Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that focuses on controlling an opponent using a variety of pins, and finishing the match by using submission holds. A submission is a technique that forces your opponent to give up (tapping) by using moves that may potentially cause harm. It is typically done by using attacks against the neck, arm, and leg. Today we’ll explore the 10 most effective submissions in BJJ.
Submissions And Ruleset
Before we discuss the actual submissions, we need to be very clear that the effectiveness and application of a submission can depend on the ruleset. For example, not all leglocks are allowed in colored belt competitions under the IBJJF guidelines.
Specific techniques like the heel hook were also banned in the IBJJF for decades regardless of rank. IBJJF released an update just last year, stating that competitors are now allowed to use heel hooks and reaping for the brown and black belt levels in no-gi competitions.
The application of techniques will also depend on the type of competition. An example of this is that gi tournaments will often have more gi-based strangles compared to submissions like the rear naked choke.
Now, let’s discuss the actual techniques with that out of the way.
1) Bow And Arrow Choke
The bow and arrow choke is one of the most powerful techniques you can do in gi competitions. It is characterized by using the opponent’s collar against them as you strangle from the top position. It is called the bow and arrow choke because you extend your body as you apply the submission, similar to how you load an arrow as you fire it from the bow. Watch the video demonstration by BJJ World Champion Teco Shinzato from the Evolve Fight Team on how to execute the bow and arrow choke.
2) Rear Naked Choke
The rear naked choke (RNC) is the highest percentage move you can do once you get the back. It is a technique where you wrap your arm around your opponent’s neck to restrict air and blood flow. In this video, BJJ World Champion Teco Shinzato from the Evolve Fight Team demonstrates the critical steps of the technique.
3) Triangle Choke
The triangle choke is the quintessential submission of BJJ. It is perhaps the best technique to demonstrate how a solid understanding of leverage can overcome size and strength. What makes the triangle choke especially dangerous is its versatility. BJJ black belt Almiro Barros from the Evolve Fight Team shows five effective triangle choke variations to control and submit your opponents.
4) Cross Choke
In this video, BJJ World Champion Teco Shinzato from the Evolve Fight Team demonstrate the cross collar choke from the mount. The cross choke is a favorite of multiple-time world champion Roger Gracie. It is a submission where you use the opponent’s collar against them by crossing your arms as you remove the slack on the gi, thereby restricting blood flow to the neck. This is a crushing submission when applied from the top position.
The armbar is an excellent submission that can be applied in both sport BJJ and MMA. The basic mechanics of the armbar is you isolate and hyperextend the arm beyond its range of motion by using your legs, hips, and arms. BJJ World Champion Teco Shinzato from the Evolve Fight Team demonstrates a key detail to keep your armbar as tight as possible.
In this video, BJJ Champion Fabio Da Mata demonstrates his approach to the basic kimura from half guard. The kimura is a bent joint lock that can be applied from almost any position. What makes the kimura a high percentage technique is its availability. You can snatch a kimura whenever you see the opponent overextend or post their arms on the mat. This is especially easy when they are inside your guard. Aside from its finishing potential, you can also use the kimura to work on sweeps and transitions.
7) Guillotine Choke
The guillotine choke is a technique where you use your arm to loop around the opponent’s neck. It is a nasty submission usually applied once your opponent turtles up. You can also do it from the front headlock position. There are many ways to do the guillotine choke. Watch as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion and ONE Superstar Leandro “Brodinho” Issa from the Evolve Fight Team demonstrates his approach on how to execute a basic guillotine choke,
8) Heel Hook
The heel hook is by far the strongest leg submission you can do in all of grappling. It is a technique that can undoubtedly cause damage if not addressed appropriately. It is, therefore, important to study and be mindful of its nuances. BJJ World Champion Bruno Pucci from the Evolve Fight Team explains the basics of the heel hook in the video.
9) Arm Triangle Choke
This video demonstration by BJJ World Champion Leandro “Brodinho” Issa from the Evolve Fight Team teaches how to execute the arm triangle choke from the turtle position. The arm triangle choke is a submission where you apply a choke with one of your opponent’s arms trapped inside. It is a move where you use their shoulder to restrict blood flow to the neck as you use your arm on the other side to apply pressure.
10) D’Arce Choke
Rener Gracie expertly explains the steps to the D’Arce choke in this video. The D’Arce choke is a submission that’s applied once the opponent is on the defensive. It is a powerful technique where you shoot your arm under theirs and lock it against the neck. Depending on your body position relative to theirs, the finish can either be a choke, or a combination of a choke and crank.
These techniques are guaranteed to push your game to the next level. These 10 submissions have been battle-tested in many world championship matches for decades. If you are looking to add new tricks to your toolbox, it is best to look at what the top athletes in the world use in competition.
Try these submissions with a non-resisting training partner. Focus on the primary entries, defenses, and variations of each technique and slowly add resistance as you become more proficient. Also, don’t forget to train both sides as you drill these submissions. Have fun and keep training!
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