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JIU JITSU HOLDS
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JIU JITSU HOLDS

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly intuitive form of Martial Art, which involves anticipating an opponent's actions, and reactions. The art form starts from the standing position, as two competitors battle for grips, with the intention of securing takedown maneuvers.

What this article covers:

Once the fight hits the mats the battle becomes even more intense, as both competitors will utilise guard principles, and guard passing techniques to set up control positions like the bjj mount, the side control position, and the back control position. Using subtle movements, and heavy pressure, or sweeping techniques from the guard, all lead towards initiating submission techniques.

World Championship athlete Josh Barnett joins forces with BJJFanatics.com to share his favorite grappling and catch wrestling holds!

jiu jitsu holds

There is an extensive range of different submissions that make up the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu arsenal, with submissions that can be achieved from all control positions. Most commonly an athlete will choose to major in executing guard principles, or top game control. Some athletes will have a good all round game style, and gaining the ability to utilise all of the aspects of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is extremely important. Learning different positional, and submission holds is crucial to succeeding in a Jiu Jitsu fight, and all athletes will train extensively in all facets of their game style. 

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THE IMPORTANCE OF POSITIONAL CONTROL 

Controlling an opponent is one of the fundamental concepts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. All athletes are taught how to neutralise their opponent, and controlling positions like the mount, back control, the knee on belly, and the bjj side control position are instrumental in defeating an opponent. The only way to achieve a submission win is to isolate a limb, or the neck of an opponent, and this means the necessity to control the position becomes vital. Subduing an opponent will not only help an athlete to set up various submissions, but it can stifle the opponent too. This means an athlete will use less energy, compared to a controlled opponent, who will need to use more muscular strength, and cardiovascular energy to escape from certain positions. Not all fights will end with a submission finish, and this is due to the resilience that most athletes possess. In these instances winning the positional battle means they will score points, and ultimately win the match.

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HIGH PERCENTAGE POSITIONAL HOLDS

There are many effective positions that a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner can utilise. The double under hooks positions, which is also known as a body lock position is a dominant way to control an opponent. This position is predominantly used in the stand up battle, and when secured it can help an athlete utilise high calibre takedown maneuvers like the double leg takedown, the valley drop, and other body lock style of takedowns. Securing a body lock can also prove instrumental in circling towards an opponent's back, where there are more takedown maneuvers, and avenues to set up chokes.

The cross face is another powerful control position that is used to keep an opponent on their back. The cross face is when an athlete uses their forearm underneath their opponent's neck, and uses their shoulder to crush their face, or keep it turning away from their body. This powerful tool is coupled with either a far side under hook, or a near side hip block, to form a side control position. This form of control is one of the highest percentage positional holds in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and utilising the cross face will neutralise an opponent, and can also help an athlete to set up submission attacks.

The back control position is arguably the most dominant control position within the game. Taking an opponent's back is a highly strategic way to neutralise them, and because they cannot see what's coming, it becomes increasingly hard to defend choke holds. Usually the back control position consists of an athlete securing two hooks in their opponent's groin, and a seat belt control, which is one arm around the neck with the other arm underneath the armpit, with both hands linked together in a cuff grip, or a gable grip. Athletes can also choose to use the body triangle instead of the hooks, and this is when they slide their shin across their opponent's belly, and use their other leg to cinch a triangle with their legs. The back control position can be extremely deadly, as athletes will commonly look for this control position in the modern day of grappling.

The closed guard is another highly effective positional hold that can be extremely annoying for an opponent to escape from. An athlete that has the ability to keep their opponent locked into a tight closed guard, will often frustrate their opponent, which can lead to a range of mistakes. Trying to break open a guard, and stay balanced in the process can be difficult for an opponent. This means that a guard player can play safe, and use this tactic to their personal advantage. Of course there is always a chance that the athlete will lose points for stalling in a competition match, but inevitably utilising a tight guard can be crucial in calculating a way to lure their opponent into different sweep, or submission attacks.

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THE MOST BASIC SUBMISSION HOLDS

One of the most basic submission holds taught in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the americana. This is a bent arm lock that is predominantly secured from the mount, and the side control position. The mechanics of this submission are simple, they involve securing a wrist grip, and threading the opposite arm around the back of the elbow, and then securing a grip on their own wrist. To finish this submission the athlete will pull the locking mechanism into their opponent's ribcage, before rotating the wrist towards the mat. This rotational movement will cause significant pressure through the shoulder joint. This basic submission is taught to beginners of the art, but can still be effective against higher level athletes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

The head and arm triangle is one of the more basic submission holds taught to a beginner. Even though this is a basic maneuver, it can still be highly successful against even high level opponents. The head and arm triangle is usually secured from the mount, but can also be achieved from side control, and the guard. Usually this submission move consists of an athlete isolating an arm, and pushing it up high, before trapping the back of the tricep with the athlete's head, as they thread their other hand around their neck. From here they will connect their hands together with an s grip, as they dismount and squeeze on the choke, as they lower their body to the mat. Once an opponent is caught deep in a head and arm triangle it can be extremely difficult to escape from, as the opponent may wind up napping if they do not tap in time. 

Another basic submission to learn, but is extremely effective is the guillotine choke. This choke is basically a front headlock, which can be achieved from the standing position, the guard, and the mount. To secure the guillotine the athlete will look to wrap their arm around their opponent's head from the closed guard. From here it is important to shoot their hips backwards a little, so they have a better leverage on the choke. Now the athlete will connect their hands in a seatbelt grip, or a cuff grip, as they look to close off the space in between their elbow, and their opponent's neck. To finish the choke the athlete will simply pull up with their forearm, pushing the blade of the wrist bone into the trachea.

