40+ Brazilian Jiu Jitsu submissions you need to know

A reference list of submissions from every position

Submissions are one of the key features of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), and represent instant victory and feelings of accomplishment for those who successfully submit their opponent. 

BJJ is a young martial art and is still evolving since it was adapted from judo in the early 1900s.  It includes many submissions from other grappling arts such as wrestling and judo. Below is a list of submissions including chokes, strangles, joint locks and cranks from a variety of positions. 

If we’ve missed a submission, let us know in the comment box at the bottom of this page.

BJJ submissions

Chokes

1. Guillotine

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Marcelo Garcia, Josh Hinger, Neil Melanson

The guillotine is a versatile submission which uses the practitioner’s arms to compress the opponent’s neck, usually from the closed guard position.

The guillotine is one of the first submissions many white belts learn, and can be performed from a variety of positions including mount, open guard and even standing, and in both gi and no gi applications.

2. Rear naked choke

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Rickson Gracie, Marcelo Garcia, John Danaher

The rear naked choke is a fundamental grappling submission where the practitioner immobilizes and compresses the opponent’s neck from behind using their forearms. 

In BJJ, the rear naked choke usually takes place from back control, an advantageous position where the practitioner has control over their opponent from behind using their feet and hands.

The rear naked choke can also be referred to as the rear naked strangle, the mata leão in Portuguese, hadaka-jime in judo, or abbreviated to RNC.

3. Triangle choke

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Fellipe Andrew, Braulio Estima, John Danaher, Horlando Monteiro

The triangle choke is a fundamental grappling submission which uses the practitioner’s legs and the opponent’s own arm to complete. 

The triangle was originally from judo, but is now a popular BJJ submission because of the ability to perform it from many different positions and in both gi and no gi settings.

It’s commonly initiated from the closed guard but is very versatile and can also be initiated from:

4. Bow and arrow choke

  • Type: Gi

The bow and arrow choke is a collar choke from back control. It’s performed when the practitioner uses the opponent’s lapel and leg to complete the choke while controlling the opponent’s movement with their legs. 

The name comes from the configuration of the two bodies during the choke, and the motion the practitioner needs to use on the lapel and leg to complete the choke.

The bow and arrow can also be initiated from:

5. Ezekiel choke

  • Type: Gi
  • Specialists: Ezequiel Paraguassú

The Ezekiel choke is a sleeve choke where the practitioner wraps their forearms around their opponent’s neck and uses their own sleeves for leverage.

It’s a versatile choke and one of the few submission options practitioners have from within an opponent’s closed guard. The ezekiel choke can also be performed from:

It’s based on the judo choke sode-guruma-jime which was made popular in BJJ by Brazilian Judo Olympian Ezequiel Paraguassú.

6. Cross collar choke

  • Type: Gi
  • Specialists: Roger Gracie

Cross collar chokes are performed when a practitioner grips their opponent’s collar with both of their hands crossed over each other. The practitioner then pulls the opponent towards them, bends the wrist bones towards the opponent’s neck, and flares the elbows to finish the choke. 

The cross collar choke is one of the first chokes a new BJJ student will learn due to its simplicity and effectiveness. As with many other submissions in BJJ, the cross collar choke has judo roots, with the technique being called the nami-juji-jime or normal cross strangle.

It’s also available from many positions including:

7. Baseball bat choke

The baseball bat choke is a collar choke where the practitioner’s hands grip the opponent’s collar in a similar way to gripping a baseball bat. The practitioner then rotates their body while keeping this grip, resulting in a tight blood choke.

The baseball bat choke can be performed from a variety of positions such as:

8. D’Arce choke

The D’Arce is a variation of the arm triangle which uses the practitioner’s forearm combined with the opponent’s own arm and shoulder. It’s based on the brabo choke, a similar gi-based choke which uses the opponent’s lapel.

The D’Arce choke is commonly performed from:

9. Clock choke

  • Type: Gi
  • Specialists: JT Torres, Wallid Ismail

The clock choke is a collar choke against a turtling opponent. It’s performed when the practitioner grabs their opponent’s collar, places their hips or chest on the back of their opponent’s head and then walks towards their head.

As mentioned, you can generally use the collar choke against an opponent in:

10. Arm triangle

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Also known as: kata gatame, head and arm choke

The arm triangle is a choke which uses the practitioner’s arm wrapped around the opponent’s neck, and the opponent’s own shoulder to finish. It often starts from the mount position, and usually requires the practitioner to dismount to complete.

