What Is A BJJ Flow Chart? Everything you need to know

A whiteboard with a flowchart

If you want to improve your skills at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you can strategize future moves in the sport. While random movements can be suitable for beginners, using them isn’t your best option.

Creating a BJJ flow chart can help you plot out your moves for a Jiu Jitsu match so that you know what to do every step of the way.

What is a BJJ flow chart? A BJJ flow chart is a type of flow chart used to plan out different moves in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It looks like other flow charts, and it can show different positions and techniques to use throughout a match. Using a flow chart can help with planning future moves, which can increase the odds of winning.

Whether you’re new to BJJ or want to reach mastery, you should use a flow chart. The right flow chart can help you plan for potential moves.

Thinking and planning ahead can increase your chances of making the right moves to have a successful game.

What Is a BJJ Flow Chart?

A BJJ flow chart is a particular type of flow chart that you use to plan out your moves in a game of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. You can create different maps based on the kind of attack you want to start with.

Once you have that, you can predict what your opponent might do.

  • Your average flow chart shows what can happen after making individual decisions or after specific events occur.
  • A flow chart allows you to see all possible moves that you or your opponent can make and the consequences of making one move over another.
  • If you create a BJJ flow chart, you can strategize your moves more effectively than making random moves.
  • Of course, you should have a good understanding of BJJ before creating your own flow chart so that you’ll know how to execute a variety of moves.

Beginners can use flow charts, and a flow chart could be an excellent way to learn more moves in Jiu Jitsu. However, you will probably want help from someone with more experience.

If you don’t have much experience, a teacher or mentor can help you plan out all of the possibilities for your flow chart.

Parts of a BJJ Flow Chart

Before you create or use a BJJ flow chart, you should know what you can expect to find on a chart.

While the basic layout is the same as any other flow chart, you have to know about a few different moves in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

That way, you’ll be able to read the chart without having to reference long explanations.

Some common parts of a BJJ flow chart include attacks, transitions, and positions. If you know what these are and what they mean, you can understand how a match can progress.


In BJJ, an attack is where you go after your opponent. You can use many different attacks, and they all work well in certain situations.

When you’re on the offense, you’re able to attack your opponent, and you won’t have to always defend yourself.

Knowing where and when you can attack is essential to a good match.

If you can create a flow chart with multiple chances to attack, you’ll have a better chance of at least one of those situations occurring.


If you don’t have control over your opponent, you can use a transition to gain control.

When you plan out a flow chart, make sure you follow up submissive positions with a transition. You may not always be able to do that, but it should be your first choice.

The more quickly you can take back control, the easier it will be to win a match. You don’t have to worry about having tons of experience or a higher belt.

All you need is to know the right transitions so that you can achieve a more powerful position. On the other hand, you want to avoid transitions when you do have power so that you don’t lose it.


Along with attacks and transitions, you can plan out certain positions in a Jiu Jitsu match. If you can incorporate a variety of positions into your strategy, you can get control of your opponent.

The more you can control them, the easier it will be to get them to submit.

While you don’t need to know all possible positions, you should know the basics. That way, you have options, and you can choose positions that make sense based on the prior moves in your flow chart.


Another essential part of a BJJ flow chart is a question. As you create your flow chart, you should ask yourself what your opponent might do. 

Asking the right questions can help you determine possible moves going forward.

If you know what questions to ask, you can also determine if a move is worth making. Perhaps you want to make a move, but it can give your opponent more control.

If you know that when you create your flow chart, it can help you avoid making that move during a match.

“There is no losing in Jiu Jitsu. You either win or you learn.”

Carlos Gracie, Sr.

Why Should You Use a BJJ Flow Chart?

If you can create a solid BJJ flow chart by yourself or with some help, you can use it to improve your skills. Not only will a flow chart help you plan for a match, but it can help you learn more about Jiu Jitsu overall.

The more flow charts you create, the better you will understand how BJJ works.

When you understand the potential moves and strategies to use, you can think on your feet. You can learn more about different steps that you can make and when to make them. After you create a chart, you can also use it to study Jiu Jitsu.

Odds are you probably don’t have as much practice time as you want. An excellent way to use your downtime is to study different moves and positions.

That way, you can spend your practice time on implementing them rather than learning what they do.

If you rely on practical experience to increase your skills and knowledge, it can take longer than using different techniques to study. 

You can study your flow chart each day, and you can take it with you anywhere. However, that’s not the case when it comes to making random moves once you suit up for a match.

Have a Plan

While you can’t plan out an entire match move for move, you can have some sort of plan before beginning. Think of yourself as a chess player.

Many chess players consider what their first move can mean for the entire game.

  • Consider your first move for a match and what your opponent might do.
  • Based on the options your opponent has, you can plan your next move.
  • Repeat that process until someone is forced to submit.

Of course, you won’t be able to memorize every possible flow chart. However, by planning your first move, you can narrow down what might happen after that.

You may not be able to predict what your opponent will do, though, so it’s essential that you consider everything.

Understand Possible Outcomes

Every move you make in BJJ has consequences, for better or worse. Ideally, you would make all perfect moves, and your opponent would make imperfect moves that give you an edge.

However, that’s not usually what happens, so you need to use a BJJ flow chart to plot what your opponent can do after any move you make.

