Jiu-Jitsu Terms (A-Z Glossary)

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There’s no need to be intimidated by the barrage of unfamiliar jiu-jitsu terms you’ll encounter when starting out in the sport. With a little help, you can quickly learn to decipher what all those strange words mean. In this article, we’ll provide a glossary of common jiu-jitsu terms, complete with definitions and examples of how each term is used in practice. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you’ll be one step closer to becoming a jiu-jitsu expert!

360 English Vocabulary Compilation ...
360 English Vocabulary Compilation Words - English for Beginners (Part 2)

Intro to Jiu-Jitsu and its terminology

Jiu-jitsu is a martial art and combat sport that originated in Japan. It is also known as Japanese jiu-jitsu, jujutsu, and judo. Jiu-jitsu focuses on grappling and ground fighting, and it can be trained for self-defense, competition, or both.

There are many different schools (or styles) of jiu-jitsu, each with its own unique set of techniques and philosophies. However, all jiu-jitsu practitioners can benefit from learning the same core set of terms. In this article, we’ll focus on general jiu-jitsu terminology that will be useful regardless of your chosen style.

A-Z Glossary

#

50-50: A position in which both fighters have an equal grip on each other, usually on the legs. This position is often used as a starting point for leg locks.

A

ADCC: Short for “Abu Dhabi Combat Club” – an annual submission grappling tournament that is open to both amateurs and professionals.

Americana: A type of arm lock that involves hyperextending the opponent’s arm at the elbow.

Ankle lock: A type of leg lock that involves hyperextending the opponent’s ankle.

Ankle Pick: A type of takedown in which the fighter grabs the opponent’s ankle and sweeps their leg out from under them.

Arm Crush: A type of control and restraint where the fighter traps the opponent’s arm between their legs in order to immobilize it and make it harder for them to escape.

Arm drag: A type of move used to take the opponent down to the ground or to transition from one position to another. It involves grabbing the opponent’s arm and pulling it out of their guard, with the goal of getting a dominant position on the ground.

Arm triangle: A type of choke hold that involves trapping the opponent’s arm between your legs while applying pressure to their neck with your forearm.

Armbar: A type of submission hold where the attacker wraps their arm around the elbow and applies pressure to it in order to hyperextend or break it.

Ashi garami: A type of leg lock that involves trapping the opponent’s leg between your legs while applying pressure to their knee.

B

Back control: A position in which the fighter has their back to the opponent’s chest, with both of the opponent’s arms under control. This is a very dominant position in jiu-jitsu, as the fighter can apply chokes, joint locks, and strikes with little risk of being countered.

Back take: A move used to take the opponent down to the ground or to transition from one position to another. It involves grabbing the opponent’s back and pulling them out of their guard, with the goal of getting a dominant position on the ground.

Balloon sweep: A type of sweep that involves pulling your leg out from under the opponent and swinging it over them to put them in an immobilized position.

Base: The position of the fighter’s feet and legs in relation to their torso. A good base is essential for maintaining balance and stability, both while standing and on the ground.

Belt: A strip of fabric worn around the waist to indicate the fighter’s rank in jiu-jitsu. There are typically four ranks: white, blue, purple, and black.

Berimbolo: A type of move used to take the opponent down to the ground or to transition from one position to another. It involves wrapping your legs around the opponent’s waist and rolling them over your shoulder, with the goal of getting a dominant position on the ground.

Bicep Slicer: A type of submission hold where the attacker wraps their arm around the opponent’s bicep and applies pressure to it in order to hyperextend or break it.

Body Fold Takedown: A type of takedown that involves grabbing the opponent’s shirt and pulling them forward while at the same time stepping back to create distance. It can be used to take the opponent down or to transition from one position to another.

Body Lock: A type of control and restraint where the fighter traps the opponent’s body between their legs in order to immobilize them and make it harder for them to escape.

Body lock takedown: A type of takedown that involves grabbing the opponent’s body, typically around their hips or shoulders, and pulling them forward while at the same time stepping back to create distance. It can be used to take the opponent down or to transition from one position to another.

