Here’s Why Submission Chains Are So Important In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The quickest way to develop a dangerous submission game is to practice, understand, and execute a wide variety of submissions.

Once you have established a sense of survival, some reliable escapes, and multiple ways to pass the guard, it is time to begin studying the ways to thread submissions together seamlessly.

A submission chain is simply a sequence that progresses from one submission to another. For example, you can transition between the armbar, triangle choke, and omoplata submission quickly, depending on the movements of your opponent.

Executing these submission chains takes more than just an ability to comprehend each individual submission. Instead, it not only requires an understanding of the submission but an ability to foresee the opportunity. With anticipation, you can chain submissions together all while maintaining control of the position.

Today, Evolve Vacation brings you “The Importance Of Submission Chains In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu”.

The importance of submission chains

Submission chains and sequences are pieces that you must add to your game. There’s no question about it.

It is not just for competitive purposes, but also to reinforce learning as well.

Most BJJ schools all over the world teach a random assortment of submissions that changes from week-to-week. That is the unified approach and has proved to be sufficient for many. However, a more appropriate solution is to fully understand each submission and how they all relate to one another. Ideally, the student can begin to piece the puzzles and assemble their preferred flow or series of moves and techniques.

Every practitioner has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Learning an armbar setup from mount might not be as valuable to the martial artist who prefers to attack from other positions. However, for the martial artist who enjoys attempting submissions from the mount position, this is a new tool that can blend in with their existing catalog of attacks.

An inability to chain submissions together is one of the primary reasons why students plateau for weeks, months, and maybe even a year or two.

In response to this, we need a logical sequence of steps that we can apply, practice, and eventually master if we want to progress.


It begins with control

Before listing some particularly useful submission chains, it is important to note the reality of how these submissions eventuate.

You are not going to be able to transition to another submission from an armbar attempt every time. This is especially the case if you are unable to control your opponent. If you aggressively hunt the submission and give up some elements of control, the potential to chain attacks will immediately disappear.

It is always important to consider controlling your opponent while attempting to submit them. If they happen to escape your attempt, you can still work back to your position of control and continue with the match.


Armbar > Triangle > Omoplata

This combination of submissions is one of the most common and certainly one of the easiest to understand. It is also an excellent introduction to the idea of continuing submissions without friction.

In the video above, Alexandre “Pulga” Pimentel demonstrates the process of combining these three submissions.

Firstly, it begins with an armbar attempt from full guard. We will not cover all of the concepts regarding an armbar submission today, but essentially you are setting up a standard armbar from the full guard position. However, moments before raising your hips to apply the armbar, your opponent will attempt to escape the submission by removing his arm from danger.

Without knowledge of this submission chain, you might have given up on the idea of attacking your opponent after losing the armbar. However, his decision to remove his arm from danger has created the opportunity for a triangle choke finish in this situation. Open your legs and then cross them in a triangle position to finish the choke.

In this case, if your opponent postures up and puts his arms on your chest, you can quickly divert to an omoplata submission and apply pressure to his shoulder.

It is a genuinely fascinating sequence of submissions, and understanding how to execute this combination will help you increase the success rate of your submission attempts.


Choke sequences

Chaining together different choking techniques can work surprisingly well in both gi and no-gi Jiu-Jitsu.

A notable series is switching between arm triangle chokes. In the video above, Seph Smith explains the concepts behind changing from an arm triangle submission from side control to a modified arm triangle (Ezekiel Choke) as a response to a counter.

It begins with the arm triangle in side control. You should be able to finish this submission by forming a triangle and applying pressure with your chest into the side of your opponent’s neck. The best strategy for your opponent is to move away from you. By moving into you, he makes the choke harder to escape. So when he turns away, Smith recommends maintaining the choking grip while sliding your opposite hand around the back of his head to form the triangle. You can sit from this position and apply the modified Ezekiel choke from the back.

What’s particularly interesting about these submission chains is that we are naturally responding and providing an additional puzzle for any opponent who is reacting to our first submission attempt. If they do not react, they are submitted. If they do react, you now have moves ready.


Forming your sequences

As dangerous as these two submission sequences can be, it is also important to consider how to string together your favorite submissions when possible.

You do not have to go and reinvent the wheel by creating a new inversion-based submission sequence, or anything else that is bizarre, but you can transition from basic submissions to another. For example, you might be sparring one day and realize that while attempting the Americana, your opponent’s response is to bring their other hand through and connect. If you can anticipate this movement next time, you can ‘bait’ the Americana and then snatch their incoming hand and arm to attempt an armbar submission.

Your first submission does not have to be the one that you finish. Instead, it can act as a way to force your opponent to react and make decisions that you are already anticipating.

As always, you can develop your flow and submission chaining by rolling with teammates after class as much as possible. Slow down and pay attention to the subtle movements and responses from your partners while sparring.


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