The most effective submission in BJJ

Rickson Gracie demonstrating the rear naked choke

There are many different submissions in BJJ. Some are more effective than others. If our goal is to submit our opponents, then it makes sense to focus more of our training time on the most effective submissions.

In BJJ, we get very good at almost breaking our opponent’s joints. We take the joint to the limit of its normal range of movement and then our opponent concedes the submission. We don’t actually break the joint.

An armbar, kimura or heel hook is devastating only in theory because we never follow through to the end of the submission hold. We need practice to gain competence in a skill, yet we can’t gain that practice in a friendly gym.

A successful joint attack involves moving the joint to its limit of movement and then moving it beyond that limit. We regularly practice taking the joint to its limit of movement, but we don’t have experience in applying the force and movement necessary to move it beyond.

Chokes and strangulations differ to joint attacks, in that they can be trained in a way that gives us confidence we can complete the submission. A successful strangle involves a squeeze, a hold and then a wait. Our opponent concedes the submission during the wait portion. Completing the submission only involves maintaining the hold and waiting longer. No additional force or movement is required, only endurance. This gives us more confidence that we can take a strangle or choke to completion than we can a joint attack.

The most effective submissions are those that we have practiced to completion. We can’t take submissions to completion in the gym as we need to respect the health of our training partners. So the most effective submissions are the ones that we can practice the closest to completion, namely chokes and strangles.

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