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The Definitive Guide to BJJ Flowcharts

Welcome to the definitive guide to BJJ flowcharts – the absolute best way to improve your grappling game off the mats.

This text contains everything you need to know about how to use BJJ flowcharts to organize, study, and improve your standing and ground game. Plus, we’ll explain how our revolutionary online BJJ flowchart tool can help you 10X your jiu jitsu progression!

But first, let’s get into the basics of BJJ flowcharts.

What are BJJ Flowcharts?

A flowchart is a diagram that represents and organizes a series of steps or processes, oftentimes occurring within a broader system.

Applied to BJJ, flowcharts can help grapplers of all levels to map out the options that both they and their opponents possess from certain areas. Likewise, BJJ flowcharts can be used to study how various guards or positions work together to create a more complete grappling game.

As you can imagine, the complexity and depth of BJJ flowcharts can vary greatly depending on the grappler who is creating/using them. For example, a black belt competitor may have many, many, many BJJ flowcharts, representing intricate systems of grip sequences and positional transitions that are specific to their A-games. Meanwhile, a white or blue belt might focus moreso on making BJJ flowcharts that depict chains of attacks and transitions across various positions and guards.

Either way, any and all grapplers can benefit from using BJJ flowcharts. Let’s dive deeper into why you should use BJJ flowcharts to speed up your progress.

Why Use BJJ Flowcharts?

It’s true – BJJ flowcharts have many applications for grapplers of all skill and experience levels, both gi and no-gi. 

However, the main purpose of BJJ flowcharts is to optimally organize and systematize your ground game in a way that allows you to study and learn various sequences in such a way that they become second nature when you’re rolling. 

Being able to map out all of the possible scenarios that could occur from a specific guard, for example, will make both your attacking and your defensive game that much better. Why? By creating/studying BJJ flowcharts, you’ll be able to not only react, but also predict what your opponent will do during live rolls. This means more effective offense, more efficient defense, and quicker transitions between the two. 

Spending time on the mats drilling and rolling is definitely the best way to improve your jiu jitsu. But just because you’re not on the mats doesn’t mean you can’t still be developing as a grappler. BJJ flowcharts can act as a tool to allow you to improve your tactical and conceptual game, which translates directly to live rolling in the gym and at competitions.

BJJ Flowcharts Structures

As we’ve already discussed, BJJ flowcharts are incredibly versatile. You can structure your flowchart in so many different ways, depending on what positions you want to study, your level of familiarity with BJJ, and your personality/preferences. In this article, we’ll discuss two main approaches for using flowcharts to help you 10X your BJJ progress: the multiway graph, and the spatial graph.

Approach #1: Multiway Graph

  • What is it?

The multiway graph allows you to create/visualize causal pathways along various branches in a linear manner. This is the most common flowchart structure, which looks very similar to a genealogical family tree, for example.

  • How can it be used for studying BJJ?

Let’s take guard passing as an example. You might start in a standing position, while the guard player is in a seated position. From there, your first set of branches could be three main reactions from the seated guard player. This type of flowchart allows you to organize and optimize how you deal with those reactions, which will lead to more positions/transitions/submissions, etc.

Approach #2: Spatial Graph

  • What is it?

The spatial graph allows you to create/visualize interrelated pathways in a way that is less linear than the multiway graph. Connections are made between various nodes of the graph in vertical, horizontal, and diagonal manners.

  • How can it be used for studying BJJ?

This kind of flowchart is especially useful if you want to work on a specific technique. Let’s take a straight armlock as an example. You could start by making the arm lock the anchor node, and, from there, map all the different ways that you can get to/from the armlock. This flowchart may appear a bit messier compared to the multiway graph, but it can still be extremely useful depending on your goals and what you are looking to improve on.

Elements of JJXF Flowcharts

Sure, you could always grab a pen and paper and build your own BJJ flowcharts. But we’ve spent years developing an online BJJ flowchart tool specifically designed to help grapplers and jiu jiteiros easily visualize, study, and optimize their developing ground games – so why not take advantage? 

Here are some of the key elements of our online BJJ flowchart tool.

Anchor

This is arguably the most important part of creating a BJJ flowchart, as the anchor is the starting point from which you will build your flowchart. 

If you’re working on your meta-game, your anchors may be the 3 main ways that a grappling match can begin: (a) both grapplers standing; (b) standing with your opponent sitting; or (c) sitting with your opponent standing. You can also be more specific with your anchor, such as building your flowchart around a particular guard, such as reverse de la riva, or a modified X-guard, for example.

Opponent Reactions

It’s definitely important to have a clear idea about what you’re going to do when grappling, but it’s important to remember that it always takes two people to grapple. That means opponent reactions must be a key part of your BJJ flowcharts if they are to be realistic and truly applicable to your time on the mats. 

In our BJJ flowchart tool, you’ll be able to clearly distinguish between your moves and your opponent’s reactions, which will make for a more detailed, comprehensive flowchart.

