The First 3 Submissions You Should Master In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

One of the best things about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can also be one of the most disruptive to beginners, there is so much to learn.

By narrowing down on your focus and attempting to master these three submissions, you will quickly advance your learning and become dangerous from a number of basic positions.

  • Armbar
  • Triangle choke
  • Rear naked choke

These three submissions feature multiple setups from a wide range of positions. They also help you understand fundamental concepts of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that can be applied to other submissions that you will learn in the future. They are also vitally important for self-defense, particularly the rear naked choke.

Today, Evolve Daily brings you The First 3 Submissions You Should Master in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


The armbar submission should be one of the very first submissions that you attempt to master in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

While the armbar is not the most exciting submission in the world of BJJ, it is remarkably effective. One of the primary reasons why the armbar should be mastered early is that it has incredible versatility. The submission can be attempted from a number of different positions and therefore allows you to attack (and defend) yourself when in guard, mount, or even side control.

The best reason to learn the armbar, however, is that it is an excellent way to begin to understand the concept of submissions.

Firstly, you will begin to understand the importance of control. Without control of your opponent, the armbar submission is near impossible; it requires an appreciation of proper technique and positioning. Additionally, you will begin to understand the purpose of setting up your submission. It’s rare to just find yourself in a position to finish an armbar. Getting to the finishing position, therefore, requires careful and calculated transitions and movements.

The two armbar variants that should be encouraged initially are the armbar from guard and the armbar from mount.

The armbar from guard is likely to be one of the first submissions that you drill in BJJ class. This isn’t because it is relatively easy compared to any other submission, but rather it is important, effective, and as a result, it is very popular. By learning the armbar from guard, you will simultaneously improve your control in the position and defend against transitions from an opponent.

Executing the armbar from mount is also important for people of all experience and capabilities. There is no worse feeling than working to full mount and then not being able to submit your opponent from this dominant position. The knowledge of how to setup and finish an armbar from mount will remain with you for the rest of your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu years.

When you have well and truly mastered the submission, you can also begin to setup the attack from other positions including back and side control. Attacking with the armbar from these two positions is often surprising and is a good variant from the traditional submissions from these positions.


Triangle Choke

The triangle choke is another incredibly effective submission that you should attempt to master first.

When you have mastered the triangle choke, it remains forever useful. The submission allows you to attack while in guard, or from other advanced setups. Learning this submission also helps you with understanding how to appropriately defend the same attack.

One of the greatest reasons to master the triangle choke, however, is because it allows you to gain an understanding of how chokes work. After all, the triangle choke does look a little strange at first.

By properly understanding the concept of a triangle choke, you can then apply this same knowledge to finishing other ‘triangle’ type chokes such as the arm-triangle or Ezekiel choke.

Becoming efficient with the triangle choke allows you to properly attack when playing guard. You can quickly punish an opponent for making the mistake of leaving one arm in between your legs, rather than keeping two inside or two outside.

Your understanding of this concept will also assist you when attacking your opponent when you are in their full guard. You will quickly become increasingly aware of the position of your hands and arms and reduce the number of submissions that you will eventually be caught in.

When it comes to finishing the triangle choke, Ryan Hall best teaches some of the basic concepts in the video above.

Essentially, the objective of a triangle choke is to apply lateral pressure to the carotid arteries to finish the submission. To do this in the most effective way, Hall encourages finishing the submission from a perpendicular angle rather than staying square in front of your opponent. From this angle, you can use the major muscle groups of your legs including your hamstrings and quadriceps to apply force using powerful movements.

The knowledge that is gained through mastery of the triangle choke extends far and beyond just this submission alone.


Rear naked choke

The rear naked choke is another submission that should be mastered early in your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey.

Taking the back of an opponent is one of the most advantageous positions in all of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so it is crucially important to understand how to correctly apply the rear naked choke and finish your opponent once you have achieved the position.

One advantage of mastering the rear naked choke is that this is a submission that can be easily applied in a self-defense situation. Of course, an armbar and a triangle choke are also valid options if you are ever required to defend yourself, but the rear naked choke is extremely powerful and a great way to stop a person who is bigger and stronger than you.

Most importantly, however, and much like the other submissions noted above, the rear naked choke submission is only viable when you have secured excellent control of your opponent. Without proper control, it is difficult (if not impossible) to actually finish the submission.

You will find that to master the rear naked choke, you will also become superb at controlling your opponent when you have taken their back.


So if you are starting BJJ and are overwhelmed by all the techniques available to you, focusing on mastering these 3 submissions first will provide you with a good foundation to build from.

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