Jiu-jitsu has hundreds of submissions including chokes, cranks, armlocks, wristlocks, kneebars, footlocks, crushes, and many other ways to make people tap out.
But if you’re caught in a submission – any submission – there are only three ways to get out. This relates to the timing of the defense: before, during or after.
Let’s go through them, one by one…\
1, You can shut down a submission early, or preemptively.
Let’s say that you’re on your back and your opponent starts going for an ankle lock. He encircles your ankle with his arm, and you can see what’s coming, but he hasn’t fully locked it on yet…
Furthermore, let’s say that you’re on the ball, so you rotate your leg (the right way, of course) and your foot pops out before you’re ever in any real danger.
This is an early escape, it occurs BEFORE he applies the lock. If you have a choice, shutting down a submission early – before it ever really gets started – is definitely the best way to go!
2, You can escape AS your opponent is applying the submission.
Back to the ankle lock example… Let’s say that he’s locked it on and is falling backwards.
If you can ‘hitch a ride’ and get to the top as he falls back and squish him like a bug, then you’ve just countered it DURING the attack.
Escaping submissions as they’re being applied is the most under-utilized timing, but it’s super useful. It’s just so much easier to do it now rather than during the next stage (i.e. when it’s fully locked on).
3, And finally you can escape a submission late, AFTER it’s already applied.
In the case of defending against an ankle lock, let’s say that our opponent has falls into a good position, gets on his side, starts arching, etc.
Now you’re doing a late, or AFTER THE FACT escape.
Late escapes aren’t as easy to pull off, or as high percentage, as escaping before or during, but you still need to know them.
If you’re trying a late escape against the ankle lock you might try to unfold his legs and escape your hips out sideways, or (if it’s legal) apply a heel hook to one of his legs, etc.
Last minute, hail Mary type of stuff…
So there you go; I’m supposed to make life easier for you but instead I’ve just tripled what you need to know!
You might’ve thought you only needed one good counter to the triangle choke, the spinning armbar or the inside-out, upside-down, cross-collar Jehoshaphat choke.
But now you know that you actually need to learn THREE defenses, early, middle and late.
Good luck with your training!
P.S. There is no Jehoshaphat choke, I just made that up 😉 Feel free to invent a choke of your own and give it that name though, I’d be honored!!
P.P.S. These three timings – before, during and after – is how the techniques in my Submission Defense module of the BJJ Master App for Apple and Android devices are organised. This app covers 36 specific techniques that you can use to escape the 12 most common, most powerful submissions that you’ll run into on a daily basis in your training and competition.