Did it ever occur to you that the very same submission technique can be executed using very different — if not opposing — strategies?
Well, you can, and here are five ways to do it, using the straight armlock as an example.
1) Take advantage of your opponent’s unfamiliarity with the set-up
When you get mounted on a completely new student they will react according to pure survival instinct. They will attempt a colossal bench press and try to throw the top person off.
As anyone with more than a month of BJJ should know, extending your arms from the bottom of the mount is giving the top guy an early Christmas present. Enjoy these submissions when they are given because soon enough your training partner wised up and protects their arms.
2) Use big pressure and a leverage advantage
Have you ever been caught on the bottom and seen an armlock coming, but felt that there was nothing you could do to stop it? What is happening is that the top mount has a significant leverage advantage over the bottom person.
They have gravity and friction working in their favour and that magnifies the effectiveness of basic moves.
When they are correctly applying the combination of body weight and hips and legs muscle complexes against the comparatively weaker single arm of the bottom guy, even a solid technical defense may be overcome.
3) Try a sneaky set-up
I know some competitors develop secret, surprise moves when preparing for a competition. The opponent may be experienced, but may be caught by surprise by a sneaky setup.
Several years back I recall some top level guys like the Miyao brothers and innovator Keenan Cornelius were tapping opponents with straight armlocks from 50/50 guard. Every one knows the armlock but who was expecting that attack from 50/50 position?
The limitation of this strategy is that once your opponent has been caught, they will now know to defend and that same opportunity will no longer be there.
4) Use combinations
Boxers and Muay Thai fighters rarely attack with single, direct attacks. They utilize combinations that create openings for the technique they really want. The old 1 – 2 jab cross is a perfect example.
Advanced submission fighters also use this strategy. One can think of GOAT Roger Gracie using the most basic cross choke / arm lock attack combination to submit black belts at the World Championship level. Why is it so effective?
Because the guy on the bottom must divide his attention and defensive efforts between the two different threats. At some point, rapidly fatiguing, he “zigs when he should have zagged” and gets behind. TAP! There are classic attack combinations in BJJ that work on mats all over the planet.
5) Set traps
The mouse looks at the bait in the trap and thinks, “I’ll bet I can grab the cheese before the trap closes!”
So it is with a black belt showing an easy guard pass or escape route from the bottom. Too tempting to resist, the unsuspecting opponent tries to make a break for it only to fall into the carefully set trap. The ability to defend is diminished when you think that you are actually escaping or passing the guard. You see daylight and try to run through that hole and BOOM!
What is your favorite submission strategy?