Jiu-Jitsu is a self defense system and a sport that emphasizes controlling your opponent on the ground and submitting them. It is based around a positional hierarchy from which submissions are applied. For example, submissions from the mount and the back, the two most dominant positions, are generally more high percentage than those from other positions. Submissions in jiu-jitsu rely on maximum control and leverage while attacking weaker or more vulnerable areas of your opponent’s body. A submission applied in a controlling manner will force an opponent to tap out but will often times not inflict serious damage. The following is a brief synopsis of some of the most effective submissions in jiu-jitsu.
Rear Naked Choke
The mount and the back positions are the two most dominant in jiu-jitsu. In competition these positions are awarded four points each and in a self-defense situation they’re excellent positions for controlling an adversary. The back position is extremely advantageous because it allows you to get behind your opponent and have access to their neck while they have very limited options to attack. The rear naked choke is often thought of as the king of all submissions because, if done correctly, your opponent will be defeated regardless of whether or not they choose to tap. Rear naked chokes and chokes from the back are arguably the highest percentage submissions in jiu-jitsu as they’re used to great effect at every age and every belt level.
As one of the most classic and iconic submissions in jiu-jitsu, the armbar is a submission you’ll see at every academy and at every tournament. The submission works by isolating the arm and using the hip to apply pressure to the elbow. Armbars and armbar variations can be utilized from closed guard, half guard, mount, the back, and side control, among other positions. It is often used to connect to other submissions as well, such as triangle chokes and wrist locks. The versatility of the armbar and the fact that it can be utilized from nearly any position make it one of the most effective submissions in jiu-jitsu.
The triangle choke is synonymous with jiu-jitsu. The submission embodies the principles of maximum efficiency and leverage that are vital to all effective jiu-jitsu techniques. The choke involves trapping an opponent’s neck and one of their arms between your legs and getting the proper angle and leverage to finish the submission. Using both of your legs against an opponent’s neck puts you in position to utilize some of your bodies strongest muscles against a vulnerable part of your opponent’s body. Triangle chokes are also extremely useful from multiple angles and positions, allowing the person applying the submission many options to get the finish.
The kimura is a bent armlock attack that can be applied effectively from many different positions. Like the armbar and the triangle, the kimura can be applied from closed guard, half guard, the back, and side control. Another reason the kimura is so valuable is because it can be chained together with many other submissions. What sets the kimura apart from other submission attacks is that the grip can be used as a controlling position. After the grip is secured, it can be used to help pass the guard and even take the back, making it one of the most versatile grips in jiu-jitsu.
The footlock is a lower body submission that can attack an opponent’s foot, ankle, or knee using various grips and leg configurations. There are many variations of foot locks including the straight ankle lock, toe hold, and heel hook. Footlocks are effective not only in their mechanics, but also because they are lower body attacks that can be used alongside upper body attacks to create a more complete submission game. It’s important to learn proper footlock mechanics before trying them at full speed against your training partners to avoid serious injury.
Omoplata attacks involve control of an opponent’s shoulder and arm with your legs. Similar to a kimura, the classic finish from the omoplata comes from taking the shoulder out of alignment while the arm is bent at around ninety degrees. There are several variations of the omoplata that involve different leg and arm configurations as well, which have unique setups and add to the versatility of the submission. Omoplatas can be used to submit an opponent, but are also commonly used for sweeps.
While this list of submissions is far from complete, it includes the highest percentage submissions we see utilized at every level of jiu-jitsu. As jiu-jitsu continues to grow and evolve we’ll continue to see these submissions along with many new variations and setups.