There are innumerable variations of techniques in the art of BJJ. In some academy somewhere, someone is probably creating a new variation on a sweep at this very moment.
Yet not all moves are created equal. It can be useful to look at BJJ techniques in terms of a high percentage versus a low percentage success rate.
If we take a look at a sample of the submissions that ended fights in a single year in the UFC, we see a relatively small number of submissions that are effective at the highest levels of the sport.
There are many exotic submissions, but why do so few “basic” moves work?
These basic moves have become popular for the very reason they are high percentage. These moves have stood the test of time and proven effective with many different fighters at many different competitions.
In many of the submissions, success can be attributed to a few factors:
There is a leverage advantage where the stronger parts of the attacker’s body are matched against the weaker, more vulnerable parts of the opponent’s body. For example, in the guillotine choke, both arms of the attacker are matched against the neck of the opponent.
Many Different Entries
The high percentage move, by its nature, has many different entries for the attack and is therefore more difficult to completely defend.
The Opponent Can Be Controlled In The Position
You cannot effectively control your opponent in lower percentage moves. Instead, you have to rely on speed in order to snatch the position. The #1 submission, the rear naked choke, is from the powerful control position of the rear mount. This allows the attacker more time and opportunity to setup the attack and overcome the opponent’s defense.
A YouTube search can provide a long list of fancy, flashy submissions that may be cool, but are low percentage. The submission may only be effective if there is a large skill difference between the two fighters or is only available in rare, specific ground situations.
In you’re looking to put the odds of finishing a match in your favor, stick with the high percentage submissions.
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