The Big Submission
I decided to head to the gym with some of my buddies who train in various other styles and do some sparring. I though that it'd be fun to see how we all matchup, since we're all different sizes and we all have different builds.
I am the most well versed in submission of all of the guys I train with. There are some judo guys, but my jiu-jitsu and catch wrestling is on a much higher level than those guys.
I should probably note that all of my friends are big UFC fans (not necessarily MMA fans), and so they know a lot about the different submissions and they have a certain level of anticipation for my submissions.
I found it really difficult to get an armbar against a lot of the grapplers, especially the wrestlers, because of how strong they are. The strikers I could pretty much submit with whatever I wanted, just because they didn't know what was going on, but there was something I thought was really interesting.
I had 14 sparring matches over the course of the day and I found myself using one of my submissions over and over again, I used it 8 times. It had a 100% success rate.
The Big Submission: Toe-Hold
I realized that the guys who watch the UFC and know I train in BJJ anticipate the armbar and the triangle, so when they feel my legs coming they know to keep their elbows in and to stop trying to go through my guard. They even anticipate the kimura's and the keylocks, but the toehold is something that they see so rarely in the UFC that they don't know how to get out of it.
I realized in training that even though I was wrapping my legs around and they knew that it was coming by the 4th ro 5th time I did it, they just didn't know how to get out.
Because the armbars, the triangles and the keylocks are textbook BJJ, everyone who watches the UFC and practices a grappling style thinks about how to defend them, but when you throw something at them that most BJJ guys don't pull out of their arsenals in their fights, they don't know what's going on.
The moral of the story: every grappler, every fighter, should learn how to defend submissions, but it is important to learn the stuff that you don't see all the time, too. It's good to know the heel-hooks and the kneebars, because they are important to anticipate as well, but also because when you get in a match with a guy only prepared for the text book, it's good to hit him with something new.
So get comfortable with submissions that you don't think you're necessarily going to use. In the same way get yourself comfortable with some of the fundamentals of judo throws, so that you can anticipate when an opponent is going to try and toss you on your head.
The textbook is important, but as the sport evolves, it's just as important, perhaps even more so, to expand your knowledge of the sport beyond just the handful of styles that are respresented in the UFC. Branch out and learn stuff, that's what keeps the sport evolving and that's what takes us, as fighters, to the next level.
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