What are some of the best submissions we can add to the tool box as beginners?
Of course, opinions will vary across the board, but I’d say as a beginner, it’s important to keep things simple.
What does that mean?
As a beginner you will encounter certain positions and situations more than others. For example, it’s likely that you’ll many have stints in ¾ mount and probably won’t spend much time inverted, hunting for heel hooks. With knowledge and understanding of these common positions we can begin to apply submissions to these frequently visited encounters.
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So, when we’re choosing good submissions options, let’s look at some techniques that best fit some of these scenarios. In this video Travis Stevens gives us five beginner friendly options to submit. What I love about these particular techniques, is that they all happen to be chokes.
Chokes, in my opinion are a cornerstone, and the essence of BJJ. No BJJ arsenal of attacks is complete without the knowledge of some basic ways to strangle our opponents. Check out these variations from Stevens and see if you can pick up something new!
Stevens and his partner begin in the bottom mount position, giving us a little insight from the opposite end of the spectrum. You have no doubt experiences the ¾ mount at some point. Especially as a beginner, when we try to maintain the mount position, its very common for the bottom player to snag a foot and begin the trek back to reestablishing their guard. Has this happened to you?
The beginning of our opponent’s guard replacement doesn’t have to mean the end of our offense. The first technique is an Ezekiel from this exact position.
In this particular setting, Stevens allows his partner to acquire the ¾ mount. AS this occurs, he controls the head with a cross face on the same side as his captured foot. He then steps up on his opposite leg, and begins to place the four fingers of his cross-face hand into the opposite cuff of his sleeve. As he places the set up over top of his partners neck, he offers two options. We can use a fist, or make a blade with the hand. Both will serve as sufficient tools to cinch the choke.
For the finish, Stevens begins to fall to his side, making sure his partners arm is trapped by his head, and extends his arms away from him. There’s a detail here that’s not so easy to see, but Stevens does touch on its importance. During the finish, he keeps his knee pushing in to his partners side, which helps create distance between them, and further tightens the strangle. It will also make it more difficult for his partner to turn into him. This is a fantastic choke, for an incredibly common scenario.
Continuing on, the next technique deals with the back-mount position. One of the traditional ways of escaping the back is to secure the over hook arm, and bring it up over the head. This begins to disrupt the positioning of the attacker, and may lead to an escape.
To prevent this particular method of escape, Stevens forgoes the traditional seatbelt grip for a low grip on the collar near his partners chest. He then reinforces this grip by securing his own wrist with his opposite hand. This seems incredibly effective and strong. I feel it would take some serious determination to get rid of this particular grip set.
Stevens begins the journey to his partners demise by falling to the under-hook side. As his partner begins to defend the choking hand in a two on one fashion, Stevens makes a switch. He slips his bottom hand out, moves his head top side, and secures a thumb in grip on his partners top lapel. Here, Stevens has set up one of the most classic chokes in all of BJJ, the cross choke. With everything in place, he can now extend his arms, pinch his knees, and bring the submission to its completion.
You’ve probably learned this choke, but this is an incredibly crafty variation. The way Stevens begins to set the choke up is very smart, and many of your partners reactions are accounted for here, making this a great way to earn that tap from the back.
Stevens will set up the next submission from another super common position, top side control. From the bottom, its often the goal of the practitioner to establish frames and begin to create space between themselves and the top player. We can almost bet that this will be the reaction, especially if we’re talking about beginners. With this in mind, Stevens presents us with his next technique, the paper cutter.
With a frame in place at the hip, and across the neck, the bottom player has already achieved the first stages of escape, but Stevens will use this against them.
He begins with a thumb down grip in the near side collar, and pinches the far side hip with his elbow. As he drives in to his partner from the top, the bottom player becomes more active with the frame at the neck. This gives Stevens the opportunity to fish his right hand in between his partner’s near side arm and rib cage, and secure a palm up grip on the lapel. During this time, Steven’s opposite side arm is also rotating up and over the head, cinching the strangle.
For a clean finish, Stevens sprawls, walks toward the head, and drives the head away with his elbow.
This is one f my favorite chokes, and I found myself gravitating toward it early in my study of BJJ. Its very sneaky, and it can be acquired in a lot of different ways. Again, Steven’s has given us a very user-friendly option based on common reactions.
This fourth option returns us to the back-mount position once again for Steven’s variation of a rear naked choke. To start, Stevens takes a two on one grip on his partners right arm, and he pulls it to the right side, tight against his partner body. As his partner looks to defend the over hook arm, Stevens gives up the opposite side wrist control to attack the neck. He then removes his other hand and begins to lock the classic rear naked choke. Remember, back of the hand to the back of the head and elbow in line with the chin. A slow consistent squeeze and a slight extension of the legs gets the job done.
Posture is of the utmost importance when were setting up to pass in the closed guard. Establishing grips and anchoring points early can set us up to begin passing and imposing our game. This position is the focus of the last technique in the segment. The cross choke from guard.
To begin disrupting the top players posture, Stevens begins by using two hands against his partners grip on the lapel. As he secures the cuff of the sleeve, he breaks the grip loose, and then uses his knees to bring his partner forward, achieving a chest to chest position and encapsulating his partner’ head and arm inside his own arms.
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From here, Stevens places his left thumb inside his partner’s collar. He then employs a hip escape to get on to his side, and enters his second hand, palm up into the collar on the same side as his thumb, but from underneath. As his partner looks to regain posture and remove his arm from the trap, Stevens can loop his left arm over the head and begin to put everything in position for a very tight cross choke.
As he squares up, he turns the blades of his wrists to his partner’s neck, pulls him forward, and closes down all the space, forcing the submission.
So, there you have it. Five beginner friendly submissions for some of the most common positions in BJJ. Add these to your arsenal and enjoy more success from these common platforms of attack!
For more effective Chokes, check out the instructional Chokes from Travis Stevens! A John Danaher black belt and Olympic Judo medalist, Travis has been honing his chokes on some of the toughest necks out there! You can get it here!