Falling for a submission is similar to a kiss of death for most, if not all BJJ practitioners. After all, a submission means you’ve lost to your opponent. The only way to prevent a submission from happening is through good defense – one of the most important aspects of BJJ that every practitioner should know.
Having superior defense in BJJ is probably one of the more distinctive qualities that distinguishes a beginner from an advanced student. Superior defense not only prevents you from getting submitted but also allows you to achieve an advantage over your opponent.
Do you want to take your BJJ skills to the next level? Evolve Daily gives you 5 Ways To Improve Your Defense For Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:
1) Stay focused.
Maintain constant focus and be aware of the danger signs that lead to a submission. You should always stay in the present and disregard any distractions around you. By making it all about you and your opponent, the only thing you have to think about is your game plan and how to execute it.
Tip: During sparring or specific training, pay attention to the way your opponent is moving. Is he going fast and hard or slow and steady? What are the techniques he’s using on you? Once you’ve identified exactly what your opponent is doing, this means that you were really concentrating on your spar!
2) Stay one step ahead of your opponent.
Everyone says that BJJ is the game of human chess. It’s true. Staying one step ahead means that you know what your opponent is about to do. You’re not just guessing or doing random techniques; you’re doing everything with a purpose.
Tip: Familiarize yourself with the details behind a submission. For example, an armbar from the closed guard can only be executed at an angle with your opponent close to you. If you know this, you’ll always square up with your opponent and maintain good posture throughout your match.
3) Practice losing.
Making mistakes can be the greatest teacher. What’s important is that we learn from them and not just ignore them because it wasn’t our best performance. By losing, we expose our weaknesses so we can work on them and make them our strengths instead.
Tip: Instead of always pulling off your winning moves, try the new techniques you’ve learned in class. Sure, you probably won’t win your first spar but by analyzing what went wrong and working on your mistakes, it will never happen again!
4) Break your opponent’s grips.
A person’s ability to grip has the power to determine whether or not they win a match. In fact, if you watch a lot of high-level black belt matches, breaking the grip is the first thing they do. Grips allow a person to either submit or control their opponents, which could be very dangerous if you are at the receiving end.
Tip: Copy your favorite black belt competitors and break grips immediately. Although some grips may be difficult to remove, you can always ask your instructor to advise you on different ways to break the grips.
5) Keep your limbs to yourself.
Whether you’re starting from top position or on your back, keeping your elbows and arms tight will prevent your opponent from submitting you. Submissions like the armbar, triangle, kimura, americana and omoplata require the isolation of one arm, so keeping your arms close to your body will definitely help!
Tip: Keep track of the following warning signs to avoid impending danger: any time your elbows leave your ribcage, someone grabbing your sleeves or your pant legs or even getting their hand inside your collar. The moment you feel threatened, remember to keep your arms elbows near your ribcage, relax, and think of your next move!
As with all martial arts, the key to success is constant practice and mindfulness of your actions. The more you think about what you’re doing, the better chances you’ll have of improving and preventing yourself from getting submitted!