Debunking Jiu-Jitsu Myths

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In martial arts, it seems people get caught up in particular beliefs or views and these become the gospel without questioning the reasoning behind it or the validity of it. If your instructor tells you something, most of the time you are going to listen and do exactly as he or she says. Now there is nothing wrong with that, but the problem is when we forget to think for ourselves. There are very few absolutes in life, very little if any in Jiu-jitsu, so with this in mind, I wanted to challenge a common Jiu-Jitsu myth that people may have never thought twice about questioning.
The one I wanted to discuss today is: “Position before Submission.” If you train Jiu-Jitsu on a regular basis, you are probably familiar with this phrase.

First, I think the concept behind this is initially correct. You don’t want to go flying for anything you see. Often you expose yourself for attacks and put yourself in worse positions. However, more so than ever we see many high level competitors using the inverse of this phrase; using submissions to setup superior positions.

A great example of this is the rolling kimura. Someone who uses this move quite effectively is Andre Galvao as seen here in his match with Rodolfo Viera. Galvao completely abandons his position to attack a kimura, however the threat of the submission forced his opponent to open himself to the back take. A very tricky move but extremely effective when done correctly.

Last example I wanted to show was the rolling anaconda choke. Rafael Mendes uses this beautifully in No-Gi and caught many of his opponents with it in the 2009 ADCC. Here he shows the details to how he sets up the anaconda choke and uses it to bypass the half-guard of his opponent.

Also, if we look here at another recent match, we see a very similar attack used by Claudio Calasans to pass the guard of Leo Nogueira. Once again we see how threatening the submission can often lead to superior position through the mere threat of an attack. Exhibiting that position may be great, but sometimes submission is better.