Jiu Jitsu is a sport that is based around controlling and submitting your opponent. Although there are points in many Bjj competitions, submissions remain the ultimate decider for all grapplers. Like everything in the sport, submissions range from very simple (arm bar) to highly advanced (twister). When starting out in the sport, it is important to have a few submissions nailed down.
Not only does this give your grappling an end point, it also develops your understanding of what makes a good submission. Below, I have outlined top 3 submission techniques which give any beginner grappler an excellent starting point for their Bjj career.
Submissions for Beginners
Bow & Arrow Choke
The bow and arrow was the first submission I learned in Bjj class. Although at the start, there seems to be many steps and movements, the general idea is quite straightforward. For such an entry level choke, it is extremely effective and uncomfortable for your opponent. There are also so many tweaks which can be developed over time. This is a great submission for beginners for two reasons. Firstly, it is a collar choke. Exposure to collar chokes at an early stage allow you to understand the dynamics behind them. Secondly, the choke uses not only your upper body, but your legs too. Developing a symbiotic relationship between upper and lower body will not only lead to better chokes, it will also help you develop at a more rapid rate through advanced techniques to master submissions for beginners.
Apart from the Rear Naked Choke, no submission epitomizes Bjj as well as the arm bar. The technique was a staple of both Bjj and Judo and was brought to the world stage by Ronda Rousey during her reign as UFC champion. The arm bar offers so much education to the novice grappler. Firstly, it is a basic joint lock. By learning the submission and the various angles at which it works and doesn’t work, it will give you a better understanding of how joint locks work in general. Secondly, the arm is a target at all levels of the sport. Regardless of what standard you are competing at, an arm bar is one of the most common submissions. This means that learning early will enable you to develop both a solid attack and defence. Finally, the arm bar is a versatile submission. You can sink an arm on your back, on your front, on your side, even when moving (rolling armbars). It is not a technique that is limited to a certain scenario. The opportunity arises in many different positions making it important to understand when and when not to use it.
Similar to an arm bar, the triangle choke is synonymous with Bjj. The choke is performed by cutting off the blood supply at the neck. In order to achieve this, the neck is contracted by your leg and your opponent’s arm. It is an incredibly powerful and uncomfortable choke. For the novice grappler, the technique is beneficial because it provides a high level of control. Using your legs to primarily control your opponent gives you time to consider your next move whilst also giving you time to catch your breath. The choke also opens your eyes to the strength of your legs versus your opponent’s posture. Later in training, using your legs becomes far more important to both control your opponent and break their posture. The triangle choke is the beginning of this education. Finally, the choke introduces the triangle position using the legs and feet. This positioning can be used to control your opponent’s back instead of the traditional hooks on the inside of the leg.