Ana Yagües BJJ

BJJ Blog


Submission or Points?

That is the question

Many people say that the goal and essence of BJJ, and of any other martial art for the matters, is to submit your opponent. It makes sense, doesn't it? After all, martial arts were always developed for self-defense and no enemy would stop attacking you after 5 minutes because you got your knee on his stomach. Personally I completely agree with that, but truth is that every sport needs rules when it becomes a competition sport.

Let's first clarify that in fact, though not many, there are some tournaments too in which one can win only by submission, and those are great. No doubt. But big tournaments where some weight or/and belt classes count with more than 15, 30 or even 60 competitors would last forever if every fight had to finish by submission.
In fact, I witnessed one of those tournament last year (Hugging Day in Hamburg) and there was a fight that lasted over 3 hours!!! You can not define that as fighting any more either. So, a compromise must be made. And even if I would like to win every fight with submission, and so I try when I train every day, in competitions I prefer to fight intelligently, because I like to win... and who not?

I experienced that “submission vs. points” dilemma in the final fight of the absolute blue belt class in the FHJJS European Championship in Morgues, Switzerland. I swept my opponent and reached the mount position with the same movement (pendulum sweep). So 2+4 points if I stabilize. Zero otherwise. When I landed on the mount, I had her arm and for a second I thought about doing an armbar because I wanted to win that final in a big way. But then I thought, the referee has not yet given me the points  for the sweep and mount because I haven't stabilize the position. If I go for the armbar too quickly, I will not get the points (at least not for the mount) and I could lose the arm, she could pass my guard, get the points and I would lose. The words of my first professor, Chalita, came right to my mind "your position is good now, be calm, don't risk too easily"

So first the points, then try submission. And so I did. But when the referee raised his arm to give me the points, my opponent had already saved her arm and I had lost the chance of submitting her. The chance of ending my final fight with a submission was away but i won 6-0 and with it I got gold in the absolute blue belt female division.

So, in my opinion, definitely points.



It will be interesting to see how the Submission Only tournaments run by US Grappling deal with increasing numbers of competitors. I've spoken to Chrissy Linzy a few times on that, and she remains confident about the format (with good reason, as she's got the stats to back it up). She recently did an interview on the topic, if you haven't heard it already: here.

I just attended a Sub only Tournament (Hugging Day) here in Germany (Bremen) two weeks agor and it was a lot of fun. I fighted sooo much better than in "normal" tournaments, without the stress of the time and the points, I fought real BJJ. I had 4 fights and won all of them (1 wrist lock, 2 triangles and 1 armbar) and all in less than 6 minutes. I wish there were more tournaments of this sort.

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