Wednesday, July 7, 2021

It’s A Dick Move--Or Is It?

This was my first night back on the mats post-Covid lockdown.

Last night I rolled with a new white belt, one month in. 

“What do you want to work on?” I asked.

“Breaking the guard and getting to side control,” New White Belt replied.

NWB seems about thirty, not too tall, not too short. Average build, maybe a little meaty. I would guess he’s about 160-170 pounds.

“Well, that will be easy to do on me.” My stubby legs usually they pop open with no resistance. 

I wrapped my legs around NWB, barely connecting my feet together. NWB took a deep breath, stared at the ceiling, went over the breaking-guard steps in his head as he carefully postured up, slid his knee into my posterior, stretched away. My ankles snapped open. I resisted the urge to activate my open guard—this was his learning experience, after all. I waited patiently as he transitioned to side control, leaving gaps large enough to drive a truck through.

NWB worked to side control and exhaled. 

“That was good!” I encouraged him. 


“Yeah. Now you gotta work on your spacing. I could have escaped while you were passing.”

I demonstrated how to keep his knee close to the hip on a punch-through, how to underhook the opposite arm, and how to transition his other knee under the shoulder.

He tried again, maneuvering a little better this time. As he settled into the position he asked,

“Now, what’s that thing you do where you crush the person’s jaw?”

    “Oh?” I replied, not eager for a jaw crushing just then.

“You know, with your shoulder?”

The thought of his extra 60+ pounds driving into my jaw made me say what I said next:

“That’s kind of a dick move.”

He seemed shocked. “Oh, it is? I didn’t know. I’m sorry. Some of the purple belts have been showing me how to really crush someone’s jaw when you’re in this position.”

Oh the purple belts have been showing you? I thought maybe he had seen it on YouTube. But he was learning it from my teammates. I didn’t want to dis them. I also don’t want to end up with a broken jaw when this guy spazzes out during sparring. So I regrouped.

“Oh, I see. Well, with me, it would be kind of a dick move, because you are twice my size. You don’t need to do that to control me. But, if you were rolling with that guy over there,” I jerked my thumb toward to our resident 260-pound black-bear of a mat-mate, “You might need to do that to keep him down.”

I went into side control on NWB and gently crushed his jaw.

“It’s like this: in Jiu Jitsu you want to expend the least amount of energy necessary to control your opponent. If you can do it without the jaw crush, you should.”

So, here’s my working definition, folks: a Dick Move is when you use more force than you need to in order to control your opponent.


Do you have other ways to define a Dick Move? When is it all-is-fair Jiu Jitsu, and when is it a DM? When is someone calling something a Dick Move actually a Dick Move on their part?


  1. The number of techniques I group under 'dick move' is probably larger than most BJJ instructors. Basically, anything that will potentially still hurt tomorrow. So, no neck cranks, elbow grinding, shoulders into whatever, etc. I'm all about friendly jiu jitsu. :D

  2. I consistently wish that I lived closer to you and your gym, slidey, and this is why.


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