Boston crab: A type of submission hold where the attacker wraps their legs around the opponent’s torso and applies pressure to their lower back in order to hyperextend or break it.

Bow and arrow choke: A type of choke hold that involves wrapping one arm around the opponent’s neck while hooking their leg with your other leg. You then use your leg to pull back on their head and neck, applying pressure to their windpipe.

Brabo choke: A type of choke hold that involves wrapping one arm around the opponent’s neck while hooking their leg with your other leg. You then use your leg to pull back on their head and neck, applying pressure to their windpipe.

Breakfall: A technique used to safely fall to the ground when thrown or taken down. It involves tucking your chin and rolling over your shoulder to dissipate the force of the impact.

Bridge: A technique used to protect the fighter’s neck when being pulled on top of them by their opponent. It involves straightening the back and locking the ankles.

Bridge and roll: A technique used to safely fall to the ground when thrown or taken down. It involves tucking your chin and rolling over your shoulder to dissipate the force of the impact.

Butterfly guard: A type of guard where the fighter has their legs wrapped around the outside of the opponent’s thighs. It gives them a good base to work from and makes it hard for the opponent to pass their guard.

Butterfly Sweep: A type of sweep where the fighter pulls their legs out from under the opponent, hooking one leg around their other leg to put them in an immobilized position.

C

Can opener: A type of move where the attacker hooks their arm around the opponent’s elbow, with their hand facing them. They then use their body to pull the opponent’s arm away from their body, hyperextending the elbow.

Cauliflower ear: An injury that is common in grappling and wrestling sports. It is caused by blunt force trauma to the ear, which leads to blood gathering under the skin, forming a lump.

Clinch: A position where the fighters are standing and embracing each other, typically with one or both fighters’ arms wrapped around the other. It is a key position in Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts.

Closed guard: A type of guard where the fighter has their legs wrapped around the outside of the opponent’s thighs. This gives them a good base to work from and makes it hard for them to pass the guard.

Collar choke: A type of choke hold where the attacker wraps one arm around the opponent’s neck from behind, with their hand facing them. They then use their other arm to trap the opponent’s arm, applying pressure to the neck.

Collar Drag: A type of technique used to move the opponent from one position to another. It involves grabbing the inside of their collar and pulling them away from where you want them to go.

Cross-collar choke: A type of choke hold where the attacker wraps one arm around the opponent’s neck from behind, with their hand facing them. They then use their other arm to trap the opponent’s arm close to their neck, applying pressure to the throat.

Collar tie: A type of technique used to control the opponent’s head and upper body. It involves grabbing the inside of their collar with one hand and placing the other hand on the back of their head.

Collar-and-elbow position: A type of position where the fighters are standing and in close proximity to each other. They both have one arm wrapped around their opponent’s neck, with the other arm placed in front of their opponent’s body.

Competition gi: A type of gi that is worn in competition. It is typically made from a lighter weight material and has tighter fitting sleeves and pants.

Crank: A type of move that is used to force the opponent to submit. It involves applying pressure to a joint in order to hyperextend it.

Cross face: A type of technique used to unmask the opponent or prevent them from holding their hands high in order to block strikes. It involves pushing your forearm across their face to force their head down and away from where you want it to go.

D

D’Arce choke: A type of choke hold that is applied from the side control position. It involves placing one arm around the opponent’s neck and trapping their arm with your other arm before applying pressure to the neck.

De la Riva guard: A type of guard where the fighter has one leg wrapped around the outside of the opponent’s thigh, with their other leg extended out to the side.

De La Riva sweep: A type of sweep used from the De La Riva guard. It involves pulling your leg out to the other side and then using it to pull your opponent over.

Disengaged: A type of term that is used to describe a fighter who is no longer in contact with the opponent.

Double Leg: A type of takedown where the attacker wraps their arms around the opponent’s legs and takes them to the ground.

Double weave: A type of move that is used to evade strikes. It involves moving your head to one side and then quickly moving it back in the other direction.

Drop Seio Nage: A type of Judo throw where the attacker reaches around their opponent’s back and grabs their opposite arm. They then use their leg to trip them forward and off balance.

