Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is known for its wide array of submission techniques, but the top three submissions often considered among the most effective and fundamental are:
The Rear Naked Choke (RNC):
The Rear Naked Choke is one of the most iconic submissions in BJJ and mixed martial arts. It’s often referred to as the “lion killer” or “mata leão” in Portuguese. To execute it, you typically need to take your opponent’s back and secure a dominant position with hooks in, meaning your legs are inside your opponent’s legs, and with seatbelt control, one arm going over the shoulder and the other arm underneath your opponents arms, clasping your hands in the middle, and creating a ‘seatbelt’ with your arms diagonally across their chest.
Once you have the back control, you place one arm under your opponent’s chin and the other arm over the top of their shoulder, grabbing your bicep of the arm over the shoulder, and then placing that arm behind their head as you squeeze everything together to create pressure on the carotid arteries. This technique cuts off blood flow to the brain and can quickly render your opponent unconscious if applied correctly.
The Armbar, or “juji-gatame” in Japanese, is another fundamental submission in BJJ. It involves isolating your opponent’s arm, typically just one of their arms, and applying leverage to hyperextend their elbow joint.
To execute an armbar, you often start from the guard position – when you’re on your back with your opponent in your guard. You secure your opponent’s arm 2-on-1 grip with your hands, break their posture down by pulling them into you with your legs and throwing them off balance. Then use your hips and leg placement to kick one leg over their face, keeping everything technical and tight, and bridging your hips into their elbow until they tap from too much pressure on their arm. If done correctly, the armbar can force your opponent to tap out or risk injury.
The Triangle Choke:
The Triangle Choke, or simply “triangle,” is a submission that involves trapping your opponent’s head and arm using your legs to create a triangle shape. This puts pressure on your opponent’s carotid arteries and can lead to a submission or rendering your opponent unconscious.
To set up a fundamental triangle choke, you often work from the guard position. You use your legs to control your opponent’s posture and your hand for head control, then using your free hand, you push the same-side arm of your opponent through your legs and shoot your hips up high towards their face, while locking down their shoulder with your leg, making sure your shin is going across both shoulders. Then, maneuver into a position where you can lock the ankle of the top side leg behind the knee of your other leg, creating a triangle shape around their neck and arm, and pull their head down as you squeeze everything together. Properly applied pressure with this technique can force your opponent to tap out due to the lack of blood flow to the brain.
These three submissions are considered essential fundamental techniques in BJJ due to their high percentage of success when applied correctly. However, it’s important to note that BJJ is a vast and diverse martial art, and there are numerous other effective submissions and techniques to explore and master as you progress in your training. Jiu Jitsu can be compared to a game of chess, and whoever has the most moves, counters, and set ups in their arsenal, has the advantage.