weight.

      Typical weight classes are listed below:

      • Flyweight 125
      • Bantamweight 135
      • Featherweight 145
      • Lightweight 155
      • Welterweight 170
      • Middleweight 185
      • Light Heavyweight 205
      • Heavyweight 265

      Weight classes for female fighters are typically established by their promoting organization to accommodate the fighters.

    • Whizzer

      An overhooking of your opponent’s arm to prevent or defend leg attacks.

    • Wrestling

      An ancient sport where contestants use strength, leverage and technique to takedown their opponents and hold them in an advantageous position.

      Modern styles of wrestling include Folk, Greco-Roman, Freestyle, Submission and Catch as Catch Can.