Getting pinned is bad - getting pinned AND getting your limbs extended out and away from your torso is even worse

Getting pinned is bad - getting pinned AND getting your limbs extended out and away from your torso is even worse: When most people get to a dominant pin they are so happy to score the points that they don’t take the next step and seek to isolate a limb by working it out and away from the torso. Never forget that the ultimate aim of grappling (not fighting) is to submit an opponent. A positional pin is a means to that end - only when you take the extra step of limb isolation will you bridge the gap between position and submission. Next time you get to a dominant pin, don’t be satisfied with the pin - go further and work the limb away from the torso - you will find immediately that you make the pin stronger and suddenly become far more threatening to your opponent. Best of all you will start submitting a lot more opponents


Going beyond pinning

Going beyond pinning: The basic theme of Jiu jitsu is of getting to dominant upper body pins to gain positional advantage. To actually SUBMIT someone however, you’ll need to do more than pin them - YOU WILL NEED TO ISOLATE A LIMB. Learning to isolate and control a limb from a dominant pin is the bridge between position and submission. Whenever you get to a pin in training don’t be satisfied with the points you’ve scored. Go further and isolate a limb - that is the only way you will be able to submit opponents.


Priorities

Priorities: Any time you’re in a bad situation it is imperative that you prioritize the most most serious threats first and address them before the secondary threats. Any time you are in a bad spot in Jiu jitsu you will face multiple threats. Some will be more serious than others - make sure those are the first ones you address. Here, Gordon Ryan is in a critical situation. Because he is addressing the primary threat first (the strangle) he can remain calm and start making decisions as to how to deal with the secondary threat (the rear mount position). Bad position is already bad enough without making it even worse by mistakenly trying to deal with secondary threats before primary threats.


Only one position truly merges position and submission - the back

Only one position truly merges position and submission - the back: If you look at the pins of Jiu jitsu you will see that as desirable as they are - you still have quite a bit of work to do to go beyond the pin into the submission. Getting side pin or mounted or north south or knee on belly is good, but getting the arm or neck from there requires a significant set of skills. The rear mount on the other hand leaves you VERY close to submission. Unless your opponent has good defensive skills a simple wrapping of your arm around the neck is enough to end it. You can see how closely the position (rear mount) is to the submission (rear strangle) by the fact that the escape from one entails the escape from the other. This is not true for say, a mounted arm bar or Kimura from side or knee on belly. Usually escaping the pin is one thing, the submission from that pin is another. As such rear mount/rear strangle is the single best synthesis of position and submission in the sport. Mastering the art of getting there, staying there and finishing from there is the best way to close the gap between position and submission in your game


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’re starting on the path to back control mastery - focus on the upper body first

When you’re starting on the path to back control mastery - focus on the upper body first: The back is the most dominant position in a grappling match without striking. Nothing else creates such a mismatch between the control and submission opportunities of the attacker vs the defender. The SCORE comes from the legs - getting your two legs hooked into an opponents hips is what creates the score. However, the real world control comes from maintaining chest to back connection with or without the legs. When you first begin the back game - focus on the upper body connection first and foremost. You can always get the hooks in later to score. Use your arms in seatbelt or double under control to form a tight initial connection and create a strangle threat. As you get more advanced you’ll find there are ways you can get legs in first without conventional upper body connection but they aren’t the best place to start since you’ll be using those far less than conventional methods. Here, Gordon Ryan, a true master of back control, uses a safety first upper body connection to secure himself in a winning position, knowing that once this is done, getting the legs in later will be relatively easy


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.


A fundamental dilemma between positional attacks and submission attacks

A fundamental dilemma between positional attacks and submission attacks: Question 1: What is the most difficult type of body posture to sweep? Answer: extended/spread limbs that create wide base with lowered center of gravity. Question 2: What is the most difficult body posture to attack with submissions? Answer: retracted limbs held close to the torso. As soon as you see the truth of these two answers to our two questions you will understand that the sequence of a positional attack from guard (sweep) will create a reaction (extended limbs) that makes an opponent much easier to submit; whilst a submission attack creates a reaction (retracted limbs/narrow base) that makes them easier to sweep. ALWAYS TRY TO CREATE AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS FUNDAMENTAL POSITION/SUBMISSION DILEMMA AS IT APPLIES TO POSTURE. Your opponent can defend the first only at the cost of making himself more vulnerable to the second. Whenever you play the game, particularly from guard position, keep this in mind and you will get more breakthroughs than previously


Don’t just attack the joint - attack his balance at the same time

Don’t just attack the joint - attack his balance at the same time: I’m sure that many times you have had the frustrating experience of locking on a nice submission hold and having your opponent hold a strong defensive posture and then work his way free of the hold. Most submission defense against submission holds applied from bottom position begin with POSTURE and BASE. It is for that reason that whenever possible, go beyond just attacking with the submission hold - ATTACK YOUR OPPONENTS BALANCE/POSTURE/BASE AT THE SAME TIME. This will greatly hamper his defense. Here, Garry Tonon has locked on a very tight cross ashi garami hold and is clamping it in place with a well applied inside sankaku (triangle) leg entanglement. Note how he goes the extra distance against tough opposition and breaks his opponents balance as well - immediately making escape more difficult and with the additional benefit of heel exposure as a bonus. Next time you are locked into an arm bar, triangle, leg lock or whatever from bottom position, make a simultaneous attack on your opponents balance and you will soon find that the balance attack makes the submission attacks much more successful


There are an infinite number of possibilities in a scramble - but there should be only one goal - the opponents back

There are an infinite number of possibilities in a scramble - but there should be only one goal - the opponents back: It can be hard to know what to do in the fleeting time and motion of a scrambles. The single most useful thing you can have under these circumstances is A SENSE OF DIRECTION. You can actually go in several good directions in a scramble, but in my opinion the best direction will always be towards your opponents back. The back is a big target, a huge percentage of our body’s surface area, so it will always be available at some point as you move through a prolonged scramble. Once you get there it enables you to control and finish the toughest opponents. When your world is a confusing tangle of limbs flying around the mat - keep your thought process simple and clear - AIM FOR THE BACK. Here, Gordon Ryan does exactly that at the ADCC world championships. He is a fine example showing you don’t need to the fastest athlete to be a superb scrambler - just an athlete with a good sense of direction. Remember, in a race between a speedster with no sense of direction versus a plodder who knows exactly where he wants to go - the plodder will beat the speedster every time