The ultimate submission

The ultimate submission: We all have our favorite submission holds - in time I hope you develop at least five to six submissions that you can attack from anywhere on anyone - but never lose sight of a fundamental truth in grappling - the ultimate submission is not a hold per se - it is FATIGUE. If you can PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY BREAK an opponent with fatigue he will submit with his MIND first and then with his BODY second. A big part of your skill set has to be the skill of WEARING DOWN AND EXHAUSTING AN OPPONENT SO THAT ALL THE SUBMISSION HOLDS ARE EASY TO APPLY AND TO WHICH AN OPPONENT WILL GLADLY SURRENDER. There are ways to control and manipulate grips, stance and pace that are heavily in your favor so that an opponent is working at two or three times the rate you are. If you can maintain this the result is inevitable - an opponent who is looking for an excuse to quit - your submission hold provides that excuse. When you put hands on an opponent your constant underlying goal should be to create a disparity in work rate skewed in your favor that opens the door to submission later in the match.

When you have no control time is your enemy, but...

The more dominant your grips and position - the more you take your time when moving: Sometimes Jiu jitsu rewards us for moving quickly - usually when we don’t have any form of advantage over our opponent. In these cases an advantage in speed may be the only advantage you have and if you can get to the next position ahead of your opponent you can profit. Sometimes Jiu jitsu rewards use for being slow. This is usually when you have a dominant grip and (usually top) position. In these cases time is your friend. Time spent in these positions is tiring and frustrating for an opponent. As he works harder and harder to get out, the more risks he will have to take to escape and the more likely he will leave a limb behind to be taken. So next time you take a dominating position/grip - take your time! Don’t be in such a rush for your next move. Remember that WHEN YOU HAVE NO CONTROL TIME IS YOUR ENEMY - BUT WHEN YOU HAVE CONTROL - TIME IS YOUR FRIEND

The interplay of push and pull

The interplay of push and pull: When playing bottom position in JiuJitsu there is a continual battle for DISTANCE CONTROL that leads to a never ending interplay between PUSHING and PULLING. From guard we always seek an optimum distance that keeps an opponent at a range that gives us SUFFICIENT ROOM TO ATTACK (space creation) and yet at the same time SUFFICIENT PROXIMITY TO ATTACK (space restriction). In short, if the opponent is too close you won’t have room to move into your attacks. If he is too far away you won’t be able to get and main connection to attack. We need to seek a middle distance we’re the opponent is close enough to attack yet not so close that we our attacks get stifled. As such you must be able to PUSH BACK WITH FRAMES if he gets too close, and PULL HIM CLOSE WITH GRIPS if he is far away. Because things happen very quickly you must be able to switch from pull to push and back again at a moments notice. As a general rule DEFENSE IS BUILT AROUND PUSHING and OFFENSE IS BUILT AROUND PULLING although there are some important exceptions to this general rule. Best of all are grips and positions that enable enable you to do both - such as ashi garami. Next time you play guard pay more attention to push and pull dynamics. When opponents threaten to pass - FOCUS ON STRONG PUSHING FRAMES. When opponents hand back FOCUS ON PULLING THEM INTO YOUR ATTACKS. It will make your developing guard game progress rapidly

Identify the problem

Identify the problem: Every submission hold has an escape. Every escape involves a set of movements - but invariably there is ONE movement that does the majority of the work of escape. For example in upper body submission holds from guard involving your legs such as triangle, juji gatame arm bar, omoplata etc - most of the early escapes are postural escapes involving your opponents HEAD rising away from you to create distance and this is the core of the escape/defense overall. Once you understand this as the athlete trying to perform the submission it’s all a matter of building increasingly powerful HEAD CONTROL as the basis of your submission game from guard. Focus upon the most pressing problem pays big dividends in Jiu jitsu. In a word of ten thousand problems learning to focus on the biggest ones first makes a big difference to your performance. Under stress it’s much easier to solve one bigger problem than a dozen smaller ones simultaneously. Develop a clear idea of what the biggest threat to your success is and attack that threat relentlessly - you will soon notice the difference in your performance

Are you ready for the next move?

