There are multiple things you have to learn when it comes to your defense plan in Jiu Jitsu: escapes, counters, proper posturing, etc. If you are having a problem with your defense and you’re getting submitted quite often, you need to improve on certain aspects of your game. Let’s analyze some of those.
- Prevention. This may already sound obvious to you but the first step in defense is preventing bad positions and situations from happening and it obviously works for the most part. So let’s have a look at a typical situation where a student gets choked out from back control. How did his opponent get to back control? Well, perhaps he first passed the guard, went in side control, knee on belly, the guy on the bottom turned away and he took his back and then choked him out. You need to treat a problem in its earliest phase. In our case, the earliest problem the student had is getting his guard passed. That is the issue that needs to be addressed. Why was his guard passed? Did he not get his grips first? Did he not have a sequence planned to attack? Did the opponent have a specific counter for which he did not know how to answer? Once you solve all this issues, you can go further down the problem chain. In side control, do you know how to defend? Do you know how to make a proper posture in there? Escapes? Starting from the earliest problem in the chain and going towards the last will help you prevent getting in bad situations and is the easiest and best way to ensure you don’t get submitted.
- Know the submission itself. Obviously knowing the submission you often tap out to will be a big help to you. Each submission can only be attacked from certain positions, with a certain setup, with some specific grips. You need to learn these, learn how the submission works, how it’s usually setup so that you can begin anticipating it and being able to defend it. If we would consider say the triangle from closed guard. The bottom guy will need control over one arm at least in order to push it in, be it wrist control, grip on the gi, etc. Then he will need to throw his hips up in order to catch a triangle. Anticipating that can lead you to posturing up really fast and him being unable to catch you properly.
- Know a submission escape. For each submission there are certain escapes that work. They are low percentage, but if you time them right you may escape the submission. Again, they are low percentage and are only your last resort move before getting submitted, so you should not expect these to work all the time, not even close. They are only supposed to be your last layer of defense before getting submitted. One example of such defensive move is bridging and rolling upwards when receiving an armbar.
- Put yourself in submissions and become comfortable. Another thing you can do in order to help your submission defense is to put yourself in bad situations. Put yourself in a pit stop position and start defending from there. Make yourself comfortable in these uncomfortable situations. Put yourself in a spider web position and start defending from there in training sessions. Being comfortable in these very defensive positions will help build up your defense.