Combinations in BJJ

Updated on April 2, 2020
revolutionbjj profile image

Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.

Flow Like Water

If nothing else represents Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it is the ability to flow from one position to another. But this isn't always the easiest thing to do; it's tough to determine what a next logical good move is, or when to do it. Here, we'll take a look at some examples that can help you determine when and why to make the transition to another move. We'll cover some examples of upper body chains, a relatively simple lower body submission chain, and a final chain that combines both submissions and positions.

Chain, Chain, Chain!

This particular combination moves through a lot of different attacks, so it lets you learn to deal with a variety of submission defenses and escapes. Start from knee on stomach, and set up a solid spinning armbar. Don't forget to hug your partner's arm tight, close to your body, and plant your foot as close to their shoulder as you can get it. As you begin to complete the turn, your partner begins to come up on top. During this transition, stay tight, but flow, allowing your body to turn over (tuck your chin here!), following to your next attack: the Kimura from the bottom. This can be used to flip your partner back over into the armbar position.

This time, as you straighten the arm, your partner turns their thumb up, performing a "hitchhiker" or "runaway" escape from your armbar. Since they are essentially running around in a circle during this escape, let them do this, but make the transition to the omoplata by changing your angle slightly and kicking your leg through. As your partner postures up and in to defend the omoplata, this is the ideal time to transition to the triangle. The big takeaway from this drill is that you feel yourself beginning to lose the submission you're attacking, and that is the exact moment when you make the switch to another submission. The only way to get any good at this is to feel your partner escaping your submissions, so be sure you are allowing some of your training partners small opportunities to escape (some of the time, mind you!). This will help you learn quickly what works and what doesn't.

Lower Body Flowing

Although this is a fairly short combination for a flow drill, it's an extremely good example of what I mean when I say that you should allow your partner to do more work than you while rolling! Start with an inverted heel hook set up. As you begin to torque your partner's heel, keep the grip that you have, and allow them to try circling free.

Your inclination here may be to follow them, and that's certainly not a bad tactic if you are pretty sure you can finish the first attack, but when your partner gets half a step ahead, it is generally better to allow them to escape and think ahead to the next move, rather than trying to catch up to them (they have the initiative here). As your partner circles around, resist the temptation to change your hip positioning (other than during the kneebar finish itself). Snag the kneebar here, but then allow your partner to continue rotating beyond the kneebar (after all, this is a realistic scenario for rolling, as you may not be as fast as your partner). From here, it's a simple transition into 50/50 for the finishing heel hook.

Combining Guard Passing and Submissions

Here's a relatively simple way to combine a positional advance (guard pass) with a submission attack. This really takes the combination game to another level, because it's relatively difficult to defend both a guard pass and a submission attack at the same time, or rather, one right after the other. By the time your partner is finished addressing the first attack, you've moved onto the second attack, and so on. Here, start with a nice knee cut guard pass. If you can get the underhook, you can almost certainly finish the pass, but as your partner wins the underhook battle, you can backstep into a viable kneebar attack. As your partner triangles their legs in order to defend the kneebar, slide into a finishing straight ankle lock submission.

Favorite Type of Combination?

See results


There's really no substitute for mat time when developing a flowing combination game, but you certainly can learn faster by "listening" to the subtle cues your partner gives you while rolling. If you're in the midst of attacking for a submission, don't lose sight of what your partner is doing while resisting. If they are getting ahead of you during this moment, it might be best to allow them to escape and then move on to the next submission or position. As always, please let me know how these techniques work out for you!

© 2017 Andrew Smith


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)