When it comes to countering submission attacks, have you ever considered that there are different strategies?
Let’s take a look at two different strategies:
1) Stalling / surviving the position
This example shows what we call a “late stage” counter. The opponent has already secured the submission and is applying it.
In the words of the inimitable Kurt Osiander, “You ****** up a long time ago!” At this point your first priority is to not tap. Survive the submission first.
The problem is that you may have stymied the attack, but you are still stuck in the bad position. You still have a lot of work to do before you are out of trouble.
Sometimes this is your only option.
2) Escaping and improving your position
In this excellent escape from the arm triangle choke, coach Firas Zahabi not only avoids the tap, but scrambles to a superior position.
Escaping the submission and advancing your position is the better of the two options. Not only are you avoiding the tap, but you are improving your position up to a safer or even dominant position.
This is easier to do if you are anticipating the attack earlier and not allowing the opponent to tighten their grips and settle their weight on you. If you allow the opponent to really tighten the attack, escaping is going to be much more difficult. You might end up tapping.
Take a deeper look at your various counters and understand which counters merely stop the submission and which also allow you to escape it.