Three Keys to Escaping Any Submission


Some people might not be the greatest grapplers but are still notoriously hard to submit. Obviously technique is important, but there’s more to slipping out of submission than just knowing the escape techniques.

In fact the most important thing is knowing WHEN to apply your techniques. If you use the right technique at the wrong time then it won’t work.

For example I remember rolling with a fighter from Pride FC (the biggest and best MMA organization of its day) in BJJ sparring, both with and without the gi. I was a little bigger than him and he was really laid back while wrestling, so I was able to dominate him positionally.

But the second I came close to a submission – choke, armlock or leglock – he’d turn into the Tasmanian Devil of Defense. He’d squirm, wriggle, shrimp, and bridge like a man possessed. So even though I would have beat him in points by about a gazillion to one tapping him out was super-duper-difficult.

His mastery of submission defense rock solid and really inspiring! And a lot his spectacular defensive abilities simply came down to recognizing the right time to do the right technique.

In my own study of defense it was Erik Paulson, the famous MMA and submission grappling trainer, who really helped with the conceptual framework for escaping submissions.

Erik explained that you should learn three types of escape techniques,

  1. Techniques you use BEFORE the submission is in place (i.e. your opponent is beginning to set up the technique)
  2. Techniques you use DURING the submission geing locked on (i.e. your opponent now has everything in place)
  3. Techniques you use AFTER the submission is in place (i.e. your opponent is now applying the submission)

Obviously the earlier in the process that you intervene and use your defensive technique the easier it is.

It’s FAR easier to stop an your arm from being put into an armlock in the first place than it is to escape it once it’s been fully applied.

For every submission you know you should also learn some defensive techniques. If you learn them with the before-during-after concept in mind then you’ll be able to use those techniques at the right time.

Below are some YouTube videos which take you through step-by-step counters to three powerful submissions. If you work your way through these videos you’ll see the before-during-after submission defense concept in action again and again.

How to escape the Triangle Choke, even if it’s completely locked on

Defending and escaping the Armbar from Guard

Escaping the Kimura armlock from side mount

How to Defend and Escape the Kneebar   

How to Escape the Rear Naked Choke (RNC)

All of these youtube videos were excerpted from my Submission Defense app which is now available for Apple devices AND Android devices.

If you’ve got an tablet or a phone running the Android or iOS (Apple) platform then grab this app: it’s only a few bucks and I guarantee that it’ll help you escape some sticky situations on the mat in the future!

How to download the Submission Defense app to your phone or tablet

If you have an Android or Apple phone (or tablet) then we’ve got this app your format!

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