Arm triangles can be initiated from a variety of positions, including:

11. North-South choke

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Marcelo Garcia

The north-south choke is a choke which uses the practitioner’s bicep across the opponent’s neck, in addition to pressure from the practitioner’s back on their opponent’s head.

As the name suggests, this is performed from the north-south position, which is a variation of side control where both player’s feet face different directions.

This choke can be difficult for some to finish due to some of the finer details required, so check out these tips from north-south choke master Marcelo Garcia to help you finish it.

The north-south choke is generally initiated from side control

12. Crucifix choke

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Joel Burgess, Thomas Lisboa

The crucifix choke is similar to a rear naked choke, although it’s performed with one arm and from the crucifix position. 

The crucifix position is a type of back control position which resembles a Christian cross. In it, the practitioner’s legs are wrapped around one of the opponent’s arms and shoulders, and their arms are wrapped around the opponent’s neck and other shoulder. 

The crucifix choke is usually initiated when your opponent is in the turtle position. In addition to chokes, the crucifix position can also be used to submit an opponent using armlocks.

13. Thrust choke

  • Type: Gi
  • Also known as: Tsukkomi-jime, amassa pao

The thrust choke is where the practitioner pulls their opponent’s lapel tight across their neck while driving their fist into the neck. The thrust or thrusting choke can be initiated as part of a guard pass, from within guard or from mount, and is also referred to in judo as tsukkomi-jime.

14. Anaconda choke

  • Type: Gi and No gi
  • Specialists: Milton Vieira

The anaconda choke is a variation of the arm triangle choke, which uses the practitioner’s arms and the opponent’s own shoulder to complete the choke. 

The anaconda is similar to the D’arce choke but differs in that it involves a rolling motion once the practitioner’s grips have been established to complete the choke.

It can be initiated from:

15. Peruvian necktie

  • Type: Gi and No gi
  • Specialists: Tony De Souza

A variation of the arm triangle from the turtle position. The Peruvian necktie uses the practitioner’s legs on top of the opponent’s head and back in addition to the arms to complete the choke.

16. Japanese necktie

  • Type: Gi and No gi
  • Specialists: Keith Krikorian

A head and arm choke similar to the D’arce choke. The Japanese necktie uses the practitioner’s arms and chest on the back of the opponent’s head, in addition to the opponent’s own arm and shoulder to complete the choke.

The Japanese necktie can be a crank in addition to a choke depending on the specific way it’s applied.

As mentioned above, the Japanese necktie can be initiated from:

17. Loop choke

The loop choke is a collar choke which uses the practitioner’s free arm to go behind the opponent’s neck to complete the choke. It’s often used as a counter to a guard pass.

As with other collar chokes, the loop choke is versatile and can be performed from a variety of positions including:

18. Step over choke

  • Type: Gi

A collar choke, usually from top side control, which uses a leg to step over the opponent’s head to help tighten the choke. 

The step over choke can also be initiated from:

19. Paper cutter choke

  • Type: Gi
  • Also known as: breadcutter choke

The paper cutter choke is a collar choke which uses the practitioner’s forearm across the opponent’s neck to complete, and is usually performed from top side control.

Because of the sneaky way it’s set up, the paper cutter choke has a reputation for being a submission that many do not see coming.

20. Gogoplata

  • Type: Gi and no gi

The gogoplata is a rarer submission which uses the practitioner’s foot and hand (or collar) to create a choke around the opponent’s neck. Because of the way the leg and foot wrap around the opponent’s shoulder and neck it’s often seen as a submission which requires flexibility. 

The gogoplata can be performed in both gi and no gi, from a range of positions including:

21. Brabo choke

A lapel choke commonly performed from top half guard. The brabo choke requires the top practitioner to loosen the opponent’s lapel, grab the very bottom of it, wrap it around the opponent’s neck and switch grips to complete.

The brabo choke can be performed from a variety of positions including:

22. Lapel half nelson

  • Type: Gi

A collar choke performed from the side mount. The lapel half nelson requires the practitioner to loop one arm around the opponent’s neck to grab their lapel with one hand, while the other arm threads under the opponent’s arm and behind their neck to finish.

23. Von Flue choke

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Jason Von Flue, James Clingerman

A choke where the practitioner uses their shoulder to drive into their opponent’s neck. The Von Flue choke is generally performed when the practitioner is trying to defend from a guillotine in top side control.

The Von Flue choke can often catch an opponent off guard due to the way it’s applied.  

