A great lesson from Master Royler Gracie on how to have a submission based game instead of being a points player.
Royler competed in the black-belt ranks for 20+ years. Royler is also a four-time World Jiu-Jitsu Champion in the Pena/Featherweight Black Belt Category and has placed in the Absolute Division. He won the ADCC -66 kgs division 3 times and never had a point scored on him!
Via Savarese Jiu-Jitsu :
First you need to train without worrying. You shouldn’t worry about competition; you shouldn’t worry about becoming a fighter or even becoming good at Jiu-Jitsu. That is different from the reality of many people who start training nowadays. They come in and sign up already thinking or dreaming or planning on becoming a top fighter. That kind of pressure creates a barrier and a difficulty that is not conducive to becoming a great finisher. Because the objectives are somewhat immediate, they develop a game for tournaments, and a game to win by the rules. They are not worried about creating a game that encourages submissions, because the win for them is the same and it is easier to win by points or advantages that by submission. So they focus on narrow paths and on immediate results rather than the longer path that it takes to become a good finisher. To become a good finisher you need to try to attack and apply submissions. Your rate of failure increases when you press the issue and try the ultimate tools of concluding a fight. It is much safer for instance to remain in side-control and wait for time to end a match than it is to try to mount or go for an arm-lock from the side. When you try to Mount or go for an arm-lock from the side. When you try to mount or go for the arm-lock you are giving your opponent a chance to escape and even advance his position in relation to yours. The person with an immediate objective and the pressure winning always and early on will not take that chance and therefore will not develop his submission skills.
It is only through failure and repetition that you sharpen your attacks and your submissions. If you don’t attempt them you won’t perfect them. Train relaxed and try to use your submissions. Pressure creates a barrier against advancing. You need to have a clear and open mind to learn and progress. Let the game flow without pressing. When you try and force attacks the opponent close up and it becomes even harder to submit them.
A good way to develop your submissions is to train with someone less skilled than you. If you catch them with something, let go of the submission before he taps, let him escape the right way and then continue to work for another submission and so forth. This approach will allow you to accomplish a number of objectives. First, your partner will like training with you a lot more because he is not just tapping and being submitted left and right. He will be less inclined to tighten up in order to avoid being submitted constantly. Second, you will go through many more positions and submission attempts than if you continually catch him and force the sparring session to start over. Third, by letting him escape, you will learn the most natural escape patterns and learn to anticipate and adjust to the escapes and apply your next technique sharpening the “Mantra of Submissions” : timing and execution!