Bottom position

Grappling position

A grappling position refers the positioning and holds of combatants engaged in grappling. Combatants are said to be in a neutral position if neither is in a more favorable position. If one party has a clear advantage such as in the mount they are said to be in a "Mounted Position". Conversely, the other party is considered to be in a inferior position, in that case sometimes called the "under mount." Yes, the individual on top can deliver punches and not have them returned, but Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu proves this is not a superior position because the fight can be turned around in a heart-beat.

Stand-up positions

Called clinch position or standing grappling position, these are the core of clinch fighting. From a separated stand-up position, a clinch is the result of one or both fighters applying a clinch hold. The process of attempting to advance into more dominant clinch positions is known as pummelling. The major types of standing clinch are such as:

Fighters may attempt to break from the clinch, either as the rule require it at in boxing or because they wish to obtain a better position be moving out and re-engaging, If the clinch continues fighters may attempt to strike, takedown or throw an opponent, this may result in a win, or the start of ground grappling.

Ground positions

It is preferred to have the mounted position; be on top, because fighters can use their weight to their advantage, but depending on the set of rules used, it can have notable exceptions such as the guard, a dominant ground position is usually easier to obtain for the person who initiated the throw or take-down, because it is easier to FALL than it is to RISE. It may be possible for a fighter in the mounted position to score points by pinning their opponent; applying a Submission hold where the opponent can not escape. There is a rough-hierarchy of major ground grappling positions; the most advantageous to the least.

  1. Back mount
  2. Mount
  3. Knee-on-stomach
  4. Side control
  5. North-south position
  6. Half guard
  7. Disengaged
  8. Guard

A reversal from a dominant; top position, is called a Sweep, these are usually the aim of a fight in the bottom position, though there are some submissions that can be executed from the bottom; "the guard." While a position may be considered dominant in one sport, that may not be the case in another, for example, the closed guard in BJJ may be dominant in terms of submission, in mixed martial arts (MMA) however, where striking is allowed, while the guard still offers submission opportunities and defence, the fighter on top can strike better than the one on the bottom so the position is usual view as neutral in MMA. Wrestling is different again viewing guard as inferior due to the risk of being pinned.


  • In an amateur wrestling match, the wrestlers are standing in a symmetrical position, with both wrestlers having a pinch grip tie on the other wrestler. The wrestlers are in a neutral position. Wrestler 'A' then pummels through to gain Double underhooks so gaining a dominant position.
  • In a Brazilian jiu-jitsu grappling match, grappler 'C' is holding the other grappler 'D' in an open guard. The open guard allows grappler 'C' to attempt a multitude of submission holds, while grappler 'D's priority is to advance in position, grappler 'C' is in a dominant position with the top grappler is in an inferior position, as it is hard for 'D' to attack before they improve their position. 'D' then used a Near knee guard pass getting one leg though to gain Half guard, a more dominant position where they can attack 'C' and 'C' will find submitting them more difficult
  • In a mixed marital arts bout, fighter 'E' has a strong closed guard and is using it to help defend against punches, fighter 'F' cannot strike with full effect, but is unlikely to be struck effectively or submitted quickly so they are in a relatively neutral fighter 'F' is then swept and mounted by fighter 'E' giving them a dominant position.

See also


  • Gracie; Renzo, Gracie, Royler; Peligro, Kid; Danaher, John (2001). Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and technique. Invisible Cities Press. ISBN 1-931229-08-2.

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