After rolling, my students and I had a discussion about submissions. Specifically, they wanted to know what they could do to tap more people out.
Of course if your opponent has much less experience than you do it is far easier. An inexperienced opponent will make mistakes, will not see your attack coming, and will not know the correct counter.
But those easy submissions start to become scarce as your opponent’s get more experienced.
So how can we develop a better submission strategy?
Ask yourself the question: “How will my opponent react if I release the control?”
One of the best training methods is one I call “catch and release.” Let’s say that you have a pretty good armlock. When you are rolling with a less experienced partner, if you catch the armlock position there is a high probability that you can finish the lock and get the tap if you really want to.
Instead of finishing the submission, I want you to loosen your grips and allow your partner to escape your submission. Release your right control and watch closely what the opponent wants to do.
Which way do they try to go? What are the various natural reactions that your opponents do?
With the knowledge of how they will attempt to escape it will help your submission skills in a few different ways.
1) You can be extra aware of their escape routes and prevent their escapes when you do want to finish your submission. You can do this by taking an extra moment to apply pressure or using a strategic grip to stop them dead in their tracks before they can escape.
2) You will be able to look for the next attack in combination when the opponent has escaped your original attack. Let’s say they performed the “hitchhiker” escape from the mounted armlock. You are ready to instantly switch to your omoplata combination. Your opponent finds themselves “out of the frying pan and into the fire!”
3) When the opponent starts to escape, you will have more advanced knowledge of the transitions and can beat them to the next position. Have you ever rolled with a black belt and felt that they were always several steps ahead of you? This is one of the main reasons why. They know the common routes and transitions.
Try catch and release for a submission strategy.