Tripping Vs Throwing In BJJ

Tripping vs Throwing: if you are having trouble with BJJ throws, you need to read this article!

The act of throwing in martial arts can elicit mixed reactions from people. While some individuals enjoy learning the technique and look forward to it, others may feel apprehensive about it (I’m one of those!). This could be due to the connotation that throwing requires strength, dexterity, and energy, as seen in movies where big tough guys with large muscles execute throws.

One thing is sure: whether you work with Gi or No Gi, having a good throw is essential in every BJJ competition. In this article, I want to help you change your perspective about BJJ throws.

Is anyone able to throw someone else?

Jiu-jitsu instructors often assert that their discipline can be learned by anyone, regardless of size or strength. However, this claim is often met with skepticism, particularly when it comes to throwing. Even though punching and kicking seem achievable, throwing someone larger than oneself seems difficult to believe.

Instructors can sometimes use wording that does not help the cause. They may explain that breaking someone’s balance using the correct technique and smaller size can “throw” someone larger and heavier. However, this can lead to further skepticism as it is easy to believe that a stronger person has an advantage in throwing.

Tripping or Throwing?

The secret that trained martial artists to know is that they are not actually throwing people, but tripping them. Although strength, weight, and energy can be added to a throw, the fundamental principle is that balance is broken in some way to trip the opponent. This concept applies to most throws, including hip throws, leg sweeps, reaping throws, and shoulder throws.

Visualize throws as trips

The simplicity of this idea is that by visualizing throws as trips, individuals can focus on breaking their opponents’ balance and drawing them off balance rather than trying to pick them up. This approach can make throws easier by using less energy and helping students understand how specific throws work. This concept may also remove the mental block that some students develop when they are told they need to “throw” someone, which can be intimidating.


Overall, understanding that throwing is essentially tripping can make the technique more approachable and help students improve their execution. While there may be some exceptions, this idea has proven to be a useful way of thinking about throws in martial arts.

Reading advice: give a look at this article from Pacific Wave Jiu Jitsu to discover more points of view about the “tripping vs throwing” argument.

Now I’d like to hear your opinion about that. How do you approach throws in BJJ? Do you prefer to go straight to the ground and avoid the stand-up work?


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