The cross collar choke may seem like a more advanced submission hold, but it is taught as a basic choke to beginners. Securing this choke can happen from the guard, but more commonly from the mount, or the knee on belly position. The athlete will set up a cross collar grip by inserting four fingers inside of the collar with one thumb out. From here they will use their other hand to secure a one thumb in, and four fingers out grip on the opposite collar, or just secure a pistol grip on the opposite shoulder. To finish this submission the athlete will squeeze the throat, by extending their elbows downwards toward the mat, in a scissoring motion. This will create a tight Gi choke that is critically hard to defend, once the athlete has caught their opponent deep in the choke.

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THE HIGHEST PERCENTAGE SUBMISSION HOLDS

The rear naked choke is by far the most high percentage submission ever to be used in professional grappling. It tops the list of most utilised submissions in the IBJJF, and it's no wonder, as the formidable choke from the back can be extremely brutal. Nowadays the modern day athlete will use all the tricks in the book like the berimbolo, and the crab ride to secure the back control position. The rear naked choke can be as simple as sliding a forearm underneath the neck, and cupping the bicep of their other hand, and then leveraging that forearm around the back of their opponent's neck. From the back control position an athlete can utilise other chokes like the military choke, the bow and arrow choke, the ezekiel choke, and many other Gi choke variations.

The arm bar is another extremely versatile submission, as it can be secured from a number of different positions. The main objective of the arm bar is to isolate the arm, above the elbow joint with an athlete's legs, and hyperextend the elbow joint by using their hands to secure the wrist, and their hips to extend outwards. The arm bar can be achieved from every form of guard, from the mount, from the side control position, and even from the back control position. Nowadays the modern athlete has intricate arm bar set ups that include using inversion techniques, which is when an athlete attacks their opponent from an upside down position. The arm bar is one of the main weapons of choice for many world class athletes, and with the highly diverse nature of arm bar set ups, this submission will keep on innovating. 

The triangle is another extremely successful submission that is used by a wide range of world class athletes. The triangle can also be utilised from a diverse range of control positions like the mount, and side control position, but the most common position to see a triangle is from the guard. There are multiple ways to set up the triangle, with one of the most common ways is for an athlete to secure two wrist grips, before pinning one of the wrists to their own abdomen, and pushing the other wrist into their opponent's abdomen. From here the athlete will open their guard, and slide both of their hooks onto their opponent's hips, as they look to shoot their leg over the shoulder, and connect with their other leg into a position called the mix. Now the athlete can pull their opponent's arm across their throat, as they pull their shin down across the back of their opponent's neck. This will allow the athlete to lock on a triangle around their opponent's neck, as they squeeze for the submission finish. 

The kimura is another high percentage submission that can be executed from the guard, the mount, and the side control position. From the guard, it can be as easy as securing a wrist grip, and pushing it to the mat. From here the athlete will reach around the back of the elbow, and thread their arm through, securing a grip on their own wrist. Once the athlete has this position, they can switch the angle of their hips, and move their leg higher across their opponent's back. To finish the arm lock they will simply push the wrist up behind their opponent's back. The kimura is one of the most iconic, and battle tested submission holds, and was made famous by Masahiko Kimura after he broke Helio Gracie's arm with the kimura submission. 

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THE MOST DANGEROUS SUBMISSION HOLDS

One of the most dangerous submission maneuvers, and has become extremely popular in the No Gi ADCC format, is the heel hook. Even though this submission can be executed systematically in a safe manner, the danger that this submission presents to the ligaments in the knee can be catastrophic. The mechanics of the heel hook is designed to twist the heel away from the knee, while the leg is being isolated, and this can cause significant damage to the anterior cruciate ligament, and other important ligaments in the knee joint. A big reason why this submission is so dangerous, is because most high level athletes will not tap, instead opting to turn out of this dangerous lock. Spinning out of a heel hook without using any proper escape technique, makes this submission one of the most dangerous of all.

Heel hooks are not the only dangerous leg submission, as most leg locks are extremely dangerous. The hyperextension of the knee joint in a knee bar can be deadly, as this can commonly cause injuries to the ACL and the PCL, or even the tibiofibular joint, and the patella itself. Toe holds are another dangerous leg lock, and involves using leverage to bend the toes towards the heel bone. The dangers of this submission can cause mild to severe lateral ankle sprains, as well as damage to the cuboid bone. Another leg submission that can be debilitating is the calf slicer, and the misconception that this is only a pain submission is completely untrue. The calf slicer is a compression lock that can cause significant damage to the calf muscle, as well as severe injury to the knee joint.

World Championship athlete Josh Barnett joins forces with BJJFanatics.com to share his favorite grappling and catch wrestling holds!

jiu jitsu move names

 The one arm mounted guillotine is another extremely dangerous submission move, and due to its dangerous nature, it is illegal in most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu organisations. This move can still be used in the ADCC, and in the UFC, and because of the exposure it gives to the cervical spine it can be extremely dangerous. The mechanic of this choke is the same as a traditional guillotine, but with one hand posted on the mat, and the way the head is pulled upwards creates a debilitating neck crank. The mounted guillotine has a similar functionality to the can opener, and this submission has an extensive amount of force, and is why it is one of the more dangerous submission maneuvers in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu arsenal. 

Dangerous submission holds in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are any chokes that put significant force into the trachea. The damage of a trachea choke can range from vocal cord issues, to fractures of the cartilage structures within the larynx, or the trachea. These types of fractures can lead to significant respiratory issues, and can even cause death. Other dangerous submissions include any type of neck cranks, like the twister, the crucifix neck crank, the can opener, or any twisting neck submissions. Neck cranks can be extremely menacing, and this is because of the danger they pose to the cervical spine, as this portion of the spine has seven bones that can easily fracture. This is why neck cranks are illegal in most forms of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition.  

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