If you're a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu enthusiast, then you know that the submission is the ultimate goal. There are many different submissions in BJJ, but some are more effective than others.
In this blog post, I will discuss the 10 most effective Brazilian Jiu Jitsu submissions. These submissions have been proven to work time and time again in competition, so if you're looking to improve your game, be sure to add them to your arsenal.
Table of Contents
Submission #1: The rear naked choke (RNC)
The first submission on the list is the rear naked choke. You will most likely learn this submission in your first class and if not, you will in your early BJJ learning stages.
The rear naked choke, also known as the sleeper hold, is a strangle submission that you execute when you have your opponent's back.
The RNC is very effective in both gi, no-gi, MMA and street fight situations. It is by far the submission with the highest finishing rate in submission grappling competitions.
Here is an excellent video from ADCC medalist Lachlan Giles on how to apply the RNC:
Submission #2: Cross collar choke
If you are not learning the RNC in your first BJJ class, then you will most likely study this submission.
The cross collar choke is executed by utilizing the collars of your opponent's gi to block blood flow into the brain, making him or her to be choked out.
Because it utilizes the collars, this choke is only applicable in the gi situation or in a street fight if your opponent is wearing a jacket with a thick collar.
While this is one of the most basic submissions taught to beginners, it is also the most difficult one to master. A master practitioner of this choke is the great Roger Gracie.
The second submission is the triangle choke. This choke is extremely versatile and can be applied from many different positions. It is also a very powerful choke, so it is definitely one of the most effective submissions in BJJ.
Here is a video of Roger teaching the basics of the cross collar choke:
Submission #3: The triangle choke
This is a more advanced choking technique. Sometimes you might learn this on your first BJJ class and unlike the previous two, it is more likely you will find it more difficult to get more reps drilling this choke.
The triangle choke is basically what made me want to study BJJ. I saw it for the first time during the early UFC days when Royce Gracie choked out Dan Severn using the technique. That was the first time I ever saw somebody getting choked out despite having top position.
This submission basically chokes out your opponent using a leg configuration that resembles a triangle. You can execute it from anywhere but the most common triangles are executed when you are playing guard or on the bottom.
The triangle choke is very effective in go, no gi, MMA and street fight situations. Here is a video of Lachlan teaching the technique:
Submission #4: The arm bar
The fourth submission is the basic yet battle tested arm bar.
This submission aims to hyper-extend your opponent's arm causing it to break or to be dislocated completely. It is a very versatile submission that you can get from almost any position.
The most basic arm bar is from the top mount and it is also one of Roger Gracie's signature finish other than the cross collar choke. Here is a video of him teaching the details of the arm bar from the top mount:
Submission #5: The Kimura
The Kimura is another submission that attacks the arm. The difference with the arm bar is that you are going to hyper extend your opponent's shoulder so that it pops out if they do not tap.
The submission's name came from Masahiko Kimura, a Japanese judoka who submitted Helio Gracie using the technique.
It is a very versatile submission because you can use it in the gi, no gi, MMA and street fights. The Kimura is also useful as a form of control in which you can use to sweep your opponent or get to the back for another attack.
Here is a good video tutorial on how to do a Kimura from the guard:
Submission #6: The Americana
The Americana is also a shoulder lock like the Kimura but the grip and finishing are different.
Unlike the Kimura, the Americana is less versatile. Only certain positions are better for the Americana and it is also less efficient as a controlling tool.
Nevertheless, it is one of the basic submissions that work in all levels of competitions and in different situations from gi, no gi, MMA to street fights.
Here is a video on how to do the Americana from ADCC and IBJJF champion Andre Galvao:
Submission #7: The knee bar
Like the name suggests, this submission has similar breaking mechanics like the arm bar but you hyper extend your opponent's knee instead.
The knee bar is only legal for brown belt above in IBJJF competitions both for gi and no gi. It is also very effective in MMA fights and self defense situations provided that you know what you are doing.
The most common knee bar entry is when you are in half guard - either playing top or bottom - or when you are in your opponent's de la Riva guard.
Here is a video on how to do the knee bar from top half guard by Dean Lister:
Submission #8: The straight foot lock (Botinha)
The straight foot lock is the most basic leg submission that is legal from white belt level in IBJJF competitions both for gi and no gi.
This submission basically aims to separate your opponent's foot from the shin by hyper extending the soft tissues in the ankle.
Despite being "basic", this submission can be very dangerous if you know how to manipulate the breaking mechanics to be far more devastating like Mikey Musumeci teaches in his instructional Death From Below at BJJ Fanatics. You can read my review of this instructional here.
The straight foot lock is very effective in the gi and no gi. I do not recommend this technique for MMA and street fight situations because this technique works mainly by sacrificing top position.
To do a basic straight foot lock, here is a free video instructional from Mikey himself:
Submission #9: The toe hold
The toe hold is another devastating leg submission that is only legal for brown belt above in IBJJF competitions.
Toe holds can cause an ankle sprain, which is a very common injury. The submission can also put pressure on the shin and travel up to the knee, damaging the collateral ligaments inside the knee.
The toe hold is very effective in the gi and no gi. For MMA and street fight situations, you will need to know how to execute this submission from the top position if possible.
Here is a great video on how to execute a powerful toe hold by world champion Victor Hugo:
Submission #10: The heel hook
This is considered as the most dangerous submission in all of grappling. It is completely illegal in IBJJF gi competitions and in no gi it is only legal for brown belt above.
There are two variations: outside and inside heel hook with the latter is the more dangerous one.
The heel hook if applied completely has the potency to break your legs in three different parts - the ankle, the shin and the knee - at the same time. You will need to practice this one with caution.
The heel hook is very effective in no gi competitions. In MMA, it can be very effective against fighters who have limited leg lock knowledge. And in street fights, I do not advise using it because like the straight foot lock, you will need to sacrifice top position to get it.
Here is Garry Tonon, one of the best leg lock artists, teaches how to do an inside heel hook:
To wrap it up....
If you want to improve your chances of getting the submission victory on the mat, take a look at the 10 submissions I’ve outlined above.
All of these moves have been proven effective in competition and can be added to your game with a little bit of practice.
And if you need some help perfecting these techniques, check out BJJ Fanatics – they have everything you need to improve your submissions.