BJJ Bailing on Positions

Watching a video from a recent MMA fight prompted me to consider the dangers of holding on to a submission and specifically a a triangle choke submission too long. As you can see from the video below the fighter who has the triangle secured gets slammed to the ground multiple times, but refused to give up on his position; this reluctance to bail on the triangle could have seen the fight end in a very different result. Not only was the fighter slammed consecutively but he also took a few heavy knees to the head.

Obviously this is an MMA ‘match’ and the fighters are somewhat protected from serious injury by the padded cage floor and also by the referee, but when I say somewhat protected, there is still a real possibility of sustaining a serious, even fatal injury to the neck, spine and head when being slammed heavily to the ground like that.

Obviously in the street, holding on to a triangle like this would not be a very good idea at all; the first slam would likely cause serious injury and quite possibly, loss of consciousness.

As a recreational and sometime competitive BJJ practitioner, I questioned whether holding on to a triangle like that would ever be a good idea. I questioned whether the video demonstrated the resilience of a BJJ fighter and the effectiveness of BJJ for securing, holding and finishing a submission OR does it highlight the dangers of holding on to a position too long and risking injury. Obviously holding on to the position worked out well for the fighter in the video below but it could quite easily have been a very different outcome. Either way I am pretty certain the guy holding the triangle would have had a pretty sore head and back after the fight.

In the dojo during drilling I would not expect somebody to try and slam me like that, but you never know. People can do crazy things when they are in an uncomfortable and compromising position, especially newer people or people with an ego. Hopefully this would never happen in the gym I train at but I would always bail on a triangle if somebody tried to lift me and slam me like that, always. The same goes for competition, where there is a bigger likelihood of being slammed.

When I originally shared the video on Facebook there were a few comments about hooking the leg with an arm to prevent your opponent from lifting you for the slam but that is not always an option. I have seen people still be lifted and slammed because they couldn’t reach to underhook the leg or the timing just wasn’t right.

At BJJ Over 40 we primarily focus on giving advice to those practitioners who are more senior, to those readers I would suggest that you always bail on a triangle if you feel your opponent about to slam you. Its just common sense. But for those younger readers and BJJ practitioners I would still suggest that you think long and hard about holding on to a triangle choke and allowing yourself to be slammed like in the video below. At best you are probably shortening you longevity in the sport and at worst you are frisking a serious injury.