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Wrist Locks Are Everywhere In BJJ

Wrist Locks Are Everywhere In BJJ


If there is one submission that does not get enough attention in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu it is the wrist lock...

Often perceived as a “cheap” or “dirty” submission, the wrist lock is a perfectly valid submission is many different competition rulesets. Wrist locks are often taught from the very first few days you step on the mat but can take a life time to truly master. But once you learn them they will likely become one of your best secret submissions to pull out against even the most unsuspecting opponents. The wrist lock, if properly applied, is one of the best submissions you can learn for gi, nogi, or self defense. Some BJJ players forget that wrist locks can be hit from virtually any position. It allows you to use a massive amount of leverage against a small part of someone’s body. This makes the wrist lock is a good technique for smaller guys to learn for bigger opponents. They are also great for beginners to learn too as they are usually fairly easy to do.

Travis Stevens is a master of the wrist lock and considers it his secret weapon when he's training and competing. Click the learn more to discover the secrets to the wrist lock game.


It is crucial to know that a wrist lock is available in any circumstance where you are able to touch your opponent’s hands. Of course, it can be easily defended from a variety of positions, but the mere act of defending a wrist lock can open up other attacks. Just because you do not finish the wrist lock does not mean you should not try. In fact the wrist lock may just be a transition into the position that leads you to getting a submission or scoring against an opponent in a tournament. With that in mind let’s explore some IBJJF legal wrist locks and more that anyone can do!

Travis Stevens Wristlock on Cats Paw Grip

If you like to play half guard this is a great submission for you. To hit this wrist lock, the first thing you want to do is secure a four finger grip on the outside of the gi in order for this wrist lock to work. If you are against an opponent who is really good at controlling your arm with that grip you want to roll your arm to make the wrist face you. You should be looking to get your opponent’s knuckles looking right at you. Now turn your elbow in and roll your hip away. This will cause your training partner’s fingers to get trapped in your gi. From here, chop down on your opponent’s wrist. Notice that your training partner’s wrist will bend when you do this, which is the movement you are looking for. Once you are here cross your arms to secure the wrist lock.

Claudio Calasans Americana Wrist Lock

Claudio Calasans is a Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, regarded by many as one of the top middle weights in the sport.  Claudio Calasans starts this wrist lock technique from bottom closed guard position. Typically your opponent will stand up in an attempt to break your guard. To counter this, first, grab your opponent’s sleeve as he goes to stand. Use your leg and your hand around his forearm and at the same time grab your training partner’s wrist. Pull your opponent forward with your legs to break his posture and use your far hand to establish a cross grip, holding the wrist from the inside. Once you bring his elbow close to your chest you lock it in so you can drive his arm and hand towards his shoulder. This makes it easier to finish the wrist lock. Once you do this, change your grip and the wrist lock is right there.

Wrist Lock From Bottom Closed Guard by Rodrigo Artilheiro

The bottom closed guard is often thought only as a defensive position, and not one you would think you could hit a wrist lock from. But as Rodrigo shows it is actually quite easy to do. Almost anyone should have an opportunity to hit this wrist lock at one point or another. Closed guard bottom is such a common position to find yourself in. It is also incredibly common for your opponent to use one of their hands to grip your wrist or gi sleeve. The first thing Rodrigo likes to do when his training partner has a hold of his gi sleeve is to grab his wrist and then break his posture using his legs to bump him forward. From here Rodrigo swims his other arm underneath and over his training partner’s arm to secure his grip. This will trap your opponent’s arm and wrist. Once the grip is secured, Rodrigo switches his closed guard so that it is high up on his training partner’s back, controlling his arms and shoulders. Rodrigo traps the shoulders and then changes his grip to submit his opponent with the wrist lock.

Nasty Wrist Lock by Jamico Elder

This is really basic wrist lock from the standing position when your training partner has a high collar grip. Jamico demonstrates how to do this. First he comes across his training partner’s elbow with both his wrists. He forms a gable grip and forces his opponent’s arm downwards. This break his training partner’s posture, and also weakens his grip. Now all you have to do is snap, and the wrist lock is right there! By twisting your body and pressuring the arm the tap is right there. Notice it really takes almost no movement to make your opponent tap.

Wrist locks are a universal submission. They require very little experience and very little athleticism to do. That is what makes them so great. The next time you are in a live roll and you have good control over your training partner’s hands, why not go for a wrist lock? It could be just the submission you need for dealing with a tricky opponent. If you liked these techniques and want to learn more wrist locks then check out Travis Steven’s series called “Wrist Locks From Everywhere” available exclusively on!

Wrist locks are everywhere in jiu jitsu and all grappling arts. Attacking the wrist is a fairly simple principle that we see in many martial arts, not just "aikido". But the secret to the wrist lock is knowing where they show up in jiu jitsu - HINT it's EVERY WHERE, and how to set them up properly so they can't escape.



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