The Jiu Jitsu Times Weekly Challenge: Position Instead of Submission

Photo by: Blanca Marisa Garcia

Very often in training we lose sight of WHY we roll and the real benefits of rolling.  Rolling is meant to simulate situations in which we may need to use jiu jitsu, either in a physical altercation or in a competition.  It’s also part of the fun of jiu jitsu.  Sometimes, it’s good to have a rolling method that is a bit safer and less combative than normal.

For this week’s Jiu Jitsu Times Weekly Challenge: do not submit your training partners for at least 3 rolls per training session.  By this I don’t mean don’t successfully submit people, I mean don’t go for submissions, at all.  Use position, control the other person, but don’t submit them.

This exercise will provide you with several useful benefits:

  1. If you come up against an opponent at a tournament that you simply cannot submit, this exercise will help you have an easier time controlling them and transitioning to potentially better positions.
  2. In self defense situations sometimes it’s better to focus on position before submission, sometimes in the action of trying to secure the submission you wind up exposing yourself to the other person’s friends.
  3. A training method that will help you benefit from training with new guys.  The reality is that a new guy on the mat is as much as risk to themselves as they are a risk to you in their spazzyness, in becoming adept at positional control, you can work with newer students in a safer smarter way.
  4. As already mentioned: training method that will help you roll better with people on whom, for whatever reason, you don’t want to hit submissions.

If for whatever reason you feel that this exercise can’t help you, chances are your mentality when rolling in the gym should change.  Positional understanding and control is far more valuable than submission because more often than not the submission can and will present itself once the position has been sufficiently secured.

As you get better at holding the position, start to work on transitioning to other positions.  Learn to take someone’s back from mount, learn to use side control to force the other person to further give up position.

Also, focus on improving your pressure if you do decide to hold the position.  Just because you’re not cranking on joints or cutting off air/blood doesn’t mean that your training partners should be comfortable as you improve your position.  I like to ask for feedback on my pressure so that when I am competing and obtain top position my opponents are down right miserable.

So, try this challenge!  Let us know what you think and if it helps your training this week.  We’ll see you next time for the Jiu Jitsu Times Weekly Challenge!

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Emil Fischer is an active purple belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training at Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Training Center near Cleveland Ohio ( For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at and Emil is sponsored by Meerkatsu (, discount code EmilKatsu) Pony Club Grappling Gear (, The Original Amy Joy Donuts ( mention Emil Fischer when visiting), Valor Fightwear ( discount code COOKIES), Cleveland Cryo ( discount code EmilCryo,) Code Chiro, CannaBody ( discount code EmilCanna) Impact Mouthguards ( discount code EMILIMPACT), North South Jiu Jitsu Underwear, Hydrus ( discount code COOKIES) as well as a brand ambassador for Ludwig Van ( discount code FAMILY).

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