BJJ Lessons Learned: Let go of failed submissions

Last week I was rolling with a guy, I had him positioned for an arm triangle, and I needed about another inch or so to secure the move. He fought for that inch and I fought for it while squeezing to keep the position. After what seemed like an eternity trying to lock my arms, I gassed out and my arms let up. My biceps, shoulders, forearms, everything was spent. In trying to secure that one failed submission, I used up all my energy and fatigued my arms. This made the rest of the training class rather challenging to say the least.

It should be noted that these are some tough ass savages that I train with at the academy. If you’ve never experienced rolling (sparring) in your life, you won’t  understand. But I can tell you that it’s very humbling when you are underneath someone and your face and eyelids are getting crushed into a mat while your destroyed arms refuse to move! You should try it sometime, it’s definitely an interesting experience.

So today was a rough day for me, I got the shit tapped out of me this morning. I got caught in a crucifix, a kimura x 2, and to add insult and injury to injury, I pulled my back muscle for all of the survival efforts.

At one point, I was attempting an anaconda choke, but the victim caught on and blocked it. My anaconda was more like a corn snake! However, I remembered what happened last week when my arms were destroyed and this time after a few seconds of trying for the submission and not getting it, I let it go. I then moved on to something else as to not wear out my arms like I did last week. This time I shifted into a guillotine choke attempt and ended up on my back and tapped soon thereafter. Like I said, today was a rough day for me.

Despite getting owned and tapped, it was a learning experience that I will continue to reinforce. Every time you step on the mats to train you have the unique opportunity to learn, reinforce or takeaway something new. This is a life long thing that applies all the way up to black belt, but especially so at my lower level. Today I reinforced the notion that if a submission is not working within a few seconds, just let it go and move on. There will be times where its worth fighting for it, but generally you’ll only wear yourself out and get tapped.


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Angel Rodriguez

Angel Rodriguez

Angel covers fitness, social issues, reviews, news & more! He's a veteran, tech and fitness pro which has been featured on Huffpo, NatGeo, NPR, NY1, HLN, Men's Fitness, MTV, & other major platforms. Angel is also Brazilian Jiujitsu White belt.
Angel Rodriguez

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