Have you ever wondered what is the best source for free BJJ content online? Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has a very different dynamic in regard to learning compared to most sports. Learning in this sport is way more complex than in any other. This is because there is such a vast range of adjustments and variations for each technique that it’s generally too much to handle, especially in the beginning of our journey.
Fortunately, I have been watching BJJ related content for years. In this period I’ve been gathering information about which are the best YouTube channels to study from.
First of all, I’m not claiming to know every YouTuber producing BJJ content. I have checked out most of the bigger channels and I’m confident I can provide some insight on what channels have made the biggest impact on my game.
Bear in mind that all of the content is taken from YouTube alone. The list is based only on techniques, so motivational content is not taken into consideration here – if this wasn’t the case I would be including Chewie as a great source for motivational content.
You’ll see that most of the people in this list have their own online paid courses or subscription-based material. But this are not the focus of this article. My idea is to present you with the best free BJJ online content. If you want to check out their YouTube channels, I’ll include links to their pages.
Remember that the main difference between free online content and instructionals is in the order and structure of the techniques. When you watch instructionals, the information is presented in a way that is much more systematized.
Whereas when you watch free online videos you have freedom of choice in what you want to learn. This can be both good and bad, since having no structure in the content can slow the process of improving. It can also provide a unique way of creating your own “system” by mixing solutions from different athletes together.
It’s always good to point out that this list is completely subjective! There are other channels you can follow, but these are the ones that I recommend the most. So without further ado, here’s the list of my top BJJ content creators on YouTube.
Online instructor #1 – Jon Thomas
Jon Thomas is one of the best free BJJ online content creators out there in my opinion and clearly I’m not alone as he was named as an instructor for the BJJ Online Summit. He is a very clear, precise and detail-oriented teacher, and he makes an effort to cover usual responses to most of the techniques he is demonstrating. He is mainly a guard player but he recently started implementing in-depth passing techniques as well. Jon was a purple and brown belt world champion, so he is no slouch as a competitor either.
You can find him on YouTube and instagram. His YouTube channel focuses more on in-depth analysis and Q&As. I find the way he teaches resonates with the way I learn, so this is maybe a little biased. He is extremely good at explaining and simplifying complex situations.
You should check him out especially if you are interested in Collar Sleeve, Sit up guard, guard retention in general, Toreando and knee cut passes or general concepts of BJJ. His guard concepts are next level and I haven’t seen most of what he teaches being taught elsewhere. I strongly recommend his content!
Online instructor #2 – Lachlan Giles
I think everybody knows this by now, but Lachlan Giles placed third in the absolute division of ADCC in 2019, and that was after originally competing in the -77kg division. Despite that being his greatest competitive accomplishment, I believe he is one of the best at something else he is not that well-known for: online teaching. He has a very particular style when it comes to instruction, as he is both knowledgeable and precise while still keeping a low profile. Lachlan is also a PhD in physiotherapy!
You can check his YouTube content out by clicking here. Even though he posts regularly on instagram, his YouTube channel is where the gems are at. He has extensive material on both Gi and No Gi positions, escapes, fundamentals and a very in-depth series on leg locks. They recently added a new podcast series and a few videos on stretching and mobility which I personally used during quarantine.
I got to his material when I was getting into single leg X and butterfly guard, which he covers extensively. I soon found out that he also has a very deep understanding of leg locks and leg entanglements in general. He may not use Danahers terminology, but once you get familiar with his terms you’ll notice that he is way more concise and straight to the point. I recommend his SLX / X / butterfly guard series, his leg locks series and the fundamentals and escapes series.
Online instructor #3 – Keenan Cornelius
The lapel guard master is another great option for free content! Keenan Cornelius may have a paid platform, but his free content is almost as good. Out of all the current competitors on this list, he is the most accomplished by a landslide and didn’t slow down even after taking on the monumental task of opening his own school. He is a European, Pan American and World NO-GI champion and even though his instruction is sometimes all over the place, he makes up for it by being extremely knowledgeable and detail-oriented.
Keenan has two paid platforms (Keenan Online and The Lapel Encyclopedia), but his YouTube channel and instagram pages are gold as well. The channel offers a wide variety of content that covers most positions and submissions, as well as sneak peaks into both his Lapel Encyclopedia and Keenan Online sites. He has one of the best free BJJ content pages on YouTube.
Keenan’s material is extremely varied, and you will definitely find some techniques related to the positions you play. I’m a big fan of lapel guards, so his content is particularly useful in that regard. He has a video about SLX Worm guard which I recommend to anyone that uses either Worm guard or SLX. Keenan’s instagram is way more productive though, and you can find a lot of posiitons and variations there. You can also find some snippets of Andris Brunovski’s instructional as well.
Gustavo Gasperin – MMA Leech
This channel is a hidden gem when it comes to ashi garami based leg locks. Gustavo isn’t a student of John Danaher, but he seems pretty adept in his system of using inside position to setup leg entanglements. Gustavo is a Black Belt under Fabricio Werdum, and a two time No-Gi World Champion at brown belt (2009 and 2010).
You can check Gustavo’s online content at his YouTube channel: MMA Leech. He covers leg locks and back attacks extensively. He also focuses a lot on Single Leg X and butterfly guard in both Gi and No-Gi, so his style is almost built for ashi garami based leg attacks. I don’t follow his instagram much, but you can do so at the following link.
I find his explanations to be straight to the point while he also covers some details I’ve never seen before. His content is amazing for SLX and butterfly guards, back attacks and back control. I particularly enjoyed his content on creating game plans for competition. This is something most people struggle with, and he addresses it thoroughly.
Mendes brothers – Art Of Jiu-Jitsu
Art Of Jiu-Jitsu is a YouTube channel run by the Mendes brothers, so you can expect the content to be pretty high level. In case you live in a bottle, Guilherme Mendes is a 4x Blackbelt World Champion at Lightweight, while his brother Rafael Mendes is a 6x Blackbelt World Champ at Featherweight. They both got their blackbelts under Ramon Lemos.
Their academy has paid content, but they also run a YouTube channel with loads of free BJJ content. If you’re not familiar with these two beasts, Gui and Rafa are well-known for their leg drags from top and De La Riva guard from bottom. The channel focuses solely on Gi techniques and IBJJF rulesets.
If you are one of those berimbolo/leg drag loving characters, this is the channel for you. Both brothers are slick with this techniques. They provide very different insights as one brother is known for his amazing guard, while the other is a feared passer. They go pretty deep into the positions and even have some seminars recorded which are pure gold.
So the best free BJJ content online is…
If I had to rank the best free BJJ online content based on their influence on my game, I would say that Lachlan Giles and Jon Thomas are by far the ones I have studied the most. Keenan would be a close third since I love lapel guard and he is the golden standard for the position. The other two are much more specific to my game and the games I find most difficulties against.
If you think I missed any of your favorite free online instructors, hit me up on instagram. Bare in mind this list is completely subjective and that you may disagree with me. Give this BJJ instructors a follow on this platforms so they can keep providing amazing content for us!