Arm and shoulder locks and submissions

24. Monoplata

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Marcelo Garcia

The monoplata is a shoulder lock generally initiated from mount or ¾ mount, and uses the practitioner’s legs to trap the arm and complete the submission.

The monoplata is a fairly versatile submission and can be initiated from:

25. Americana

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Also known as: figure four armlock

The Americana is a fundamental BJJ submission targeting the opponent’s shoulder. To perform a successful americana, the practitioner needs to bend their opponent’s arm and elbow up towards the ceiling, while controlling their body and stopping the opponent from moving with their arm. 

Americanas are commonly initiated from mount or side control, but are very versatile and can be performed from many positions. Watch the videos below to see how to perform them from:

26. Kimura

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Masahiko Kimura
  • Also known as: double wrist lock, gyaku ude-garami

The kimura is a fundamental BJJ submission where the practitioner uses both of their arms to push one of their opponent’s arms behind their back and beyond the normal range of motion while controlling the body. 

Like the americana, the kimura also targets the shoulder joint. It started being known as the kimura after Masahiko Kimura, a Japanese judoka, submitted the great Hélio Gracie and broke his arm with this technique in 1951.

The kimura is a very versatile submission, with practitioners able to perform or initiate it from:

27. Armbar

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Braulio Estima, Dave Camarillo, Karel Pravec

The armbar is a basic but powerful submission which aims to hyperextend the opponent’s elbow joint. It does this using the practitioner’s legs, hips and hands to isolate the opponent’s arm while controlling their body. It’s one of the first submissions most BJJ practitioners learn, and is extremely versatile. 

Armbars can be performed or initiated from many positions including:

28. Cutting arm bar

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Also known as: Reverse arm bar

The cutting arm bar is a variation of the regular armbar which uses the practitioner’s head and shoulder to trap their opponent’s arm, and the knees to trap the opponent’s shoulder. The practitioner finishes the submission by using pressure on the back of the opponent’s upper arm.

The cutting armbar is generally performed or initiated from:

29. Bicep slicer

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Also known as: Bicep crusher

The bicep slicer or bicep crusher is a submission where the opponent’s bicep is compressed against the practitioner’s shin or forearm bones. It can often be used as a counter to an armbar defence because of the easy positioning.

Note that bicep slicers are only legal in IBJJF competitions at brown belt and above levels.

Watch the below videos to see how to initiate and perform the bicep crusher from:

30. Omoplata

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Clark Gracie 

The omoplata is a shoulder joint lock where the practitioner uses their legs to trap and control one of their opponent’s arms. To finish the submission, the practitioner sits up to rotate the opponent’s shoulder past its usual range of motion, similar to a kimura.

The omoplata can be initiated or performed from a variety of positions including:

There are also a number of variations to the omoplata which are useful in different contexts. Some of these include:

  • Marceloplata. This version of the omoplata was popularized by Marcelo Garcia and allows the practitioner to finish the omoplata even if the opponent blocks the practitioner’s bottom leg.
  • Baratoplata. A variation of the omoplata to if the opponent hides their arm.
  • Tarikoplata. A variation of the shoulder lock against an opponent with a bent arm, popularised by elite BJJ athlete Tarik Hopstock.

31. Wristlock

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Márcio “Macarrão” Stambowsky, Travis Stevens, Pete Letsos

Wrist locks are submissions that target the wrist by forcing it past it’s normal range of motion, either by hyperextension, hyperflexion or rotation.

A successful wristlock usually requires the practitioner to immobilise the opponent’s forearm and elbow first, and then complete the submission by forcing the palm back or forward depending on the position.

Wrist locks are not common in BJJ, but are very versatile and can be performed from a variety of positions including:

32. Mir lock

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Frank Mir

The Mir lock is an americana variation from the guard which uses an overhook to immobilise the opponent’s arm. It was made famous by Frank Mir in UFC 36 when he used it from open guard to submit his opponent Pete Williams.

33. Hammerlock

  • Type: Gi and no gi

The hammerlock is a wrestling shoulder lock where the opponent’s arm is forced behind their back and rotated.

In BJJ, the hammerlock can often be initiated from the turtle position, or from positions like the cross body ride.

Hip locks

34. Banana split hip lock

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Eddie Bravo

The banana split is a hip lock usually initiated from the turtle position. It requires the practitioner to trap one of the opponent’s legs with their own legs, and the other leg with their arms. This allows the practitioner to extend the legs away from each other and create a painful hip lock.

