On a mission to find a submission
One time after rolling with a purple belt at my gym, he asked me what my go to submission was. I stared at him with a confused, blank stare. Submission? How often do I go for submissions? If I do go for submissions was there one I felt I was good enough at to consider my go to? I told him that I guess I spend more time playing defense than offense and didn’t really have a solid submission. He said that was normal because I was smaller and I would get one eventually.
I started thinking about the other guys I roll with and how I would often know what submission they were going to go for because that was their thing. I didn’t have a thing. It made me realize that I was not attacking enough and was instead content to play defense. I decided that I had to start thinking more offensively when I rolled. I made an effort to do this for a while. I liked how my playing offense meant that my opponent had to play defense and I wasn’t getting smashed and submitted. However, I did find it frustrating that I very rarely finished a submission. Recent events have found me playing defense again and I haven’t thought of finding my submission in a while.
That all changed this week though. After losing at the tournament last weekend, the purple belt coach at my weekend gym told me he thought I should pick a submission and just drill it, work it and make it mine. He suggested it be something quick, like a wristlock, since I am very often overpowered.
I liked the idea of this. Most of us have heard the saying that you shouldn’t fear the person who practices 1000 moves 1 time but instead fear the one who practices 1 move 1000 times. But once again I was faced with the problem of not having a submission I felt I was solid at. I don’t land any submission with enough regularity to think I can own it.
I talked to my main instructor about this idea and he agreed it was a good one except he suggested picking one from the bottom and one from the top. Lately when I get to mount my favorite thing to do is go for an arm triangle (or head and arm choke if you prefer). As I have mentioned before, I am a big fan of shoulder pressure which lends itself well to this submission. I have also recently learned an americana transition from here and have discovered that if I get rolled I still have the option to finish the arm triangle or go for an ezekiel (in gi at least).
Now I just had to think of a submission from bottom. I asked my coach if he had any idea what I should choose and he suggested I work triangles as mine are pretty tight. I will humbly admit that I can throw on a nasty triangle. This is contingent of course on my partner giving me their arm and not trying at all to resist as I lock up the triangle. I said as much to him and he showed me some setups and suggested I work them while rolling in the coming weeks.
This weekend I got a lot of work in with my purple belt instructor and he helped me drill wristlocks. As a fairly new blue belt, I have not had a lot of experience with going for wristlocks which is why I dismissed them as my go to submission when he suggested it. I rolled with him a long time before class this morning and tried to work those triangle setups with minimal success. If I did get into a triangle position he would defend it (I hate when people do that). I feel like I can work armbars and omoplatas off of it though so I don’t want to give up on triangles yet but I want to be able to finish a submission now!
After having minimal success with the triangles I started thinking about the wristlocks he showed me. At one point I was in technical mount and about to swing around for an armbar when I noticed his arm was in perfect position for a wristlock. I went for it. I didn’t finish but it surprised him so much that he even admitted after that he went right to muscle mode to escape it and he told me at the time that I had almost got him. I kept going for them throughout our various rolls and had much the same experience, I almost got them but he managed to just escape.
If I am almost catching a purple belt after one day of trying I figure there is something to this wristlock thing. So I am going to make an effort to go for them as I roll from now on. Well except I guess I can’t with white belts. Can I? They have to learn sometime…
I am excited to possibly have a submission to make my own. I hope to have a running tally of people I submit via wristlock very soon 🙂