Every single submission is dangerous and poses the risk of injury or death if somebody fails to tap out or release quick enough.
Some submissions are very popular and even the most casual MMA or BJJ knows when they are caught in one of these and needs to tap.
For example, everyone knows the rear naked choke and the armbar. Most people will be able to identify the danger of these submissions and get out of it via tap out easily.
But a number of submissions are so rare and deceptive yet still pose the same amount of dangerous risks, if not more. People who have trained in years might have not been aware of being caught in one of these, let alone those who are fairly new and just start training.
I have been caught in some of these rare submissions during free rolls and fortunately, my training partners so far have the decency to let me know about the potential danger when I am trapped so that I could tap out in time.
You can’t never trust people all the time, though. There will be times you will roll with somebody reckless or just forget to tell you that you are being caught in a submission and before you know it, something snaps. So, it is important to know these 7 rare submissions to identify if you are being caught in one and how to survive them without serious injuries.
#1 Baseball choke from bottom side control
One of my coaches has made this submission his signature move. He let me pass his guard to a side control position and just when I thought I had him, everything turned darker and I nearly passed out. This choke is so deceptive because your partner basically gives you everything that you want: the guard pass, the side control and even the underhook and crossface. Lots of purple belts and higher ranks do this to unsuspecting white belts during free rolls. The morale of this is to never trust purple belts above that allow you to pass their guards easily.
#2 Bicep slicer from lasso guard
Unsuspecting new white belts are also vulnerable to this submission. Like the baseball choke from bottom side control, your partner basically lures you for the pass by giving you the leg drag. Once you are trapped, the bicep slicer is set up and if you ever find your arm in the position shown in the video above, tap out as soon as possible. A fully executed bicep slicer can break your arm in at least two places and fuck up your shoulder and elbow joints at the same time. This submission is illegal to be used in IBJJF competitions below purple belt level.
#3 The Pace choke
Also known as the broken triangle, this submission can catch you out of nowhere just when you think you have neutralized your partner’s triangle attempt and get ready for the over-under pass. This choke uses the same principle as the triangle but by not using the other leg to squeeze for the finish. The substitute for the other leg is the forearm that sneaks under your throat for the squeeze.
#4 Caio Terra’s de la Riva foot lock
The most common position for the foot lock set up is from the single leg X-guard. The great Caio Terra, however, decided to experiment the foot lock straight from the de la Riva guard and the result is one sneaky and very painful submission ever known to mankind. The breaking point and the pressure on your ankle is much higher in this variation so be sure to tap out quickly if you still want to walk normally after training.
#5 The Estima lock
The Estima lock is another example of sneaky and dangerously painful foot lock. It is basically a toe hold using pressure from your belly and squeeze from your forearm. The toe hold submission itself is illegal for BJJ competitions under IBJJF except for the black belt level. The Estima lock, however, is legal for all adult belt divisions (including white) because the IBJJF does not recognize it as a toe hold despite of having the same breaking point mechanics.
#6 The lock up calf slicer
Some senior BJJ students are very flexible with their feet and toes that they can sneakily set this submission up. This submission is no joke and you might not be aware of it before it is too late. It is practically a calf slicer and like the bicep slicer, only purple belts above are allowed to use it in IBJJF competitions.
#7 Toe hold from bottom mount
Again, white belts should not trust high ranking belts who are in the bottom mount. They might be experiencing with this devastating foot lock, which basically a toe hold using the thighs from the bottom. This submission feels like shit. Trust me, I know because I have been caught in it once.
There are, of course, more than 7 rare submissions. The submission grappling game continues to evolve and people are innovating new stuffs every day. Go train every chance you can to develop more awareness and trust your instructor and your rolling partners to keep you safe. If they tell you that a submission is coming, best believe them and tap out.
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