The Best BJJ Submissions For Smaller People

In most sports, being shorter or smaller than your opponent can be an extreme disadvantage.

Thankfully, when it comes to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, superb techniques will mostly work regardless of your size and the size of your opponent. If you are coming up against a bigger and stronger opponent, there are still many ways to submit and defeat them, but you might need to look for particular submissions that are slightly more effective against this type of body frame.

Throw away the kimura, Americana, arm-in chokes, or any other submission that factors the strength of your opponent into the equation. Instead, you should focus on the rear naked choke, leg locks, and different chokes that don’t require an arm-in to finish.

Today, Evolve Vacation brings you “Best BJJ Submissions For Smaller People”.

The preferable submissions for a smaller practitioner are naturally tied to the overall strategy that you should be focusing on to overcome a larger opponent.

Firstly, you obviously don’t want to be pulling his weight on top of you, so that rules out pulling guard. Once a massive opponent is applying a cross-face or any other type of notable pressure, you are going to have a hard time shaking out of the position. You can forget about submissions if you are stuck here, focus on survival instead.

Secondly, one of the most exceptional strategies against a larger opponent is the arm drag. Secure a grip on his arm and attempt to manipulate his balance so that you can scoot in, dig hooks, and secure the back. Once you have taken the back, the weight is not much of a factor anymore. You can use your techniques to beat his defenses and then eventually look for the rear-naked choke.

When you think about it, chokes are one of the few universal submissions out there. It does not matter how big or strong an opponent is, if you have a rear naked choke wrapped around his neck, it is all over.

If you manage to get top position against a stronger opponent, many of the submission types are still likely to be ineffective. Any joint lock that is applied from top control could be resisted just with strength. Of course, if you are wearing a gi, you can look for the baseball bat choke or a loop choke and submit your opponent that way.

However, your opponent might not always be wearing a gi, so let’s focus our strategies on either taking the back and attacking the neck or exploring the leg lock game against bigger opponents.


Submissions from the back

As mentioned earlier, you should be looking to utilize arm drags to get to the back.

Once you are there, it is time to start focusing on controlling your opponent. Effective control will, of course, frustrate and fatigue the larger opponent all while you are looking for submissions. You also mitigate the weight advantage by pointing his limbs away from your body.

In the video featured above, Emily Kwok demonstrates many essential techniques and strategies for a smaller person who has taken the back.

We all know the importance of the ‘seatbelt’ grip and Kwok explains the exact reasons behind its value. Primarily, with proper control over his shoulder, you can prevent your opponent from getting his back to the mat and beginning to escape. Keep your chest close to his back, and then you can start looking for many different chokes. If they are wearing a gi, you can attempt a bow and arrow choke. With the choking hand, you can reach in for the collar and wrap deep behind the collar before finishing the choke.

Whether it is gi or no-gi, you can attempt the rear naked choke from the back. The video above features some fascinating ways to hand-fight with your opponent and trap his wrist to secure a 2-on-1 position.

Getting to the back should be a primary objective against anyone, but it is especially important against a larger opponent.


Attacking the legs

You know what a bigger and stronger opponent cannot stop with his strength? Leg attacks, of course!

Now, more than ever before, practitioners are learning useful entries into the honey hole (saddle) position and looking for various leg lock submissions. With brilliant technique, you can trap an opponent of any size in a leg entanglement and keep him from escaping.

One of the clear reasons why leg attacks are beneficial for smaller people is that when you are attacking the legs, you will stop your opponent from applying weight or pressure. His weight will almost entirely be on the floor, so you do not have to deal with the difficulties of his size.

In the video above, BJJ World Champion Bruno Pucci from the EVOLVE Fight Team explains a basic heel hook technique, and we will primarily focus on this submission.

This particular entry begins from the open guard position. Firstly, you will need to secure your opponent’s heel to control his leg with your hand. Then, you can use your opposite leg to push away his far leg and create space. With this additional space, you can then shoot your leg inside and around his leg that you are controlling to wrap around. From this position, all you need to do is lift your hips to disrupt his balance. You can finish the sweep by hooking his far leg. You can then use that same leg to hook over your leg that is wrapped and secure a triangle lock on the leg you are now attacking.

While your opponent is trapped here, strength and size are soon forgotten. It’s time to begin hunting for the submission now.

Tuck his foot into the armpit and then wrap underneath the heel to secure the proper grip. Next, all you need to do is think about pointing his toes toward his lower back. This twisting motion will apply force to the knee that is now locked down thanks to your triangle.

While these are only the fundamental elements of securing the position and attacking the heel, the videos above will help you understand the correct technique. Of course, if there are any questions, go ahead and ask your instructor before attempting a heel hook in class.


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