Types of Nodes

To help best organize your flowchart, you’ll have the option to choose from 8 different types of nodes, all of which are assigned a different color. When building your flowchart, you can choose nodes that represent…

  1. Control: Grips and/or body positioning that will allow you or your opponent to maintain/transition to a more dominant position or a submission.
  2. Escape: Any movement that removes you or your opponent from a dangerous position or submission attempt.
  3. Guard: Closed guard, open guard, insanely complex lapel guards – you name it.
  4. Passing: Any movement that allows you or your opponent to get past a guard.
  5. Position: Mount, back mount, top side control, etc.
  6. Takedown: Any movement that gets you or your opponent from feet to mat.
  7. Technique: A movement (e.g., a grip break or gripping sequence) that allows your or your opponent to effectively execute an escape, pass, takedown, submission, etc.
  8. Submission: The entire reason why we grapple… tap, snap, or nap!

Tempo

This is a term borrowed from the world of chess. Essentially, tempo applies to who is in control, and thus who is dictating the tempo (or pace) of the match. This is an incredibly important aspect of building your BJJ game. 

With our BJJ flowchart tool, you’ll be able to connect your nodes using one of three tempos:

  • Neutral tempo: Neither grappler has the advantage. This usually occurs at the start of a sequence, before one grappler has initiated action. This can also be the case in stalemate positions, such as a stalled-out 50/50.
  • Offensive tempo: You have the advantage and are in control. You initiate a sequence, and your opponent is forced to react to your movement.
  • Defensive tempo:  Your opponent has the advantage and is in control. They initiate a sequence, and you are forced to react to their movement.

Now that you’re familiar with the various elements of our BJJ flowchart tool, let’s dive deeper into how you can use BJJ flowcharts to optimize your ground game.

How to Use BJJ Flowcharts

Creating a high-quality flowchart for BJJ is easy. Let’s go over the steps.

Step 1: Create a New Flowchart

Start on the “My Flowcharts” page. Click “Play” to create your new flowchart. 

Then, name the scenario you want to map/study (e.g., closed guard). 

You can also add some key information in the “Comments” section to help you out later on as you continue to build your flowchart.

Step 2: Adding an Anchor Point

Now that you have a flowchart project created, your next step is to create your first anchor point. 

To add an anchor point, click on the “Tool” icon at the bottom of the screen. Then, click the “+” icon to create a new node. 

We recommend that you name the starting position and add a few details about the position in the note section. For this first anchor, it is common to select “position” for the type of node. But keep in mind that these are just suggestions/guidelines and that you can always get creative and try new things in creating your own BJJ flowcharts.

Step 3: Adding Opponent Reactions

We know that grappling is not an individual activity. So, your next step is to add opponent reactions to your flowchart. 

To add opponent reactions, you’ll follow the same steps as creating a new node. First, write down a few key details in the comment section. These are typically the most important elements that accompany the specific action you are studying. For example, if you are wrestling, and your opponent’s head is low, this opens up snap-down attacks. This differs from when your opponent is standing tall, which opens up double leg attempts and other similar shots.  

The only other thing you’ll need to do to finalize this step is to select the “Opponent” trigger, which will change the node from having a solid line to having a dotted line.

Step 4: Addressing Problems

For each opponent reaction that you add to your flowchart, you can also create a new node that addresses the problem that comes along with that reaction. This could be a technique (e.g., a grip break), a submission, or an escape. 

Once you’ve added a few key details to each node, don’t forget to select the node type (i.e., technique, escape, submission, takedown/sweep, etc.). Selecting the node type will also change the color of the node so that you can easily read your flowchart.

Step 5: Linking it All Together

Once you have all of your nodes, it’s finally time to finish your masterpiece! That means linking all the nodes together to create a coherent, comprehensive BJJ flowchart. 

Connecting nodes is easy. First, go to the parent node. Then, select all the child nodes that you would like linked to the parent node. 

At this point, you can also add tempo (i.e., neutral, offensive, defensive) by selecting the appropriate icon. Selecting the tempo will change the color of the arrow connecting the nodes together. 

Now you’ll have a beautifully organized BJJ flowchart to work with. But don’t stop yet… there’s one more important step before you can say you’re finished!

Step 6: Saving Your Masterpiece

One of the great things about creating BJJ flowcharts is that, as long as you have access to them, you can use them forever!

So, that being said, don’t forget to save your work so that you can return to it in the future. 

Also, know that the BJJ flowcharts you create are not carved in stone. You can always return to make modifications, or, as you progress, remake your BJJ flowcharts to reflect your updated knowledge or new strategies.

Final Thoughts

While spending time on the mats is definitely the best thing you can do for your BJJ, using flowcharts to organize and study your grappling game is the absolute best way to 10X your progress

We spent years developing this online BJJ flowcharts tool. Why? Because we’re grapplers ourselves, and we’ve been passionate about improving our own BJJ games for the past decade! Now we’re sharing our work with you. 

Also, we’ve put a ton of time into researching and developing this flowchart tool – including interviewing world-class instructors like Corey Guitard and creating multiple iterations of the tool to get it to be what it is today. But we know there’s always room for improvement, which is why we want to hear your feedback/suggestions about how we can make this online BJJ flowcharts tool even better! 

Sure, it may take a bit of practice/experimentation to get the hang of the tool at first, but it’s worth it. Using BJJ flowcharts will help you to address common problems you face when rolling and competing, allowing you to build a tighter grappling game in a methodical, structured manner.

So, what are you waiting for? Get access to the JJXF BJJ Flowchart tool today and level up in ways you never imagined were possible!