Buck Fever: Why You Are Missing Submissions

According to Urban Dictionary, buck fever (second definition) is a condition hunters get. Its symptoms include “jumpy-ness, seeing a buck deer when there is a doe, or no deer at all. Hunters with buck fever need to be extremely careful of their shot and target.”

Watching my students roll last night in BJJ class, I saw something that tends to repeat itself often at a certain belt level: submission buck fever.

Allow me to explain further. A student I was watching was able to dominate his opponent positionally, pass guard, establish side control, and step over into mount.

Great! Well done!

However, soon things started to unravel.

He got to mount and his opponent immediately started to bridge and try his best to escape. Instead of taking his time to establish the position and countering his opponent’s escape, he got excited and tried to snatch the arm bar from mount.

However, he did not have sufficient control over the opponent before falling back into the arm bar. The arm bar was loose and the opponent on bottom freed his elbow and rolled to the top position.

Not only did student #1 miss the arm lock submission, but he now found himself on the bottom, having lost his hard-won mount position.

This scenario is played out very often in every BJJ class, and I am fond of calling this tendency among two and three-stripe white belts “buck fever”.

The students at this experience level have grasped the various positions in BJJ and have some submissions that they feel confident to try.

But they fail when they are in too big of a hurry. They get to a position and, without controlling the opponent first, leap at the first submission. We see this frequently when guys throw up a triangle as soon as they arrive in guard, but don’t set up the triangle properly.  The result is that their guard is soon passed.

So, how do you cure buck fever?

Calm down.


Take your time and stabilize the position, and only then go for the submission.

Read also on Jiu-Jitsu Times: How Much Self Defense Do You Need?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here