I was pleased to learn that there was to be a bonus session for beginners at CF24 on submissions. I’m glad that the first 4 classes in the course don’t really touch on submissions because I realise that before you can submit someone, you need to have progressed through the stages to a position where you can comfortably apply the submission.

IMG_3833-1024x683 White Belt Diary // Basic submissions

The class looked at two overarching types of submission: joint locks and chokes/strangles.

Joint locks

Broadly speaking, within joint locks you have another subset: rotations and extensions. The simplest examples that come to mind Americana and Kimura (rotation) and arm bar (extension).


IMG_3855-1024x683 White Belt Diary // Basic submissions

Submissions rely on the principles of ‘anchor points’ and ‘levers’. With regards to the americana, the anchor point, I think, would be your grip on their wrist while the lever is your arm that raises the elbow off the ground.

The key points that make an Americana successful is as follows:

  • Keep your elbows pinched in together and your weight on your opponent to isolate the area you are attacking and prevent them rolling into the direction you are attacking
  • Rev your hands to turn the opponent’s wrist away from you and to create a ‘table’ under their upper arm
  • ‘Paint’ the floor with their hand as your bring it down towards their hip
  • At the end of this movement, if your opponent is flexible, lift the elbow to finish the move

Arm Bar

IMG_3864-1024x683 White Belt Diary // Basic submissions

When trying to execute the Americana, your opponent may try to resist by bringing their hand low, towards their hips. Because their arm is the lever by which you rotate the shoulder joint, if they straighten their arm as they move to a safer position, you have lost this lever. Fortunately for you, a straight arm can be capitalised on with an arm bar.

  • As your opponent’s arm straightens, walk your elbows up a little, towards the wrist
  • Rev your wrists, just as you do with the Americana, to create a strong point of anchorage
  • Hyperextend the arm at the elbow joint to finish the attack

We drilled both the Americana and the arm bar in a reactive way. This helped me to connect the two and means that should I attempt either in rolling, I’ll have a plan B already in mind.

Chokes and Strangles

As with the joint locks, the ‘chokes’ can be divided into two subsets:

  • Chokes – attacking the airway
  • Strangles – attacking the blood pathways in the neck

The Rear Naked Choke Strangle

So it seems the rear naked isn’t a choke after all; it’s a strangle.

IMG_3871-1024x683 White Belt Diary // Basic submissions

I felt fairly comfortable with this technique as it’s one I’d known for quite a while. The points I picked up on in class were:

  • The anchor point is your elbow under their chin and end of the lever is your hand behind their head
  • You’re cutting off the blood supply on either side of the neck, if someone gets a hand or their chin stuck, you can still complete the submission
  • Squeeze the elbows together and down to finish the technique

One thing that wasn’t mentioned that I’ve kept in mind is that the arm that goes behind the head can be ‘snaked’ in to ensure it doesn’t get taken by your opponent for an arm bar. It also means that you don’t need to make space between your chest and the back of their head.

The Short Choke

IMG_3881-1-1024x683 White Belt Diary // Basic submissions

I wasn’t familiar with the short choke until yesterday’s class. This really is a choke and not a strangle as it attacks the windpipe.

  • Create an anchor point on the shoulder with your hand – don’t let it go too deep
  • Your forearm is the lever with which you apply the choke
  • Roll your shoulder into your opponent to push their head forward into the choke

We drilled using the short choke as a reaction to someone defending against the RNC by pulling on your hand. We also then drilled reverting back to the RNC if your opponent defends against the short choke by pulling on your elbow.