Duck Under: A type of move used to evade strikes. It involves dropping down so that the strike goes over your head.

E

Elbow lock: A type of lock that involves trapping the opponent’s arm at their elbow joint and then bending it back towards them.

Electric chair: A type of position where the fighter is sitting on their opponent’s chest with their legs wrapped around their waist. They then place their arms under their opponent’s armpits and around their neck before applying pressure.

Escape: A type of move that is used to get out of a hold or position.

Everyday porrada: A type of sparring that is done in daily life, using Brazilian jiujitsu techniques to deal with real-life scenarios.

Ezekiel choke: A type of choke hold that is applied from the back mount position. It involves placing one arm around the opponent’s neck and trapping their other arm before applying pressure to the neck.

F

Figure four arm lock: A type of lock that involves trapping the opponent’s arm in a figure four position and then applying pressure to it.

Flower sweep: A type of sweep used from the de la Riva guard. It involves using your leg to pull the opponent’s legs out, then rotating them over your body.

Foot Sweep: A type of sweep that is used to trip the opponent. It involves hooking their leg with your foot and then sweeping it out from under them.

Front Headlock: A type of position where the fighter has wrapped their arm around the opponent’s head and neck. They are then free to strike with their other arm.

Full guard: A type of guard where the fighter has both legs wrapped around the opponent’s waist.

G

Gable grip: A type of grip that involves grabbing the opponent’s wrist with your thumb on top.

Gassing out / gassed: A type of term that is used to describe a fighter who is running out of energy and is starting to tire.

Gi: A type of uniform that is worn in Brazilian jiujitsu, Judo and other martial arts. It is made from a heavy fabric and usually has a jacket and pants.

Gogoplata: A type of submission hold that is applied from the guard position. It involves placing your foot on the opponent’s throat and then using your other leg to push their head down.

Gold weave: A type of grip that is used to control the opponent. It involves grabbing the opponent’s Gi with one hand and their belt with the other.

Grappling Industries: A type of tournament that is open to all grapplers, regardless of their affiliation.

Guard: A type of position where the fighter has their legs wrapped around the opponent’s waist.

Guard pass: A type of move that is used to get past the guard and into a better position.

Guillotine: A type of choke hold that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping the opponent’s neck in your arms and then applying pressure.

Guillotine choke: A type of choke hold that is applied from the back mount position. It involves wrapping your legs around their waist and trapping their neck in your arms before applying pressure.

H

Half guard: A type of guard where the fighter has one leg wrapped around their opponent’s waist and the other leg positioned across their body.

Harai Goshi: A type of throw that involves pulling the opponent’s legs out from under them and then sweeping them over your body.

Head and arm choke: A type of choke hold that is applied from the back mount position. It involves trapping one arm under your leg and then pressing your legs together to apply pressure to the opponent’s neck.

Heel hook: A type of leg lock that is applied from the knee mount position. It involves trapping your opponent’s heel with your legs and then hyper-extending their knee.

High Crotch Single Leg: A type of takedown that is used to take the opponent down to the ground. It involves grabbing their leg and lifting it up high before taking them down.

Hip bump sweep: A type of sweep that is used from the guard position. It involves using your hips to bump the opponent and then sweep their legs out from under them.

Hip escape: A type of move that is used to get out from under the opponent’s guard. It involves pressing your hips down and then sliding your legs around.

Honey hole: A type of term used to describe the center of a mat.

I

IBJJF: Abbreviation for International Brazilian Jiujitsu Federation, an organization that hosts various tournaments and competitions.

Imanari roll: A type of move that is used to sweep the opponent’s legs out from under them. It involves rolling forward and placing your shin on their thigh as you do so.

Inside sankaku: A type of grip that is used to control the opponent. It involves grabbing their Gi with one hand and then placing your other hand on their hip.

J

Japanese necktie: A type of submission hold that is applied from the back mount position. It involves trapping their neck in your legs and then using your arms to choke them.

Jigoro Kano: The founder of judo and one of the early pioneers fighting sports.

John Wayne sweep: A type of sweep that is used to take the opponent down to the ground. It involves grabbing their leg with one hand and then stepping over them with the other.

