Setting The Trap

Around blue belt level many BJJ students find that their favorite submission attacks start to diminish in effectiveness against opponents with similar experience.

This is mostly for two reasons:

1) The opponents are often not making simple mistakes like giving their backs or leaving an arm inside while guard passing for an easy triangle.

2) The opponents can identify the attack and prepare a strong defense or counter technique. It is often easier to defend an attack than it is to catch the submission.

In order to get those submissions working effectively again, some strategy is necessary. The next time you watch a technique demonstrated by a high-level black belt, instead of focusing on the mechanics of the technique, listen more closely to the beginning description, which will most likely explain how to set up the technique.

I spoke to a 145-pound, highly-skilled black belt about his submission strategy, and he explained how he was setting it up:

I control the opponent in a position but allow them one route to escape by creating some space. But I am ready with a submission attack when they try to escape through that hole. I set a trap.

He continued:

I time it so that when they go to escape, I use my entire body to attack the submission with 100% commitment!

By allowing opponents to see an “easy” escape route, they are tempted to escape through the hole that you have seemingly forgotten to cover. Since you are two steps ahead of them, you can use the element of surprise. Your opponents think they are getting out, but they are falling into your trap instead.

I spoke with another black belt who described it this way:

There are two ways to get a submission:

1) You overcome the opponent’s defense with your superior leverage (think of Roger Gracie’s mounted cross choke).

2) Allow them to escape and catch them by surprise in the transition.

I almost got out of Mike’s side control three times but he somehow caught me in a choke every time!

Check out Magid Hage setting a trap for his famous baseball bat choke from the bottom half guard.

Are you using straight ahead single attacks on your sweep and submission attacks, or setting up traps to catch your opponent by surprise?

Read also on Jiu-jitsu Times: Why Does Jiu-jitsu Work Against A Bigger Opponent?


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