Once you’ve mastered basic jiu jitsu techniques and movements, the final step is to apply finishes and make your partner tap. This is called a submission and ends the match, giving you a win. Submissions during practice should be done slowly to ensure you don’t hurt your partner. Additionally, it is important to tap sooner rather than later. If the submission feels secure and you cannot escape it, go ahead and tap; if you wait until it hurts, you could end up injured and out of practice for a few weeks. The following submissions are common to see within your first few months of BJJ, and can be done in the gi and no-gi.
5 Basic Submissions
- Arm Bar/Arm Lock
The armbar is a basic yet powerful submission that can be done from just about every position. The armbar aims to hyperextend your partner’s arm, on the elbow joint. Using your arms, legs and hips, you will be able to isolate your opponent’s arm and control the rest of their body. It is oftentimes the first submission learned, but is extremely versatile and a regular part of even the most advanced practitioner.
Another fundamental BJJ submission is the kimura. By using both your arms to push your opponent’s arm up their back beyond the normal range of motion while controlling their body, you can almost always secure a tap. The kimura targets the shoulder joint and is most commonly done from closed guard, mount and side control.
- Americana/Chicken Wing
The Americana also targets the opponent’s shoulder, but in the opposite way, bending their elbow toward the ceiling while controlling the arm and stopping other movements. Some gyms and coaches refer to it as a ‘paintbrush’ because it almost simulates painting as you bring their elbow up, keeping the back of their hand firmly on the mat. Like the kimura, they are commonly done from closed guard, mount, and side control.
- Triangle Choke
Originally from judo, the triangle choke is generally initiated from the closed guard, but can also be attacked from mount, open guard, back mount and standing. Because of its versatility in positions, the triangle is a popular and common BJJ submission. It is done when your partner’s head and one arm are trapped between your legs, leading to a choke. Adults will pull down on the head to make it tighter, but in many competitions, kids may not do so and must instead tighten with only their legs.
- Rear Naked Choke
The rear-naked choke is done from the back mount, immobilizing and compressing the opponent’s neck from behind. Your forearms will apply the choke from both the front and back of the neck, cutting off the ability to breathe. It is a tight choke and can be modified if needed. The back mount position is advantageous in that it sets up many choke variations, the rear-naked choke being the most basic.