One of the fundamental rules of BJJ is that you should value ‘Position over Submission.’
This means is that you shouldn’t abandon a good position – like the mount for example – to go for a dubious submission and lose the position.
This is even more important in MMA and self defense: imagine going for an armbar from mount, your opponent escaping it, and you now ending up on the bottom getting punched in the teeth repeatedly.
Now you definitely should go for submissions; the trick is to do them while maintaining control through the entire process.
Essentially you want to move from a dominant position to a submission without giving your opponent any chance to escape by keeping his base, posture and structure out of alignment the entire time (click here for a different article on Grapplearts that breaks down base, posture and structure).
This is good theory, but how do you accomplish it in real life?
In the video below my friend Rob Biernacki uses the examples of an armbar from S Mount and the 411 leglock position from the knee cut to illustrate exactly how you might disrupt your opponent’s alignment during a submission attack.
By the way, about 12 hours before we shot this video Rob had an absolutely ghastly dislocation of his big toe while sparring after a seminar. Seriously: his big toe was rotated more than 90 degrees to the side, and he ended up being in the hospital until about 2 in the morning.
It’s a sign of his toughness and dedication to jiu-jitsu that he literally limped into the dojo to film this for you guys!
- The BJJ Formula on DVD and as a series of 4 smartphone and tablet apps, the highly reviewed instructional by Rob Biernacki and Stephan Kesting
- The Three Most Important Concepts in BJJ: Base, Posture and Structure