Judo: A martial art that was created by Jigoro Kano in 1882. It is a grappling-based sport that includes throws, takedowns, pins, chokes and armlocks.

Judo Lapel Choke: A type of choke hold that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their Gi lapel in your arm and then choking them with it.

K

K-guard: A type of guard where the fighter has their legs wrapped around the opponent’s waist and one arm hooked around their neck.

Kata gatame: A type of pin that is applied from the side control position. It involves trapping the opponent’s arm with your legs and then applying pressure to their neck.

Kata Guruma: A type of throw that is used to take the opponent down to the ground. It involves grabbing their legs and rolling them over your shoulders.

Kesa gatame: A type of pin that is applied from the side control position. It involves trapping the opponent’s arm with your legs and then turning them over so that their back is facing the ground.

Kimono: The traditional Japanese garment worn by practitioners of judo, jiujitsu and other martial arts.

Kimura: A type of arm lock that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their arm with your legs and then using your to hyperextend it.

Knee on belly: A type of position that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping your opponent’s arm between your legs and then using your hands to choke them.

Knee shield: A type of position where you hold your opponent’s legs to prevent them from passing your guard.

Knee Tap: A type of submission hold that is applied from the knee mount position. It involves trapping their head with your shin and then tapping them on the top of their head.

Kneebars: A type of submission that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their leg with your legs and then bending them until they tap out or break it.

Kouchi Gari: A type of throw that is used to take the opponent down to the ground. It involves grabbing their leg and sweeping it out from under them.

Kuzure kesa gatame: A type of pin that is applied from the side control position. It involves trapping the opponent’s arm with your legs and then turning them over so that their back is facing the ground.

L

Lapel Drag: A type of grip that is used to control the opponent. It involves grabbing their Gi with one hand and then placing your other hand on their hip.

Lasso guard: A type of guard where you wrap your legs around the opponent’s waist and use your arms to prevent them from passing.

Lateral Drop: A type of throw that is used to take the opponent down to the ground. It involves grabbing them and swinging them around before letting go and falling back.

Leg drag: A type of grip that is used to control the opponent. It involves grabbing their leg with one hand and then placing your other hand on their hip.

Leg Hook: A type of pin that is applied from the side control position. It involves trapping their leg between your legs and then using your hands to choke them.

Lockdown: A type of position that is applied from the side control position. It involves trapping their arm with your legs and then using your hands to choke them.

Low Single: A type of throw that is used to take the opponent down to the ground. It involves grabbing their leg and sweeping it out from under them.

Lumberjack sweep: A type of sweep that is used to take the opponent down to the ground. It involves grabbing their legs and then sweeping them over your head.

M

Mata Leão: A type of submission hold that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their head with your legs and then choking them with your arms.

Mitsuyo Maeda: The founder of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

MMA: Mixed martial arts, a combat sport that involves striking and grappling techniques from various martial arts.

Mount: A type of position that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their arm with your legs and then using your hands to choke them.

MRSA: A potentially deadly bacteria that can infect the skin and cause severe illness.

N

Neck crank: A type of submission hold that is applied from the side control position. It involves trapping their head with your arm and then twisting it.

No gi: A type of Jiu Jitsu that is practiced without the traditional Gi.

North-south position: A type of position that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their arm with your legs and then using your hands to choke them.

North South Choke: A type of submission hold that is applied from the north-south position. It involves trapping their head with your arm and then choking them.

Nutella jiu jitsu: A humorous term for the in-depth study and learning of jiu jitsu.

O

O Goshi: A type of throw that is used to take the opponent down to the ground. It involves grabbing their leg and sweeping it out from under them.

O Soto Gari: A type of throw that is used to take the opponent down to the ground. It involves grabbing their leg and sweeping it out from under them.

Old school sweep: A type of sweep that is used to take the opponent down to the ground. It involves grabbing their legs and then sweeping them over your head.

Omoplata: A type of submission that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their arm with your legs and then using your hands to choke them.

Open Guard: A type of guard that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves using your legs to control their movement and prevent them from passing.

