Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: How & Why To Do a “Technical Stand-Up”

The technical stand-up is a way to move from a seated position to standing that protects the person from being physically compromised, in either a sport or a self-defense situation.

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), there is a move that goes by several descriptions: the get-up, standing up in base, or the technical stand-up; the latter is how we will refer to it here. The technical stand-up is a way to move from a seated position to a standing position that protects the person doing the stand-up from being physically compromised, in either a sport or a self-defense situation.

How does it do this? Think about how you stand up from a chair. Chances are, you lead with your head, maybe pushing with both hands on either side of your thighs if you are tired or the chair is squishy. Well, let’s say you are on the ground and an attacker is standing over you, either trying to engage with you in a grappling/MMA match or, more direly, to do you bodily harm. If you were to stand up by leading with your head in this situation, you would run the risk of leaving yourself open to an attack — perhaps a guillotine or takedown attempt from an opponent, perhaps a kick or punch to the head from an attacker.

A technical stand-up neutralizes these advances by enabling you to stand up with your head fully protected, into a solid position of what in the grappling/MMA world is called “base.” Here’s how you do it:

1. First, sit on the ground with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.

Then, lean to one side so that one hip and the side of the same leg are on the ground. Put that same side hand firmly on the ground a little behind and to the right of your hip. For instance, assuming you sit to the right, your right hand will be behind you and the outside of your right leg will be on the ground.

2. Next, post your left foot squarely on the ground with your knee bent. You will be putting all your weight on this foot and your posted right hand. Try this, actually. Lift your right leg and butt off the ground as you balance on your left foot and your right hand. But then put everything back on the ground for now

3. Next, protect your head by grabbing the back of it with your free left hand, keeping your elbow close to your face. Doing so will bring your arm to your face in a way that will protect it from blows your opponent or attacker might try to inflict.

Now it’s time to get up. Again, post all your weight on your right hand and left foot. Lift your right hip and leg, and your butt off the ground. At this point, in a self defense or MMA situation, you could move your right hip forward to kick at the leg of your opponent/attacker with that leg you lifted off the ground.

4. Next, bring your right leg back and plant your right foot on the ground BEHIND your right hand, which should stay posted on the ground. You want to establish a wide base, where your feet are firmly planted a bit farther than hips’ width apart. A narrow base, when your feet are close together, is less stable.

5. Your left arm should continue to protect your head and face as you lift your right hand off the ground and end up in an upright position, though you should keep your knees bent and your hips down. Notice that as you stand up, you will be standing up AWAY from the other person, placing much (but not all) of your weight on your rear right foot, which puts you in a position either to engage, in a sport situation, or to run away, in a self-defense situation. This is much preferable to leading with your face, standing up into your opponent/attacker, and otherwise putting yourself in a vulnerable position as you make the transition from being seated to being on your feet.