Disclaimer: The best anything in Jui Jitsu is the technique that works. What works for each grapplers varies greatly based on one’s size, athleticism, & how you think. Even if two people are roughly the same size and equally athletic, one can choose to focus on their half guard game and the other has a heavy top game. Both are equally valid and that is what make BJJ so much fun!
We are going to examine the most common submissions from a typical closed or open guard. Our goal is to go over a few set ups for each submission plus go into detail about the strategies to implement them.
This choke suits those with longer legs as it will be easier to get into the triangle position. I consider this a higher percentage submission. By that I mean, with a little practice you can throw up triangles fairly quickly and once you have the position, it is usually a done deal.
Here is a Gracie Breakdown on the basics of how the triangle choke works.
Basic Triangle Set Up
This is the first set up most BJJ schools teach. You might catch some white belts with it but you will need to have a lot of wrist control on one of you opponent’s arms plus quick legs to lock it up. This set up relies on speed, control and a little bit of surprise.
Attack with the Triangle Choke
Two really strong set up you can actively go after to get the triangle choke. What is awesome about these is they work for Gi & No-Gi!
Set Up from a Guard Pass
Here is a basic set up for the triangle choke. The biggest difficulty to the triangle is getting your leg on the shoulder of one arm and under the other arm. So the video above shows how to take advantage when your opponent uses an under hooks on a leg for a common guard pass. The key to getting the triangle fully locked up with this set up is stopping the person on top from rotating around your leg on their shoulder. I like to use my free arm on that side to push on their hip while pulling my other arm to pull on the arm that will eventually be in your triangle choke. This will prevent them from pass my guard so you can finish locking up the choke.
While there are plenty that will disagree with me, I consider the Armbar to have a medium percentage of probability. Before you blow up the comments, hear me out. There is a ton of tiny details where someone can escape and end up on top. That doesn’t take away how effective a submission this is as many elite BJJ players are experts at the armbar. The difficulty is what makes the armbar a great weapon. There are a ton of set ups plus you can chain other sweeps or submission off of it with practice.
Basic Armbar from Guard
Watch the MMA Coach master, Greg Jackson, himself teach the armbar. Greg does a great job in the video of teaching how to breakdown an opponent and keep control of the arm to attack it.
This shoulder lock is great for catching your opponents off guard and once you get the hang of the omoplata, you will be seeing opening left and right! This shoulder lock can be difficult to complete against a skilled grappler but this finish will at least leave you in a top position.
Omoplata Submission + Variations
Here is an amazing video breaking down the details to the omoplata so your shoulder lock is super tight. Then he goes into two several variations on how to finish the submission. Just know, if you can get a far side underhook to get a seat belt grip across their chest with your other hand, it is just a matter of time until you get the finish. (Don’t worry if you are on your back at that point, you still have position and enough control to finish)
Greg Jackson is at it again showing off how to utilize the omoplata for a sweep. This is one of the best parts of this submission! Even if you can’t finish someone, you will at least end up on top. If you are having troubles breaking the opponents down to finish on top, try to straighten your legs to put pressure on their shoulder. If that doesn’t do, start rocking back and forth. Eventually your opponent will break.
Marcelo Garcia Style Guillotine
Marcelo Garcia is a choke expert and one of his favorite move is the Guillotine. He developed a really strong set up from years of practice. He likes to use on his leg that isn’t on the choke side to block his opponent from getting into side control and take away the leverage of the choke. There are several grips you can use to finish the choke so play around with them to see which one works/feels the best.
Kimora (aka Key-lock or Americana)
Considered a strong man move by grappling elites like Marcelo Garcia. The Kimora is tough to complete on a fresh or strong opponent but is a great attack to set up sweeps or to control your opponent from bottom.
The breakdown of Kimora from a closed guard.
Hitting the sweep is a great way to improve position. You can also use this threat to get the submission as well. One of the keys with this move is to catch your opponent off guard, otherwise they will most likely smash you back down.
Basically this submission is an omoplata that turns into a choke. This one is hard to get because it relies on the person on top to pressure you during the set up. Most people will instinctually pressure off as you try for it. That doesn’t make this one any less awesome to choke someone out with your foot!
While you might not get this one very often, you can still threaten with it and then rotate for the omoplata.
This set up is a little more advanced but is super slick! Just like the name implies, your opponent won’t see this ninja choke coming.