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Three Ways to Improve Submission Defense

Three Ways to Improve Submission Defense

A Few Tips To Slow Down Your Opponents Submissions...

Since the goal of all Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners is to submit their opponents, it might be a good idea for all of us to also get really good at submission defense. There is a difference between not getting caught in submissions and actually defending the submission. Many grapplers associate these two elements and focus to heavily on not getting caught. Everyone gets caught eventually though.

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Because many grapplers are limited in time, it is difficult to set a certain period of time during the week to focus on submission defense. If you don’t, however, there is a price to pay. In this article, I wanted to share three quick and simple ideas for improving submission defense.


The first tip is to relax. This is something we all hear and tell new students. Why do we say it though? If someone gets caught in a submission and begins spazzing and freaks out but manages to escape, they will have not practiced submission defense during their mindless movements. When they roll with someone who is better at that submission, their spazziness will be limited in its efficacy. By relaxing during submissions, we can employ actual technical practice that can be utilized at even the highest levels.


The next tip is that in order to practice submission defense, you first have to get caught. I personally don’t like starting in submissions because it is not realistic. Rather, I allow myself to get caught so that I can practice the proper defense based on the depth of the submission. For example, the defense to a triangle that is not fully locked and cinched is very different that when it is and must be practiced separately. This idea is applicable to all submissions.

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Finally, in order to become a skilled submission defender, you must fully understand the bio-mechanics of the submission you are caught in. For example, if you know from practice that to execute a good toe hold, one must bend the leg at the knee to get the proper leverage for breaking, then it becomes obvious that by extending the leg straight, a toe hold can’t be finished. Although this concept is more applicable to joint locks, it applies to strangles just as well.


You can incorporate these ideas every single time you go to class. If, for example, you are rolling with a less experienced student, you should utilize this time to practice defenses after getting caught. If you are rolling with someone better, focus on relaxing and applying technique to get out. Finally, always remember to tap when necessary and not to let your ego get in the way of you getting better.

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