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What’s the Best BJJ Beginner Submission? (And Why It’s the Triangle)

So whats the best bjj beginner submission?

If you are starting jiu jitsu and are curious as what would be considered the best beginner submission that you should learn first, especially if you have no prior wrestling or grappling experience – this is the post for you.

What’s the Easiest Beginner Submission to Learn

There are many beginner submissions that you will learn during your first couple months of bjj training.

For our full post on all the basic beginner submissions take a look here

Some will seem harder than others, some will take a good bit of control and setup, and some just may not click for you.

If you’re coming from no grappling background, the best bjj beginner submission that you should learn first is a triangle.

A triangle from guard position:

  •     teaches you the basics of how strangle based submissions work in bjj
  •     can be setup easily from the guard position
  •     has easy finishing mechanics
  •     is finished by strangulation which not only is final but is safer for your opponent (as opposed to joint locks)
  •     provides opportunities for other submissions such as armbars or kimuras

 Here is a quick video of me actually hitting a triangle (armbar) during my first ever competition back in 2019.

Other submissions may require you to get on top of your opponent, control them, and then work to isolate one of their limbs or aim towards some sort of strangulation.

If you don’t have prior grappling experience, these other submissions will require quite a bit of knowledge and experience to even get close to achieving them.

What is a Triangle in BJJ?

A triangle submission is when you are able to wrap your legs around your opponent’s head and one of their arms.

You then rotate your body to an almost inverted position and use your legs to effectively strangle your opponent.

Strangulation is achieved by attaching the inside of your leg to one side of your opponent’s neck while their own arm is connected to their other side of their neck which is then reinforced by your other leg (see the below images)

Which BJJ Submission Is Most Effective

Wondering which bjj submission is most effective?

Just like the point I mentioned above, the most effective bjj submission(s) are those involving strangulation.

Strangulation is limiting the air and/or blood supply of your opponent to their brain by applying pressure to the sides and/or front of their neck.

Several submission use strangulation such as triangles, guillotines, arm triangles, and rear naked chokes.

The reason why strangulation is the most effect category of bjj submissions is that they are final. If your opponent refuses to submit or tap out in a strangulation they will eventually go unconscious if applied correctly.

As opposed to a submission that revolves around join manipulation.

These submissions such as armbars, kimuras, kneebars, and ankle locks use leverage to apply breaking or rotational pressure to a joint.

While these can end up causing devastating injuries, if there is something on the line like a world championship a tough opponent can fight through the discomfort and pain to continue the match.

“How do I Learn Submissions?”

Now if you’re curious as to how to learn submissions, I will break this down into simple steps, and then go into detail on how to learn and perform a triangle from guard.

The general process to learning a submission is shown below:

Learn the general themes, mechanics, and position involved in the submission

Drill the submission with a partner who provides very little or no resistance

Perform the submission on an opponent who then is providing a bit more resistance

Finally, perform the submission on an opponent during a live sparring situation (where they are fully resisting)

How to Perform a Triangle from Closed Guard

First, What Is Guard Position in BJJ

Guard position often refers to the closed guard in bjj. This involves you lying on their back with your legs wrapped around the other person who is usually on their knees –

shown in the picture below with me and my wife (who’s looking more than irritated):

Guard can also refer to your legs in general.

As in when someones says “pass their guard” its means that you are trying to get around their legs and enter into side control or mount.

For more information on these basic positions and terms take a look at our quick guide here

There are several other variations of “guard” in bjj.

Another very common one is called open guard.

That’s when you are sitting on your butt and your opponent is kneeling or standing in front of your legs.

The person who is sitting on their butt would be considered in open guard position.

How to Perform a Triangle from Closed Guard – Basic Setup

In this section, I will break down the exact steps and finishing mechanics for performing a triangle from closed guard.

This closed guard triangle setup will use a modified hip bump sweep to enter into the triangle.

This was the first submission setup I ever learned and actually the first submission I ever hit in my first competition at a couple months into my bjj training (see above video).

After describing how to enter into the triangle position, I will then go over the finishing mechanics of a triangle.

1. Modified Hip Bump Sweep to Triangle

Some tips on this triangle setup:

  • uses a hip bump sweep to get them to post on their hand on the mat so that you are then able to free your leg and enter into the triangle lock
  • it works very well when your opponent is leaning back on their heels and when they are trying to posture up
1. Starting from the closed guard position reach up and get a collar tie
2. Post on the mat and hip up into them in order to get them to post their hand onto the mat
Step 3. Once their hand is posted on the mat you then remove your leg and enter into the triangle position
Step 4. While still maintaining the collar tie/head control get your leg on top of their head and begin to turn the angle so that your body is perpendicular to theirs
Step 5. You can turn your body by scooping underneath their arm or leg while maintaining head control and posting on the mat with your free leg to rotate
Step 6. Once your body is perpendicular to theirs you can then lock your legs and back heel to get the finish

How to Perform a Triangle from Open Guard – Advanced Setup

While I recommend the above basic setup for anyone attempting to learn a beginner submission, if you are interested in learning a more advanced setup for a triangle –

Below is highly effective one that is done from open guard:

Some tips on this triangle setup:

  • By utilizing two on one gripping you can effectively control one side of your opponent’s body
  • the goal is then to extend them by posting on their other knee with your foot to disrupt their base and have them post their hand onto the mat
    • so that you can then again free your leg and enter into the triangle
Step 1. From open/butterfly guard (when they are sitting on their knees and you are on your butt) grab their same side wrist with your hand
Step 2. Then switch to a two on one grip were you have your one hand gripping their elbow and your other hand gripping their wrist palm down
Step 3. Post your same side foot on their hip and your other foot on their knee.
The foot on their knee is then used to push their knee away and disrupt their base to force them to post on the mat
Step 4. Once they are extended and their hand is on the mat free your leg to enter into the triangle
Step 5. After your leg is freed you then scoop their arm or leg, post your other foot on the mat to rotate your body to a perpendicular angle
Step 6. Once your body is rotated, while maintaining a grip on your own ship to keep their posture broken down then you can lock your triangle and back heel to finish

Key Points to Understanding Why a Triangle Works as the Best Beginner Submission

  • Getting and Keeping Their Posture Broken
    • your opponent will be fighting to stay upright that’s why its important to get their hands onto the mat and use both your hands and legs to break their posture and bring their head down
    • Utilizing gripping at the crown of their head works to break them down
    • You can also use two on one gripping to pull them into you (as in the advanced setup)
    • Always be aware of their posture they will be fighting to posture up the entire time

  • Freeing Your Leg and Entering into a Triangle
    • You can use off balancing, misdirection, or control methods to get them to post their hands on the mat to free your leg
    • Everyone will know that you need to free your leg to enter into a triangle so they will be very wary of it

  • Getting to an Angle
    • The reason why most triangle finishes don’t work for beginners is because they don’t get to the correct perpendicular angle
    • by scooping their same side arm or leg it offers not only more control of them but the ability for you to more easily rotate

  • Finishing Details
    • to get the ideal finish you will want to not only be at an angle but have your bent knee facing toward your opponent’s crotch with your body nearly totally inverted and then back heeling
    • many people will tap before you are able to fully rotate, invert, and squeeze but this optimal setup should be the aim

Thanks for reading all- I strongly recommend giving these a shot as your first submission.

Its a solid beginner submission that works at the highest levels that can easily be learned within your first week of training.

Happy triangle hunting! – Zack

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