Chaining Techniques in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

White belts are just learning what techniques are available in different positions.  Blue Belts know some techniques from each position and try to execute them. But where Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu starts to reveal its beauty is at the Purple Belt level. Why? Because Purple Belts typically chain techniques together that results in a dominant position or a submission.

My old mentor use to say to me “each time you attack your opponent he has to defend your attack. The time gap between your attack and his defense widens with each consecutive attack. So chain attacks together and eventually he will not be able to defend your attack!” This seemingly obvious statement is true because your attack time is faster than his reaction time. Said another way, offense is always faster than defense.

Think about this chain – I have my opponent in my guard and I attack him with an arm bar. In 2/10th of a second he defense the arm bar, so I immediately switch to Omoplata while he is still in the process of defending the arm bar. My opponent now takes 4/10ths of a second to recover from the arm bar attack and to defend the Omoplata. I then immediately switch to a leg triangle. My opponent now has to recover from the Omoplata attack so he takes 6/10ths of a second recover and defend the triangle. If I then immediately switch my attack back to an arm bar, I will have almost a full second of time to lock in the arm bar before he starts to defend it.

The above attack chain I use as part of my warm up every day I train and teach. I believe it helps people learn how to flow from one technique to another and builds sensitivity to the defense. The important thing to remember is not this attack chain but to move from one attack to another while your opponent is defending. The attack chain you practice doesn’t have to be submissions either. The chain can be a sweep to a pass to mount to a submission or can end at any time in the chain. One of my students uses a three sweep chain that works beautifully and gets her from a bad position to a dominate one. Once she reaches a dominate position she then starts her attack chain.

Today grab a training partner and start chaining techniques together.  Use the one I lay out above or ask your instructor to give one to you.  You will find a dramatic improvement in your game and defense.  As always have fun!

I’ll see you on the mat!


Wayne Spinola is an instructor at Open Guard Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing.

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