Are you ready for the next move? If there is one certainty in Jiu jitsu it is that the majority of your attempted moves will fail. This is a simple reflection of the fact that your opponents know the same moves you do and also the counters. Given the prevalence of failure it is crucial that you have mapped out what to do the moment you feel that the move has failed and recovery is not possible. We all spend our Jiu jitsu lives seeking to achieve success, but in reality the smart way to approach things is to seek to recover and exploit failure since this is far more common than success. Here Nicky Ryan has lost control of his opponents knee - a clear sign that this heel hook/knee bar attempt has failed beyond recovery - the only question now is where to go from here. If you are asking the question now - it’s already too late. You must train yourself to ask it before that critical moment.

An unnecessary rush to completion

Joint locks - don’t be in a hurry to extend the limb: There are two ways to submit an opponent in Jiu jitsu - strangles and joint locks. Overall I believe strangles are the more effective of the two but joint locks are still a truly vital part of the game. You must make a deep study of the skill of attacking the arms and legs of an opponent. Probably the single most common problem I see in developing students who have gotten into a position to joint lock an opponent is AN UNNECESSARY RUSH TO COMPLETION that sacrifices control and allows an opponent to escape. When it comes to joint locks CONTROL BEATS SPEED. There are exceptions to this. There are times when a fast entry and finish can get you a win before an opponent can get into a defensive reaction - but for every time you see this happen you will see twenty cases where too much concern with speed weakens your control and you end up with nothing. Focus on a tight connection to the joint above the joint that you are attacking. If you are attacking the knee - get a good connection to the hip. If your attacking the elbow, get a good connection to the shoulder. Don’t be afraid to move with your opponent to maintain that connection. When you feel the connection is strong and you can control your opponents movement - THEN go to attack the joint. Victory will go to the athlete who exhibits great control more often than the athlete who exhibits great speed.

The athlete with the better setups

When both athletes know the major moves and their counters, victory will usually go to the athlete with the better set ups.

Consistently Winning the little battles usually means you’ll win the war

Consistently Winning the little battles usually means you’ll win the war: A Jiu jitsu match is a series of little battles leading to progressively better situations until a point is reached where the opponent does not want to or cannot continue - then the war is over. This simple fact should be reflected in your training. If you want to mimic match conditions seek to win all the little battles along the way - the initial hand fights, the transition to the ground and subsequent grip fights, the battle to off balance an opponent if you’re on bottom or nullify the legs if you’re on top. In a competitive match these battles will go back and forth - focus on winning bad many as you can and generally the final result will go your way. Most Jiu jitsu matches are won CUMULATIVELY. Onlookers only remember the RESULT, but in truth, most of the time it was taking the majority of all those little battles for grip, angle and position that determined the outcome before the finish. Fight in the light of this truth. Don’t get complacent over small battles - they all count toward the final result. Stay focused and be greedy - the more little battles you take the easier and quicker you win the overall war.

Grip with four appendages - not two

Grip with four appendages - not two: When people ask me about gripping skills in Jiu jitsu they almost invariably want to talk about grip STRENGTH. Even when they talk about this they invariably refer to strength of the HANDS. Never forget that from guard position you must learn to grip with both hands AND feet. It is crucial that you develop dexterity in your feet so that they can grip and pull and push just like your hands do. The great advantage of guard position is that it UNWEIGHTS YOUR FEET so that they can be used as two extra gripping limbs. You get to fight an opponent with four of your limbs - he only gets to fight with two. Look how uber talented Australian grappler Craig Jones expertly uses all four limbs simultaneously to grip up his opponent as he closes distance. Your hands are only half the story of gripping in Jiu jitsu - only when you use all four appendages in concert will you maximize your gripping potential

Undermining athleticism

Undermining athleticism: One of the central features of Jiu jitsu is the constant drive to UNDERMINE WHATEVER ATHLETIC POTENTIAL YOUR OPPONENT HAS. The human body is constructed in such a way that for every athletic task it is capable of performing, there is an optimal stance or bodily disposition that facilitates that task. Your goal in Jiu jitsu is to interfere with that as much as possible in order to reduce an opponent to a klutzy, tied up and useless, unathletic specimen waiting to be submitted. There are many ways to do this depending upon the situation you are in. When it comes to leg locking, arguably the most controlling means of shackling an opponent up in a manner that severely undermines his athleticism is to lace his ankles whilst holding him in cross ashi garami. That immediately prevents an opponent standing up, coming forward or scooting back and also makes turning difficult. ONCE YOU CONTROL MOVEMENT - YOU CONTROL THE GAME. Research how to restrain people and undermine their athleticism in your favorite finishing holds and watch your finishes skyrocket