Oss: A term used by BJJ practitioners to say “good job” or “well done.”

Ouchi gari: A type of throw that is used to take the opponent down to the ground. It involves grabbing their leg and sweeping it out from under them.

Overhook: A type of grip that is used to control the opponent. It involves grabbing their arm and then placing your other hand on their hip.

P

Paper cutter: A type of submission hold that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their head with your legs and then choking them with your arms.

Passing the Guard: A technique that is used to move from the guard position to a more dominant position. It involves controlling their legs with your own and then maneuvering around them until you are in a better position.

Pearl weave: The type of weave used in BJJ Gi’s. It is highly durable, flexible, and breathable.

Pendulum Sweep: A type of sweep that is used to take the opponent down to the ground. It involves grabbing their legs and then sweeping them over your head.

Peruvian necktie: A type of submission hold that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their head with your legs and then choking them with your arms.

Pinch grip tie: A type of grip that is used to control the opponent. It involves grabbing their collar and then securing it with your pinky and thumb.

Porrada: A term used to describe MMA training sessions that are focused on sparring and competition.

Post: A type of grip that is used to control the opponent. It involves grabbing their arm and then placing your other hand on their hip.

Posture: The physical stance that a fighter assumes during MMA training sessions. It involves keeping your back straight and your chest up to protect against takedowns and attacks.

Pulling Guard: A technique that is used to transition from the standing position to the guard position. It involves grabbing the opponent’s legs and then pulling them down to the ground.

Pummel: A type of grip that is used to control the opponent. It involves grabbing their collar and then securing it with your pinky and thumb.

Q

Quarter guard: A type of guard that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves using your legs to control their movement and prevent them from passing.

Queda de Mão: A term used by BJJ practitioners to describe the transition from the guard position to a more dominant position.

R

Rear Body Lock: A type of submission hold that is applied from the back mount position. It involves trapping their arms with your legs and then choking them.

Rear mount: A dangerous position that is used to apply submission holds or strikes. It involves being behind the opponent and holding them down with your arms and legs.

Rear naked choke: A type of submission hold that is applied from the back mount position. It involves trapping their arms with your legs and then choking them.

Red belt: The highest rank in BJJ. It is awarded to the top competitors that are able to demonstrate a high level of skill and technical proficiency.

Reversal: A move that is used to transition from a weaker position to a stronger position. It involves using your opponent’s momentum against them to take them down or catch them in a submission hold.

Reverse de la Riva: A type of guard that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves using your legs to control their movement and prevent them from passing.

Ringworm: A contagious skin infection that is commonly spread in gym environments. It can be prevented by showering immediately after training sessions, and not sharing equipment with other individuals.

Rolling: A type of sparring that is used in MMA training. It involves two fighters competing against each other for points and dominance.

Rubber guard: A type of guard that is used to counter the opponent’s takedown attempts. It uses flexibility and a strong base to keep them at bay, making it difficult for them to pass.

S

Sambo: A Russian martial art that is similar to Judo and Wrestling. It focuses on throws and takedowns, and has been used by the military for close combat situations.

Sandbagging: A term used to describe the act of purposely losing a fight in order to gain an advantage in the next one.

Scarf hold: A type of submission hold that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their head with your legs and then choking them with your arms.

Scissor sweep: A type of sweep that is used to transition from the guard position to a dominant position. It involves crossing your feet and then pushing forward with your hips to sweep the opponent off their feet.

Seatbelt: A type of control that is used to limit the opponent’s movement. It involves latching onto their arm and then pulling it across your body to restrict their mobility.

Seoi Nage: A type of throw that is used when the opponent shoots in for a takedown. It involves dropping down to your hip and then lifting them over your shoulder to take them off their feet.

Shark tank: A term used to describe a training environment that is filled with highly skilled competitors. If you are new to BJJ, it is advised not to train in these types of environments as you will likely get crushed.

Shoulder lock: A type of submission hold that is applied from the guard position.

Shrimp: A move that is used to transition from the guard position to a dominant position. It involves lifting your hips up and then extending one leg back at a time to create space.

