Submissions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) are methods used to make an opponent tap out or submit, indicating that they are in a position of weakness or are unable to defend themselves. In order to work, submissions often inflict pain, discomfort, or a loss of function on the joints (such as the elbow or shoulder) or on the muscles and tendons (such as the biceps or the Achilles tendon).
The numerous submissions that are employed in BJJ can be divided into the following groups:
- Joint Locks
In this guide, we’ll go over individual BJJ submissions in the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and how you may go about learning them. Read here to learn more about BJJ techniques.
These BJJ submissions involve putting pressure on a joint in a way that makes it hard or impossible for the opponent to move. Leg locks, like the heel hook or the kneebar, wrist locks, and arm locks, like the armbar or the Americana, are all examples.
Armbar: A move in which the opponent’s arm is stretched out and pressure is put on the elbow joint to make them give up. Typically performed from a closed guard, mount, side control, or knee on belly. This is also a common submission or ippon in Newaza in Judo.
Americana: A method in which the opponent is forced to submit by exerting pressure on the shoulder joint. Usually done from mount or side control.
Kimura: a BJJ submission move in which the opponent is forced to give up by putting pressure on the elbow and shoulder joints. Usually done from closed guard, half guard or side control.
Omoplata: A move in which the opponent’s arm is caught between the opponent’s legs and pressure is applied to the shoulder joint, causing the opponent to submit.
Heel hook: A move in which the opponent is forced to submit by exerting pressure on your opponents knee by controlling their heel. It is considered an advanced moved and not even legal until someone is a purple belt in most tournaments. There are variations of the heel hook, namely the inside heel hook and outside heel hook.
Kneebar: A move in which pressure is applied to the knee joint to get the opponent to submit.
Straight Ankle lock: A move in which the opponent is forced to submit by exerting pressure on the ankle joint.
Toe hold: A move in which the opponent is forced to submit by applying pressure to the toes.
Wrist lock: A move in which the opponent is made to tap out by exerting pressure on the wrist.
Chokes are BJJ submissions that focus on either constricting blood flow to an opponent’s brain or constricting air into an opponent’s lungs. The names for these groups are ‘blood chokes’ and ‘air chokes’.
Chokes are amongst the most effective BJJ submissions and the most likely to illicit a “tap” or even an opponent’s surrender in a self defense situation since they can quite literally pass out from these chokes. In contrast, a joint lock can sometimes not illicit a tap if your opponent has a high tolerance to pain.
Rear Naked Choke (RNC): In the rear naked choke, your arm is used to exert pressure to your opponent’s windpipe as you attack their neck from behind. Because it is frequently executed from behind and doesn’t need using the opponent’s clothing as leverage, it is known as a “rear naked choke.” It is most often done from the rear mount position. The rear naked choke is the most common form of submission in MMA.
Guillotine Choke: This choke involves using your arm to encircle the opponent’s neck and applying pressure to their windpipe. It can be applied from a standing position or from the guard (a position where the opponent is on top and you are on your back).
You can use a grip akin to a front headlock while standing to grab the opponent’s neck with one arm. The next step is to pull your arm tightly around their neck while using your other hand to force their head down. The opponent will experience pressure on their windpipe as a result, making it challenging for them to breathe.
Triangle Choke: This choke involves using your legs to encircle the opponent’s neck and one of their arms, while applying pressure to their neck with your thighs. It can be applied from the closed guard position but also the mount position. The triangle choke is one of the most common and effective jiu jitsu submissions.
Arm Triangle Choke/ Head and Arm Choke: The arm triangle choke is similar to the triangle choke, but involves using your arm (instead of your legs) to encircle the opponent’s neck and apply pressure against your opponent’s arm which applies pressure to their neck. It can be applied from the side mount (a position where you are on top and to the side of the opponent) or from the guard.
Anaconda Choke: A choke that is usually done from front top-turtle position. You entrap your opponents neck and arm within your grip and at the same time undercut your opponent. This movement flips your opponent on their back – similar to how an anaconda would flip prey. While you and your opponent are on your backs, you squeeze your arms around their neck and wrap your legs around them.
D’arce Choke: A common choke from side control. You shoot your arms underneath your opponents neck while they are on their side. You grab your other bicep with that arm and use your elbow to push your opponents head towards you. You can fall your hips and wrap your legs around your opponent to create the choke.
Bow and Arrow Choke: A gi exclusive choke. The bow and arrow choke involves grabbing the opposite collar of your opponent near the mid point of your opponents neck while in the rear mount. You then proceed to lay your leg opposite the choking arm across your opponents body while allowing them to fall toward the ground while still holding the collar. You then grab your opponents Gi near their knee with your free hand. You then pull back, similar to someone shooting a bow and arrow, creating a choke.
Cross Collar Choke: Another gi exclusive choke. You can do this from the mount or the closed guard position (and rarely from half guard). You grab the opposite lapel of your opponent in the inside with your wrist against their neck. You can grab the other side of the lapel near their neck with your other hand. You then do a crunch and choke them with your wrists pressing against their carotid artery.
Loop Choke: A loop choke is similar to cross collar choke and can be done only in gi. It can be done from numerous positions. You grab one side of your opponents lapel/collar with your wrist against their neck. You then push your opponents head toward the ground while wrapping your wrist around their neck while holding the lapel.
North South Choke: A north south choke is done from the north south position. It involves wrapping your arm around your opponents neck and slinking toward the ground while putting pressure on the opponent’s trachea. The north south choke is an air choke.
Baseball Bat Choke: a baseball bat choke is another Gi submission that is usually done from side control. It requires choking your opponent with your hands similarly positioned to holding a baseball bat. You use your bottom arm to grab the lapel behind your opponents heads. You can use your other hand to grab the lapel a bit higher than your other hand. You then grip like a baseball bat while positioning your forearm across your opponent’s neck. You can twist, causing a choke.
Most Effective Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Submissions
It’s hard to definitively say which is the ‘best’ submission in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. We can look at the highest levels of the sport however and see which ones tend to lead to success the most.
In the UFC in 2020, the following were the most effective submissions:
|Submission||Number of Taps|
|Rear Naked Choke||27|
Other Types of Submissions
There are other types of submissions or rather, ways to get your opponent to tap in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, that may not be considered true ‘submissions’. One of these is called a ‘neck crank’. A neck crank stems from pulling on your opponent’s neck causing so much discomfort that your opponent taps. There are also compression submissions that again, focus on causing so much discomfort in your opponent that they surrender.
Other Things to Know
The list of BJJ submissions is always changing just like the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is always changing. Certain techniques or jiu jitsu submissions will be more common depending on how the game is evolving. For example, leg locks like heel hooks are a relatively new submission that has exploded in popularity in the past several years. To become proficient in any submission requires lots of practice and repetition. I recommend picking only a handful and getting good at them before trying to conquer all submissions on this list.