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BASIC JIU JITSU SUBMISSIONS
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BASIC JIU JITSU SUBMISSIONS

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become the premier combat sport in the United States of America. The highly diverse art of grappling incorporates dynamic movements, and a strategic mindset. There are many jiu jitsu submissions that can be learnt by a practitioner with some of them extremely basic, and others much more technically advanced.

What this article covers:

The basic submissions are typically learnt by beginners at the start of their journey. This is not just because new students will struggle with more advanced submissions, but all students need to learn all of the fundamental principles involved with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Luta Livre expert Nicolas Renier has joined forces with BJJFanatics.com to bring you BASIC SUBMISSIONS that you need for your BJJ game!

jiu jitsu basic submissions

Because a beginner has very little experience with training, or competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, they tend to struggle with the overall concept of grappling. It is extremely important for these students to build a strong foundation of guard passing, sweeping, escaping positions, positional control, concepts in posture, understanding distance management, and guard principles, before they learn too many submissions. The art is extremely comprehensive, with a lot of avenues to learn, and students should only be attempting basic maneuvers until they can become more systematic with many of their structures.

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POSITION BEFORE SUBMISSION

Using basic submissions as a beginner to the art, is more than just latching on to a choke, or a joint lock, and reefing it until their opponent taps. This mentality will often lead to an opponent easily escaping the position, and then advancing into a more dominant position. The best way to secure any type of submission is to secure a good position. This means that a submission will only work once a student has gained a significant control of their opponent's limb, or neck before a submission can be applied. For instance to secure an arm bar a student must have a comprehensive hold of the limb between their thighs, and this is the only way that the elbow can be hyperextended without the opponent escaping the lock. Students may often see the Brazilian contingent at a BJJ competition screaming out "position, position", and this means they are telling their student to secure the position first, before recklessly applying a submission. This is a really important concept that all students, even higher level ones must apply to their submission attack.

DO HIGHER LEVEL ATHLETES USE BASIC SUBMISSIONS 

Athletes that have become purple belt and above, are commonly known to use more advanced submission skills like heel hooks from the leg entanglement game, or berimbolos into back takes to secure rear naked chokes, or even intricate setups from positions like the rubber guard to secure modified triangles, or arm locks. The highest percentage submissions in bjj are not always considered as the more advanced ones, as a submission that is easy to do is more effective that a more complicated one. Even though higher level athletes do use more advanced submissions, they still like to use the basic ones too. 

What is so great about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is that even the most basic submission, or position will never die. Submissions like the americana, the basic arm bar, the kimura, or a guillotine which is basically a front headlock, are all extremely basic submissions to learn, and are still highly effective against the world's best athletes. What makes a move effective is not the calibre of its difficulty, it is all in how a student can outthink, and outmaneuver their opponent. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a game of strategy, which is extremely similar to chess, meaning that even the pawn can take out the king, it just takes more intricate setups to make sure that all of the other practitioners' pieces are safe. This means that setting up an opponent into a basic submission, can objectively be achieved.

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BASIC SUBMISSIONS FROM THE GUARD

One of the most iconic submissions from the guard is the guillotine choke. This submission has withstood the test of time, as it is still commonly used in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Mixed Martial Arts. Even though the guillotine is a basic submission, it is still one of the most dangerous bjj submission moves that a practitioner can use. The guillotine can be secured from a tight closed guard, the open guard, or even a standing position. A beginner student is more likely to attempt this from the closed guard, as most new students are too fearful to open their guard for fear of having it passed. A guillotine is basically a front headlock, and involves a student to wrap their arm over the top of an opponent's neck, and threading their forearm underneath the neck, pulling the crook of their elbow tight against the side of their opponent's neck. From here they will connect their hands together, as they pull upwards with their forearm, while trapping the back of the neck with their chest, and extending their opponent's waist with their legs. 

The arm bar from guard is another extremely basic submission that is taught to a beginner student at the start of their journey. It is important to understand the mechanics of an arm bar, and how to isolate the arm from the guard. This is important because most practitioners will use their hands to try and pass the guard, this means that a common mistake from a passing athlete is to place their hands in arm bar territory. Students from the guard must take advantage of an arm put in the wrong place, by securing the wrist, and the tricep and keeping the arm trapped close to their chest. The athlete will then step up with their same side leg on the hip, as they cut their other leg across the back of her their opponent's shoulder on a forty five degree angle, which helps them angle their hips out. From here they have created a good angle to then move their foot off of the hip, and thread it in front of their opponent's face, before clamping down with their legs and extending their hips. This will create a hyperextension of the elbow, and a tight arm bar to get an easy tap.

The kimura from the guard is another iconic submission that is easy to execute. What is so good about the kimura is that it doubles up as a sweep, and submission combo. Athletes can set up the kimura sweep, and as their opponent uses their posture to keep their weight down, they can use the momentum to push the kimura submission up behind their back. To secure the kimura position the athlete will initiate a wrist grip, and push it to the mat, as they reach up over the back of their opponent's elbow. From here they will thread their arm through the back of the elbow, and on to their own wrist creating a figure four lock. From here they can switch their foot to a higher position on the back, as it angles to a forty five degree position. With the momentum of this movement the athlete will push the wrist of their opponent up towards the middle of their back. This will create a shoulder lock, which is extremely uncomfortable, and is one of the more basic submissions to learn.

