Vital to the BJJ Lifestyle Team – Submission Escapes

Featured photo – Ciao Terra. At 8 stone 9 lbs, this man is a human weapon – pictured applying a Triangle choke.

Truly a passion of mine – I have spent a lot of time looking for answers to submissions people have applied to me. I made the decision to hunt for answers to submission attempts early on as a grappler wanting to have at least one well-practiced escape for all common submissions. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a fascinating art and the more you study the more your passion grows.

It isn’t always possible to be the victor in every match – but if I can’t dominate my opponent and submit them, I want to at least survive the onslaught. Good defence is critical and often you can shut attacks down before they become more dangerous. Having a good understanding and recognition of the steps someone needs to take to achieve a submission can be a very good start to understanding how to survive. If you can read the opponent’s intentions you can make sure you are using preventative measures to slow down and then destroy an opponent’s attack. Good positioning and understanding what gives an opponent openings will keep you safe.

Sometimes the person you are fighting will use set ups to force you to commit to being in a certain position or you may have no choice but to expose yourself slightly to deal with a submission attempt made by your opponent who is working hard to progress their position. This game is played by very experienced grapplers and when they force you to react a certain way they will already be waiting for you – possibly with another submission attempt.

The best time to deal with a submission attempt is early on in the first stages of the sub being applied. I read a fantastic book once which was co-written by Helio and Royler Gracie. They described ‘being early’, ‘being on time’ and ‘being late’. Recognising submission attempts in the early stages helps you to shut down a potentially dangerous situation. If you are ‘late’ – you are in trouble and will need to rely on the submission escape you have practiced that really is your final chance of survival before needing to tap out.

There are submission escapes for all submissions and I believe having a super strong defence and battery of escapes brings confidence that helps you focus on your attacking game. As a further area of interest, understanding defences and escapes makes you better equipped for attacking because you will understand what someone needs to do to defend or escape and can cleverly spoil their defences to force them to leave openings.

Once you know how to technically escape from being triangled, arm bared or guillotined, you are well on your way to having an easier time when sparring. As I’ve said previously though, I believe you have to struggle and suffer to really appreciate the beauty in the art that arrives with the breakthroughs. The first time I visited Brazil, I lost count of the number of times I was tapped – and because of this experience, finding the answers was very rewarding.

We will all have limited time to practice at BJJ Lifestyle Team – but I want to make sure we are dedicating a lot of time to defences and escapes so that we can all survive in difficult sparring or competition situations.