Going beyond position - The limb isolation principle
Traditional BJJ puts positional dominance as the most fundamental goal of the athlete. The reasoning is very sound. Traditional jiu jitsu was predicated on the idea that jiu jitsu was for fighting and if one got to a dominant position one could use strikes to open an opponent up to facilitate submissions. In a pure grappling match however, strikes are not permitted. Many people settle for just getting good position and winning by the points accrued. However, if you wish to become a submission specialist you must go beyond simply pinning opponents in dominant position - you must in addition master the skill of ISOLATING AND CONTROLLING A LIMB. Only when a limb is isolated and controlled is submission possible. This skill, like any other, must be trained diligently. If you wish to improve your submission rates, When you get to a dominant position GO THE EXTRA DISTANCE and work to ISOLATE A LIMB. This is one of the absolute most important general principles of my approach to jiu jitsu. In a real fight you create pressure to open up submissions by STRIKING but in a grappling match you create pressure to open up submissions by ISOLATING A LIMB. The mantra I preach to my students is this: IN GRAPPLING YOU ONLY BECOME DANGEROUS TO YOUR OPPONENT WHEN YOU TAKE HIS BACK OR ISOLATE A LIMB (or best of all - both). This is one of the founding axioms of my approach to grappling training and coaching. Look at Gordon Ryan mounted on the great Josh Barnett. Most people would consider it a huge accomplishment to sweep and mount such a powerful adversary, but Mr Ryan is not satisfied with this at all and immediately begins to work Mr Barnett’s elbow up above his shoulders to isolate it away from his torso. Years of training in our approach makes this a reflex the moment we get to a dominant position. Make if a reflex in your game and I promise you your submission rates will dramatically increase.