How To Chain Your Attacks In BJJ

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is possibly one of the most technical martial arts in the world. It is a grappling style that focuses on catching your opponents in compromising positions to get the tap. The more experienced you become in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the more you understand one-move techniques becomes harder to pull off as everyone in the gym gets better.  It is always a good idea to learn a few two- or three-move combinations so that you’ll be able to compete with the upper belts. Today we’ll talk about how to use submission chains in BJJ.

What Are Chain Attacks In BJJ?

A chain attack can be defined as a series of offensive moves that have a logical sequence. The sequence is determined by body position in which you can immediately attack right after a technique.

Think of this as a punching combination in boxing where the combos have a thematic flow and can be pulled off smoothly with the right body mechanics.

It is important to understand that your combinations will depend not only on your body mechanics but also on your ability to execute the techniques well. This means that it is a good idea to learn an attack sequence based on your own game so that it would be easy for you to get to the position and apply the techniques.

Below are great examples of common chain attacks in BJJ:


1) Hip Bump And Kimura From Closed Guard

This is a classic combination and is one of the earliest ones you will learn in your BJJ training. The sequence is highly effective and is effective up to the black belt level. You work this combination from the closed guard. The best time to use this sequence is when your opponent is leaning back and is on the defensive.

Start by opening your closed guard and prop up by posting on your elbow, then your arm. Next, you loop your arm around your opponent’s elbow line. Drop your leg on the same side of the arm you are attacking, and raise your hip while turning to the side. This movement will create an off-balancing effect which, if done properly, will sweep your opponent over, giving you the mount position. This is a simple yet powerful sweep and can work at any level.

Naturally, your opponent will try to block the hip bump sweep the next time they see it. The typical response is to post an arm to the mat. This is the trigger for you to switch to the kimura. Make sure that you swivel your hip near the posted arm and isolate it using a figure 4 grip. You should be able to keep the arm trapped and work on completing the submission. Watch the detailed breakdown of the sequence from Professor Tom of The Grappling Academy in the video above.


2) Cross Choke And Armbar From Mount

Another timeless attacking chain is the cross choke to armbar combination. Watch as multiple-time world champion Roger Gracie demonstrates the setup to one of his main combinations in the video above. To start, try to get a deep collar grip to give the impression that you’d like to finish with the cross choke.

Next, you threaten to complete the choke by grabbing the opposite side collar. The usual response to this is your opponent will block towards the side of the head. You can then use this block to isolate the arm and transition to the armbar. This is a very useful sequence and is very hard to deal with.


3) Paper Cutter Choke To Shotgun Armbar

This is a very sneaky combination and is guaranteed to give you a few taps in the gym. Here is a video demonstration by Nick “Chewy” Albin on this technique. It starts off by gripping the nearside collar. You then threaten the paper cutter choke while tugging the collar on the other side. A good tip when doing the paper cutter choke is to use your weight to add pressure to the neck. You should be able to submit your opponent if you do these steps correctly.

Now the common counter to paper cutter choke is to grab the attacking arm and misdirect the pressure. This is now the best time for you to transition to a modified armbar. Some people refer to the modified armbar as the shotgun armbar because the arm position is similar to a person holding a firearm. The paper cutter choke and shotgun armbar are great techniques to add to your toolbox.


The Importance Of Drilling

You may have heard your coach say that “drillers make killers”. This is absolutely true when you want to master a series of techniques. These chain attacks are super effective, but they still require precise body mechanics for them to work as intended. It is recommended that you practice these sequences as much as possible. Start by drilling them with no resistance and slowly add it as you improve your technique. Try to focus on technique as much as you can. While being explosive is a nice attribute to have, technique is still king in BJJ.



These are just some examples of chain attacks available in BJJ. There are a lot more combinations out there, and it’s up to you to find the right attacks that will fit your personal style. Assess your game with the help of your coach and work on finding the best techniques that will help improve your game. As you go up the ranks, you’ll definitely appreciate these combinations as they are all battle-tested and have worked even in championship-level matches.

Please note that you can also chain your defensive maneuvers based on common attacking chains. Using this mindset can surely elevate your defense to greater heights as well. BJJ, at the end of the day, is all about timing and pattern recognition. Stay safe and happy training!


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