How Learning To Invert Improves Your BJJ

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that continues to evolve pretty much every year. As practitioners study the art, they are exposed to various techniques, most of which are considered standard learning, while others are more on the exotic side. One movement that has gained traction over the years is the art of inversion. Inverting in Jiu-Jitsu may look complicated, and in many ways, it is. However, there are many benefits from learning this unique movement. Today, we’ll explore how learning to invert improves your game. 


Inversion Defined

To invert means putting your body in the upside-down position. Your upper back and shoulders serve as the point where your body pivots, and your limbs and lower back are more or less raised. The idea of inverting started as a defensive maneuver, but over the years, it has also been used to set up many attacking sequences. Many of today’s top competitors are experts in the art of inversion. We’ll discuss the defensive and offensive advantages of inverting as we go along in this article. 


Inversion Advantages – Defense 

The inversion is more than just a tool to look good. It is a valuable technique that adds a layer of protection to the guard player, particularly against solid guard passers. Dealing with strong guard passers is always tricky. No matter how good your guard is, sooner or later, the top player might find a small opening to penetrate your defense. This is where inverting comes in handy. This movement can help you reposition your body so that you can maintain and recover your guard. This is especially effective against those who love to smash their way to either side control or north-south. Since you are using your legs and hips to frame against the opponent, you don’t need to exert too much effort while transitioning to a safe position. Grappling superstars like Mikey Musumeci, Garry Tonon, and Lachlan Giles are absolute experts at using the inversion to maintain their guards.


Inversion Advantages – Offense

Using the inversion as an offensive tool typically starts from a successful defensive cycle. It is safe to say that most of the time, the inversion is meant to protect you from the guard pass or a possible throw attempt. After you block the opponent’s attempt, it should be easy to find openings to either attack with the submission or move to a better position, like the back. The key to attacking from the inverted position is finding the right angles to attack. Generally speaking, you should be able to move to the opponent’s side after you invert. Moves like the triangle choke, leg entanglements, and back takes will present themselves if you get to the right spot. 


Inversions To Help Your Guard Retention

Coach Brian Glick shares his tips on how to add inversions into your Jiu-Jitsu. He says that connecting your feet to any part of the opponent’s body makes it easier to learn how to invert. 

He mentions that using the high-leg pummel is an excellent starting point, and he demonstrates a scenario where using the high-leg can lead to an inversion. Assuming that you are in the guard position and the opponent is on top, attempting a toreando pass going to your right, use your arms to frame against their body as you place your outside leg towards their neck area, crossing the opponent’s center line. Utilize your leg to push as you lift your hips, and invert to the available space created by the high-leg pummel. Continue your inversion to the opposite side to maintain your guard. 

Brian said that you can use this scenario to drill the inversion. It is a smart idea to get enough space by framing with your arms and legs before you go in and invert. Practice the motion of completing your rotation to ensure that you can complete the movement with little difficulty. Once you invert to the opposite side, repeat the process with the opponent now passing to the left side. Drill this sequence until you become accustomed to the movement.


Triangle Choke From The Inverted Guard

Here is another video from Brian Glick, where he demonstrates the inverted triangle. As previously discussed, a good attacking option from the inverted position is the triangle choke. The triangle choke is one of the most versatile submissions in all of Jiu-Jitsu, and the inverted variation is an excellent tool to add to your game. 

Starting from the standard triangle choke position, switch your locking legs, use a scoop grip on the opponent’s leg, and invert. Again, lifting your hips is imperative to the inversion to make the transition smoother. Once you complete the inversion, place your knee to the pocket of their hip, pull their head downwards, and lock in the triangle choke. You should feel a tight bite if you do these steps correctly. 


Do I Really Need To Invert?

Inverting is a movement that requires hours of practice. A practitioner’s flexibility, age, and disposition are essential factors to consider if you want to add the inversion game to your Jiu-Jitsu. If you have any reservations about doing this movement, it is absolutely understandable. While inverting is a valuable layer to guard retention, it is not a must-learn, all things considered. Assess your body’s ability and check if you can do this movement. If you can, then go for it. If you can’t, then don’t fret. At the end of the day, everyone’s BJJ game is unique, and you have the power to select which techniques you want to use. 



In conclusion, learning to invert provides you with many tactical advantages, both offensively and defensively. This movement can make your guard retention a lot more dynamic and will make you a tough grappler to deal with. As with all techniques, the best way to master this move is by studying its nuances and giving yourself enough time to understand its intricacies. 


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