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10 Most Powerful BJJ Submissions You Should Learn

Updated: May 20

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is all about skillfully controlling your opponent and using submission holds to win the match. Submissions are techniques that might make your opponent tap out, typically by targeting their neck, arm, or leg. Today, let’s explore the ten most powerful and effective BJJ submissions you can pull off to win a match!

The Art of Submissions

Before discussing the techniques, let’s first understand what a submission is. In BJJ, a submission is a technique that forces your opponent to tap out or give up by applying pressure or leverage to specific body areas, such as the neck, arm, or leg. These techniques can help you win a match or be incredibly effective in self-defence situations. Note, however, that these techniques are designed to cause potential harm and may cause unlikely injury if not executed properly. So, it pays to learn and master these techniques carefully to ensure a safe and successful time on the mats. 

The Most Powerful BJJ Submissions 

1. Rear Naked Choke

The rear naked choke is a classic and one of the most devastating submissions in BJJ. This basic BJJ technique involves securing a tight grip around your opponent’s neck from behind. That way, you can effectively cut off their oxygen supply and force them to tap out or risk losing consciousness. It is one of the most powerful BJJ submission holds; it is a high-percentage move once you get to your opponent’s back. But don’t worry because it is relatively safe when applied correctly.

2. Armbar

The armbar is one of the most excellent Jiu-Jitsu submissions. How to pull it off? You must isolate and hyperextend your opponent’s arm beyond its natural range of motion so that you can force a tap or risk causing serious injury. You can apply this BJJ submission hold from various positions since you can use your arms, legs and hips to trap your opponent’s arm, making it a versatile and highly effective technique.

3. Triangle Choke

The triangle choke is often referred to as the quintessential submission of BJJ. By trapping your opponent’s arm & neck within the confines of your legs, you can apply immense pressure to their carotid arteries, cutting off blood flow to the brain. This submission showcases the art of using leverage to overcome size and strength. Plus, you can learn multiple triangle choke variations to get a hold of your opponents.

4. Cross Choke

The cross choke, also known as a cross collar choke, is a powerful variation of the traditional choke. To perform this technique, you must cross your arms around your opponent’s neck and remove the slack on their gi collar to effectively restrict their airflow and force a tap. This submission is particularly effective when applied from the top position and combined with other BJJ control positions.

5. Heel Hook

The heel hook is one of the strongest BJJ leg submissions in Jiu-Jitsu history. While the heel hook was once banned in many competitions, it has recently been allowed in certain rulesets, making it a formidable addition to your arsenal. To perform this technique, you must twist and torque your opponent’s knee and ankle. Doing so applies immense pressure and may force your opponent to tap or risk serious injury.

6. Kimura

The Kimura is a submission that targets the shoulder joint. By isolating your opponent’s arm and applying leverage with your body weight, you can effectively hyperextend their shoulder, causing excruciating pain and forcing a tap. You can snatch a Kimura from almost any position, making it one of the best BJJ basic submissions.

7. Straight Ankle Lock

Looking for more BJJ leg submissions to add to your arsenal? The straight ankle lock is a devastating leg submission that can be applied from various positions. To pull it off, you must isolate and twist your opponent’s ankle. Stay in that locking position until your opponent feels the pressure to tap out.

8. Guillotine Choke

The guillotine choke is a classic submission that has been used in martial arts for centuries. By trapping your opponent’s neck between your arms and applying immense pressure, you can effectively cut off their airflow and force a tap. It is a nasty submission that is best performed once you see your opponent turtles up or when you’re in the front headlock position.

9. Ezekiel Choke

The Ezekiel choke is a lesser-known but highly effective submission. Using your forearm and bicep, you can trap an unsuspecting opponent’s neck and apply pressure to force a quick tap. You can also use this move to smother your opponent and force them to react impulsively, allowing you to transition to other submissions. 

10. Omoplata

Want to move to more advanced BJJ submissions? Try the omoplata, a unique and visually striking submission that targets the shoulder joint. It may look similar to the Kimura lock, but with the omoplata submission, you should use your legs in a figure-four grip. Doing so traps your opponent’s arm while applying leverage with your legs. In turn, you can hyperextend their shoulder and cause immense pain.

Note that omoplata is one of the most difficult submission moves to perform. You may need a big movement to set up the move (for example, placing one leg under the opponent’s armpit and rotating 180 degrees), which gives your opponent time to escape. Also, after you’ve locked your opponent with the omoplata, you must control your opponent’s posture with one arm to keep them from escaping, which can prove difficult, especially when facing larger opponents.  

How to Improve Your BJJ Submission Techniques

Improving submission techniques in Jiu-Jitsu requires a combination of focused practice, strategic training, and continuous learning. Here are some effective strategies to help a Jiu-Jitsu athlete enhance their submission skills:

Perfect Your Technique

  • Drill Regularly: Repetition helps ingrain the movements into muscle memory, making them second nature during live rolling sessions.

  • Focus on Details: Whether you’re performing advanced or simple BJJ submissions, pay attention to the finer details of each submission. Small adjustments can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of a technique.

  • Perform flow drilling: Flow drilling helps develop your ability to switch techniques based on your opponent’s reactions, increasing your chances of securing a submission. 

  • Visualise Techniques: Spend time visualising the execution of the most basic or advanced BJJ submissions. Mental rehearsal can enhance your understanding and execution of techniques during live training.

Understand High-Percentage Submissions

  • Learn High-Percentage Submissions: Focus on mastering BJJ submissions with a high success rate, such as the rear naked choke, armbar, triangle choke, and Kimura. These techniques are effective from multiple positions and are fundamental to BJJ.

  • Practise from Various Positions: Try applying the best BJJ submissions from different positions like guard, mount, side control, and back control. This versatility will make you more dangerous in various scenarios.

Do Live Rolling with Purpose

  • Positional Sparring: Focus on specific positions during sparring sessions. For example, start in the mount or back control and work on securing submissions from these dominant positions.

  • Controlled Resistance: Roll with partners who provide controlled resistance. That way, you can practise submissions under realistic conditions without the risk of injury.

Develop Grip Strength & Improve Flexibility

  • Grip-Specific Training: Incorporate exercises that enhance your grip strength, such as gi pull-ups, towel pull-ups, and using grip strengtheners. A strong grip is essential for maintaining control and applying submissions effectively.

  • Stretch Regularly: Flexibility, especially in the hips and legs, is vital for executing the most powerful Jiu-Jitsu submissions, like the triangle choke and armbar. Incorporate regular stretching & mobility exercises into your routine.

Study and Analyse

  • Watch Instructional Videos: Learn from experienced practitioners by watching instructional videos. Pay attention to the techniques and strategies they use to set up and finish the best BJJ submissions.

  • Analyse Your Performance: Record your training sessions and analyse them to identify areas for improvement. Look for mistakes in your technique and find ways to correct them.

  • Seek Feedback: Ask higher belts and instructors for feedback on your submission techniques. They can provide valuable insights and corrections that can help you improve.

  • Continuous Learning: BJJ evolves constantly, with new techniques and variations being developed. Stay updated by attending seminars, reading articles, and watching the latest instructional videos.

Start Training Today

So, what are you waiting for? Strap on your gi, step onto the mats and start unleashing the power of these mighty BJJ submissions. Like in any sport, keep in mind that the key to success lies in discipline, perseverance and continuous learning. 

If you’re ready to learn and improve your submission skills in Jiu-Jitsu, join one of our classes here at Locals Jiu Jitsu Zetland. We have a Beginners Program, Advanced Program & No Gi Program to cater to Jiu-Jitsu athletes in different skill levels. 

Contact us today to learn more.

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