35. Electric chair

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Eddie Bravo

The electric chair is both a sweep and a groin-stretch submission from half guard popularized by 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu founder Eddie Bravo. It is initiated from the lockdown position, which is a style of half guard where the bottom half guard player traps one of their opponent’s legs using both of their legs. 

The submission is performed by establishing a lockdown, off balancing your opponent using your hands, and then grabbing your opponent’s other leg and keeping it on your shoulder to finish.

The electric chair submission won’t always work on flexible opponents, so the practitioner can also easily get to their knees while maintaining the grips to initiate a guard pass. 

Foot locks

36. Straight Ankle Lock

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Dean Lister, Rodrigo Cavaca, Mikey Musumeci

The straight ankle lock is a basic foot lock submission targeting the ankle joints and/or achilles tendon. It’s performed when the practitioner immobilizes one of their opponent’s legs using both of their own legs, wraps their arm around their opponent’s foot, and then hyperextends the foot down and away from the leg by arching the back.

The straight ankle lock is a versatile submission available from many different positions, including:

37. Kneebar

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Dean Lister 

The kneebar is a submission targeting the leg and knee, with the aim of hyperextending the opponent’s knee joints and causing pain and damage to the menisci and ligaments.

To perform a kneebar the practitioner must immobilize one of their opponent’s legs while tightly gripping their opponent’s foot and keeping the shin close to their own chest. To finish the submission, the practitioner pushes and extends against their opponent’s knee.

The kneebar is a robust submission with various entry points including:

38. Calf slicer

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Dean Lister 
  • Also known as: calf crusher

The calf slicer is a compression submission. It’s performed when the practitioner places their shinbone or forearm behind their opponent’s knee, and then pulls their opponent’s leg towards it to compress the calf and cause pain. 

Like the bicep slicer, the calf slicer is illegal in IBJJF competitions below the brown belt level. 

The calf slicer can be initiated from a large number of different positions including:

39. Toehold

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Dean Lister 

The toehold is a figure four footlock where the practitioner immobilizes their opponent’s leg while rotating the foot towards their back.

There are different variations of the toehold like the Estima lock, which is tighter than regular toeholds due to the grip variation it uses.

Note that the toehold is illegal in IBJJF below the brown belt level.

The toehold can be initiated or performed from a variety of positions including:

40. Heel hook

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: John Danaher, Dean Lister, Garry Tonon, Gordon Ryan, Eddie Cummings

Heel hooks are joint locks where the practitioner immobilizes one of their opponent’s legs while twisting their foot in order to strain and damage the knee ligaments. In recent years heel hooks have been popularized by elite BJJ coach John Danaher and his students, known as the “Danaher Death Squad”.

Heel hooks have a reputation for being dangerous due to the potential damage they can cause to an opponent’s knee including ligament strains, ruptures and meniscus damage. 

The heel hook can be performed with the opponent’s foot and leg held on your same side armpit (outside heel hook), or in your opposite armpit with the opponent’s leg across your body (inside /reverse heel hook). The main difference between these variations are the specific ligaments strained, with the inside heel hook mostly damaging the MCL and PCL, and the reverse heel hook mainly damaging the LCL.

Heel hooks are illegal in IBJJF tournaments, but are legal in some other tournaments like ADCC or in Grappling Industries at advanced skill levels

Heel hooks are versatile submissions and can be initiated from a number of positions:

Cranks

41. Can opener

  • Type: Gi and no gi

The can opener is a neck crank usually performed from top closed guard, where the practitioner cups the back of the opponent’s head and pulls it towards the opponent’s own chest. It is sometimes used as a way to force an opponent to open their guard. 

Note that the can opener is illegal in most competition rulesets, and can cause severe damage to an opponent’s neck. It’s therefore frowned upon in many gyms even for training purposes, so be sure to ask your instructor before trying one on a training partner.

42. Twister

  • Type: Gi and no gi
  • Specialists: Eddie Bravo

The twister is a spinal crank which targets the neck ligaments and bones, usually from the half back control position. To perform the submission, the practitioner traps one of their opponent’s legs with both of their legs while pulling their opponent’s head towards them with both arms.

Note that the twister is illegal in IBJJF, but is legal in some other competition rulesets such as Grappling Industries at advanced levels. As with other spinal cranks, the twister may also be frowned upon at different gyms, so check with your training partner or instructor first.

The twister can be initiated from a number of positions including:

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Submission list

Chokes and strangles

Arm and shoulder locks

Hip locks

Foot locks

Neck cranks


Did we miss your favourite submission? Let us know below!

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