Creating a flow chart also allows you to take the time to think about various moves.

You can sit and decide on certain moves to make without immediately facing your opponent. Instead, you can determine the likelihood of specific outcomes.

The more outcomes you’re able to understand and predict, the more strategic you can be when the time comes for a match.

Of course, you may need to change your strategy in the middle of a match, but knowing all your possible moves and outcomes can help you do that.

Stay One Step Ahead

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you don’t have much time to think about things during a match. Not only do you have to think about what to do now, but also what you should do next.

Staying one step ahead will help you consider your options for now and in the future.

  • By knowing what your opponent might do next, you can think of ways to counter them.
  • You can picture all potential moves you can make for your next move based on what your opponent does.
  • Staying one step ahead will keep you from not knowing what move to make.

Of course, you want to go into a match considering all possible moves at every stage. A flow chart can help you do that so that you can think ahead.

Even if you can only think one step ahead during the match, that can increase your chances of winning against your opponent.

How to Create a BJJ Flow Chart

If you’re a beginner, you may not want to create your own BJJ flow chart yet, but you should know how to create one for later. And if you have some experience, you can use the steps now so that you can plan out your strategy for your next match.

Creating a flow chart for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu doesn’t have to be complicated, but there are a few things to keep in mind. For your first flow chart, you might want to consult an example BJJ flow chart to get an idea of how to lay things out. You can also use an example to consider possible attacks and moves.

The good news is that your first flow chart doesn’t have to be perfect, and mistakes will help you learn. You can take your first flow chart and learn from it both during a match and after.

Once you create one BJJ flow chart, you’ll understand the process, and it can be a great way to visualize your strategy.

There are many tools you can use to make a professional-looking flow chart. However, you can keep things simple with a pen and paper. Or you can go somewhere in the middle with a free program for designing mind maps and charts.

Choose an Attack Method

Of course, you can’t create a BJJ flow chart without your first move, and your first move will most likely be some sort of attack.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu offers many different types of attacks, so you can choose one that you know well. That way, you’ll know exactly how to implement it when you have a match.

  • At this point, both you and your opponent will be on your feet, so you’ll need some sort of attack to throw them off balance.
  • However, you want to make sure you will maintain your balance so that your opponent can’t take control of you.
  • If you’re relatively new to BJJ, you probably won’t know as many potential attacks, but that’s okay. Stick with one that you are comfortable doing.
  • You should also consider your opponent, their experience, and any moves they tend to prefer. That way, you can start with something that they won’t expect.

You may need to change your attack when you get to the match. However, having an attack in your mind can help you get in the mindset for a match. It’s also a great starting point for creating a BJJ flow chart.

Know the Steps

Based on your attack of choice, you’ll have to consider what your opponent will do. For this, you may have multiple outcomes, and you’ll need to add all of them to your chart. Once you plot all those situations, you can follow the same steps with each move.

Consider every possibility for every move you add. You may end up with a large chart, but that’s okay. It’s better to have a large chart with every potential move than a smaller chart that ignores likely possibilities.

If you don’t know every possible move that can occur, you can ask a teacher or mentor for help. Odds are they will know of some moves and attacks that you don’t.

If any of those attacks or moves apply, you can learn what they are. Not only will that help you create your chart, but it will help you prepare to encounter them in a match.

Ask Questions

If you can’t think of how certain moves will play out, put yourself in the shoes of your opponent. Consider what you might do if someone used those attacks or moves on you. Ask yourself what you would do to counter that type of move.

  • Ask yourself if a certain move would make sense for your opponent.
  • While some moves will make sense, others won’t. Knowing the difference will help you determine whether a situation is likely to occur or not.
  • As you create your chart, keep thinking as if you’re the opponent, but don’t stop thinking about the moves you would make.

Keeping your chart as balanced as possible will help you see what is probably going to happen. You should plan for a match where you and your opponent both have a good strategy.

If you can ask the right questions, you will come up with results that are more likely to happen than by random chance.

Design the Chart

When creating a BJJ flow chart, you can design the chart as you go, or you can write out all the steps and then create the chart. No matter how you do it, developing it is an important step.

While you don’t have to create the best possible chart, you should know how to lay it out so that you can easily read it.

If you want to keep it simple, you can use a pen and paper to create your chart. Start at the top left of the page and write your first move. Draw arrows in different directions for any potential counters from your opponent, then repeat with each new move.

You can also use Word or another word processor to create a simple flow chart. Like with pen and paper, you can start at the top left with your first move. You can then use lines and figures to form the arrows and type out future moves.

If you want to get serious with your flow chart, you can use mind map software, which is great for creating charts quickly. You can add potential moves, and you can categorize attacks, transitions, and more with different colors or shapes.

Of course, you can also do that in a word processor, but in any case, you should choose the best option for you.

Unless you plan to give it out to students, you don’t need to worry about how your chart looks. The most important thing is that you understand how it works and that you can read it.

If you want to learn more about creating a BJJ flow chart, this video has a great explanation.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re new to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or a seasoned pro, you can learn a lot from a BJJ flow chart.

A flow chart lets you visualize different moves and outcomes in Jiu Jitsu, and it can be a great way to strategize before a match.

Knowing how to read one can help you learn more even when you don’t have your uniform on.


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