Submission vs Position

Hey what do you think on this fine day? Training already checked off the list or maybe you’re heading in tonight. The weekend is here and it’s time to relax, right? Whatever your plans include, I thought I’d take a moment to discuss position and submission! I’ll be honest, it was hard for me to get a clear eye on how this was going to go.

It’s on all our minds. That one guy or gal that we just want to submit or reign supreme over in points… the one that kicked our tail at whichever tourney, wiped the mat with your face and called it a day; while you were still trying to figure out what in the hellll happened?! Game was solid, training was intense, you were on point dammit! The struggle is real. And truth be told it’s not really about that person, but about what they represent. They become the symbol of that day, match, turning point … where the internal battle you’d waged, and won, has begun again! They represent the doubt, the fury, and the fear – because just as you’d felt like you were starting to “get it,” they came along and shot your entire game plan to crap! It’s ok buddy, that’s the journey. This internal battle wages on, and the intrinsic reward comes from keepin’ on keepin’ on! But still, you want to show them, and yourself, that you’ve grown (and are ready to put a world of BJJ knowledge on their head…)

Question supreme!!! Submission or position?! Do you set up the armbar and go in for the kill, or are you maintaining your position possibly racking up those points? While everyone’s game is each unto their own, I can’t help but wonder… It’s just you, jiu-jitsu and your opponent. What will you do? Points & position or submit? Switch it up depending on the opponent?

I recently posted Rorion Gracie speaking on the history of Gracie jiu-jitsu and its journey from Brazil to the U.S. Japanese jiu-jitsu demanded those physical attributes “which my father did not possess; speed, strength, and agility. He modified what he was seeing and this transformation brought the birth of what we see today- Brazilian jiu-jitsu.” Literally, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an art developed by a man who had the small and weak in mind.

Even if you are a submission lover you have to be in the correct position to implement your sub! So then I thought well really, when we talk of position we mean dominant positioning; controlling your opponent while on top, taking the back, etc. Even still, there’s no sub without that positioning! And what about the subs while on your back? From a self-defense or MMA standpoint, I don’t think being on your back (ie: opponent in your guard) is the best place to be. Even if you have a sick triangle set-up that gets ’em every time! There are people who feel the sub is everything. Watching jiu-jitsu practitioners battle it out can be pretty exciting or it can be boring. If you have mount and get your points, knee on belly and get your points, transition to force the turtle and get your points…

Points are designed to reward the person in dominant position. But here’s the dilemma! Here’s the question royale: you’re battling it out, the first person to be able to solidify their position not only gets points, but will most likely be able to submit you! It’s awesome if you want to learn submissions, but making sure you have solid basics and understanding transitions and positioning is imperative.

So when someone says to you, “I go for the sub every time.” Re-evaluate what they’re really telling you. There isn’t a sub if you’re not set-up; and you’re not set-up if you’re not in position.



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