The triangle from the guard is another basic submission that is taught to beginners. This submission is still used by world class athletes, and is in the top three highest used submission finishes of all time. There are many different ways to secure a triangle submission, as the innovation of this position, and the finish have become extremely versatile. A basic way to execute a triangle choke is by securing two wrist grips. From here the athlete will push their opponent's left arm into their abdomen, while keeping their right arm trapped on the athlete's chest. The athlete will now step up onto their opponent's right hip with their left leg, as they use it as a launch pad to thrust their right leg over the shoulder, and neck of their opponent. Now the athlete can lock their feet together into the mix, as they use their left hand on their right shin, pulling down hard and locking a triangle with their left leg over their right foot. They can also create more of a perpendicular angle by scooping under the far leg of their opponent to apply the squeeze to the neck.

BASIC SUBMISSIONS FROM THE THE TOP GAME

The arm bar from the mount position is an extremely basic maneuver that all students learn at the start of their training. To learn the correct movement of this submission athletes will place two hands on the chest of their training partners, as they look to spin their body perpendicular to their opponent. This is a drill that can be done to mimic the correct movement needed for one of the easiest jiu jitsu submissions from the mount position. To secure the arm bar the athlete will begin to shift their knee up higher behind the back of their opponent's shoulder, as they secure a grip under the elbow of their opponent's arm. At the same time they will shift their other leg, as they begin to form a modified s-mount position from the side. Once the athlete has the arm secured, and their hips are beginning to switch perpendicular, they can use their other leg to swing over the face of their opponent, as they sit back bringing their knees close to the opposite side of their opponent's body. From here they can use two hands on their opponent's wrist, making sure their thumb is pointing upwards, as they hyperextend the elbow. An important tip to remember is once the athlete is in a position to swing the leg over the head, they can use their other hand to push the head away, or post off of the mat.

Another extremely basic submission maneuver is the americana, and this submission can be secured from the mount position, or the side control position. From the side control position the athlete will have a tight cross face, while their other arm is under hooking the far side arm of their opponent. From here the athlete will release the cross face, reaching over and trapping the far side of their opponent's head. The next step is to secure a wrist grip and feed it to the previous hand that was cross facing, before using their other hand to thread around the back of their opponents elbow, and onto their own wrist, creating a figure four grip. From here the natural defense is for an opponent to straighten their arm, so the athlete must straight away pull the elbow towards the ribs of their opponent, and look to push their wrist back down towards the mat. This will create an extreme pressure in the shoulder, and even the elbow of the opponent.

The head and arm choke, or the arm triangle is another highly successful submission from the top game. This can be set up from side control, or the mount, and is one of those submissions that can be executed by beginners, or advanced practitioners. Trapping an opponent from the mount involves pushing an elbow high up towards the head, and using the other hand to wrap around the neck, as they trap the tricep with their head. This will create a grip where they can jump out of the mount, and apply the squeeze. Trapping this choke from side control involves setting up a gift wrap, where the opponent's arm will be trapped around their own neck. From here the athlete can simply slip their hand in behind the neck, connect their hands together, and trap the back of the tricep to apply the choke. The mechanics of this choke is really simple, as all they involve is one arm wrapped around the neck of an opponent, with an arm trapped in behind the head of the athlete. Hands are usually linked together in an s-grip, or a gable grip, depending on which feels more comfortable, and as the athlete lowers their body to the mat they will apply significant pressure to the neck of the opponent. This is a brutal choke that can easily put an opponent to sleep.

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BASIC SUBMISSIONS FROM THE TRANSITION

Using transitions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is what separates good practitioners from the elite. A fast transition will see an opponent move from a guard passing position into a submission attempt. This is crucial to the success of an athlete, as all transitions must be practiced comprehensively. There are many different types of submissions that can be accessed during a transitional period like an arm bar, a heel hook, or a bjj banana split.  Some of the more basic ones can be easily accessed by beginners of the art. A straight foot lock is one of those submissions which can be executed when an athlete attempts to pass the guard. As they secure a nice tight grip around the ankle, they will use this to try and pass, by moving the legs from side to side. Once the opponent tries to frame, and defend the pass, the athlete can slip one knee up into an ashi garami position with their other leg wrapped around the outside of the hip, as they lower themself down into a seated position. From here they have already secured an achilles grip, as they can fall down to their side, placing their head down to the mat, and using the whole extension of their core to wrench the ankle backwards. This is an easy submission to secure, and finish, but the downside to this submission is that it can be relatively easy to defend.

Luta Livre expert Nicolas Renier has joined forces with BJJFanatics.com to bring you BASIC SUBMISSIONS that you need for your BJJ game!

beginner bjj submissions

Quite often athletes will look to transition into back takes from various positions. This has become one of the staples of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as high level athletes use the berimbolo, and beginner students will basically follow their under hook into taking the back. This type of transition is perfect for setting up the most recognised submission in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Mixed Martial Arts history. The rear naked choke is highly effective, and is one of the hardest submissions to defend. Although early prevention methods can make this choke easy to defend, but once an athlete has the choke sunk in deep it becomes next to impossible to defend. The mechanics of this choke are extremely easy, as all an athlete needs to do is sneak one of their arms underneath the chin of their opponent, connect their hands together behind the back, and use the force to pull back into the neck. This is a military style of choke that can be extremely brutal, and fast to finish. Another way to finish from this position is for the athlete to thread underneath the neck, and slip their hand onto their own bicep, as they cup the back of the head with their other hand, this becomes a rear naked choke, which is even more deadly and harder to escape from.

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