Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why did you let that go?

I've probably said it 100 times before, but I suck at submissions for a multitude of reasons... and now I get to add another reason I suck at them to the list.

I let them go.

If I am with someone much better than I am (which is basically everyone), I assume I won't be able to finish them, and I let them go.  Fact of the matter is.... I will never finish a submission I let go.  Never.  

*I was grappling someone, and I went for a triangle, thought I didn't have it, so I moved on.  He said, "You had that." In passing and we kept moving.  Then later I was going for a rear naked, and let it go.  He stopped for a second that time and told me I had my arm under his chin, and I shouldn't have let it go.  Then it happened again, "Why did you let that go?"  

I let it all go because I know logically that the chances of my submitting that person were close to nil, and I A. Don't think I should waste time and energy on a submission I am not going to catch, and B. I feel like if I try to hard on a submission on a person I can't actually submit I will look presumptuous.... like I think I can submit them.  Which I know is retarded.  I SHOULD try... that is the whole point.

I will say though, I am getting over my apprehension of submissions in general.  I used to not like to do them for fear of upsetting the person I was submitting... but I think I am over that.  Last night I was attempting to choke someone, and I could see them turning purple, and vains starting to bulge, but they didn't look anywhere close to getting ready to tap.  Normally, I would let it go just to avoid making that person feel bad, or upset... but, I didn't last night.  It was a choke, so I was prepared to take it all the way to sleepy town if necessary.  I didn't have to go that far thankfully, and not shockingly the person did tap, and wasn't mad.  Life went on. 

*Anything I 'had' or attempted to 'have' was only possible because the person I was grappling came down to my level. 


  1. I can really understand where you are coming from in this thought process being that I was just like you at one point. I would give up on a submission simply because I felt like I didn't "have it". I really don't think it has to do with the level of the grappler at all when it comes to finishing or not finishing a submission. What it comes down to is your commitment to finishing. There are a lot of times when I am rolling that I get a submission put on and I don't have it good enough to finish. What I used to do is let go and move on, and a lot of times that lead to me getting submitted. While watching a black belt spar in class one day, I noticed that once he set his submission up he was committed to finishing it. He would wait patiently and make adjustments to the submission until he felt he had it and finish. If he didn't quite have it or it didn't look like he was going to make those necessary adjustments, he would switch to another submission. That stuck in my head, and after that I started to stay committed to the submission and make adjustments to finish. In my experience once you start to set up a submission the other person (or your opponent) will generally go through a "freak out" phase, and that will allow you to make the necessary adjustments to finish. You just have to have the patience and the awareness to make those adjustments. Don't worry about hurting someone's feelings when you submit them either. Remember you are taking bjj which ultimately is self defense, and they don't worry about hurting your feelings when it comes to tapping you out. If you feel bad about a submission that you did or you think you may have caused some pain, apologize after they tap out. Good luck in your submission journey.

  2. For me it's been from one extreme to another, I used to always hold on too long and try too hard, now I tend to let go too soon...eventually I hope to get it "just right" ;) I definitely agree with Rollo about not letting go completely, but being patient and making small adjustments. That's what I have been trying to work on lately, instead of completely letting go and starting from scratch.

  3. Rollo - You are exactly right. My biggest concern when I feel like I don't have a submission right is that I am leaving myself open to be swept or submitted myself... So, I always let go to try and retain my defense. If I fail my triangle, I will probably get my guard passed, so when I feel like I don't have it, I pull back to my guard. I am going to try to to refocus my efforts on maintaining the set up to submit and wait for them to "freak out" because they almost always do.

    “All human wisdom is summed up in two words - wait and hope”

    Wait and hope... I got this. lol

  4. You have to embrace your inner darkness. lol!! I know how you feel. The other day I was grappling Derrick and I tried for this choke . He sat there for a few seconds, letting me fumble, then I said, "I don't have this do I?" He smiled and said, "Uh uh." But he let me try to get the right angle to that maybe next time I try it I will be a little closer to getting it right. I think part of the problem is that you don't want to bother other people with your attempts. But that is what training is for. People who are better than us--which is almost everyone. lol -- let us try things on them. We can return the favor for people who are not as far along as we are. That's what training partners are for. :)