Side control: A dominant position that is achieved by pinning the opponent on their side. It involves holding them down with your body weight and preventing them from escaping.

Single leg takedown: A type of takedown that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves grabbing one of their legs and then taking them down to the ground.

Single leg x-guard: A type of guard that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves using one of your legs to control their movement and prevent them from passing.

Sode guruma jime: A type of chokehold that is applied from the mount position. It involves trapping their arm with your legs and then choking them with your hand.

Spider guard: A type of guard that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves using your legs to control their movement and prevent them from passing.

Spine Lock: A type of submission that is applied from the top position. It involves using your legs to hyperextend their spine, forcing them to tap out or risk serious damage.

Squid guard: A type of guard that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves using your legs to control their movement and prevent them from passing.

Staph: A type of bacteria that can cause skin infections. It is commonly found in gyms and can be prevented by showering immediately after training sessions.

Straight ankle locks: A type of submission hold that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their foot with your legs and then hyperextending their ankle to force them to tap out.

Submission: A type of move that is used to force an opponent to tap out and concede defeat. This can be achieved by using strikes, joint locks, or chokes.

Sumi Gaeshi: A type of throw that is used when the opponent grabs your Gi. It involves using their grip to spin them around and then taking them down to the ground.

Suplex: A type of throw that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves lifting them up and then slamming them down to the ground.

Sweep: A type of move that is used to move from a defensive position to a dominant one. It involves using force and leverage to throw the opponent off their feet.

T

Tai Otoshi: A type of throw that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves dropping down to your hip and then lifting them over your shoulder to take them off their feet.

Takedown: A type of move that is used to take the opponent off their feet. This can be achieved with a variety of techniques such as hip tosses, throws, or takedowns.

Tani Otoshi: A type of throw that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves dropping down to your hip and then lifting them over your shoulder to take them off their feet.

Tap out: A type of move that is used to concede defeat. It involves tapping the ground or your opponent to signal that you give up.

The Gracies: A Brazilian family that is considered to be the founders of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

The Kodokan: The main headquarters for Judo. It is located in Tokyo and is run by the International Judo Federation.

Toe holds: A type of submission that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their foot with your legs and then putting pressure on their toes to force them to tap out.

Tomoe Nage: A type of throw that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves grabbing their arm and then spinning around to take them down to the ground.

Toreando pass: A type of pass that is used when the opponent is laying in their guard. It involves pushing their legs to one side and then stepping over to pass to the other side.

Triangle Choke: A type of submission that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their arm with your legs and then choking them with your other arm.

Turtle: A position that is used when the opponent is on top. It involves pulling your knees to your chest and tucking your head down to protect yourself.

Twister: A type of submission that is applied from the top position. It involves using your body to twist their neck and force them to tap out.

U

UAEJJF: The United Arab Emirates Jiu Jitsu Federation.

Uchi Mata: A type of throw that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves dropping down to your hip and then lifting them over your shoulder to take them off their feet.

Uke: The person who is receiving the technique in training.

Uki Goshi: A type of throw that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves dropping down to your hip and then lifting them over your shoulder to take them off their feet.

Underhook: A type of position that is used when the opponent is laying in their guard. It involves placing your arm under theirs and then using leverage to open up their guard.

V

Von Flue Choke: A type of submission that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their arm with your legs and then choking them with your other arm.

W

Waiter/Muscle sweep: A type of sweep that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves pulling their arm to get them off balance and then sweeping them with your other leg.

Worm guard: A type of guard that is used when the opponent is on top. It involves pulling your legs in to make yourself into a ball and then turning over to sweep them.

Wrist Lock: A type of submission that is applied from the guard position. It involves trapping their arm with your legs and then using leverage to force them to tap out.

X

X-guard: A type of guard that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves trapping one of their legs with your feet and then using leverage to take them off balance.

Y

Yoko Sumi Gaeshi: A type of throw that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves grabbing their arm and then spinning around to take them down to the ground.

Z

Z-guard: A type of guard that is used when the opponent is standing. It involves trapping one of their legs with your feet and then using leverage to take them off balance.

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