Catch Wrestling Submissions Every Grappler Needs To Know

Catch Wrestling Submissions

Learning catch wrestling submissions is a great way to improve your ability as a catch wrestler or as a submission grappler. Mastering these effective catch wrestling submissions is a must for any catch wrestler or a great way to catch ( no pun intended ) your BJJ partners off guard. 

Catch wrestling offers submissions that you will not typically find in your BJJ curriculum. However, with the rise of no-gi grappling, people are adopting techniques from other grappling arts like catch wrestling.

The only thing I feel that I must warn you about is that some catch wrestling submissions are considered dirty moves in many BJJ circles. Catch wrestling uses pain to force submissions and tapping out your opponent with a neck crank might not go over too well.

That said, if you are in a competition that allows for catch wrestling submissions then why not learn them?

If you are in a BJJ class, however, you might wanna check with your rolling partner before using some of these submissions.  Just make sure you know how to implement these techniques safely.

Common Catch Wrestling Submissions

Leg Locks

The leg locks involve holding the leg in positions that limit its movement. It targets different leg joints, such as the knee, hip, ankle, and foot.

Each move has a name that corresponds with the locked part. For example, the knee lock targets the knee, and the ankle lock targets the ankle.

This technique can render an opponent relatively immobile. On introducing certain twists, the opponent’s back can get pinned against the floor or submit due to an injury threat to their lower body.

Leg locks have always been a big part of catch wrestling. So you could say that catch wrestling was way ahead of the current leg lock trend going on in BJJ today.

Arm Locks

The arm locks are similar to a leg lock, except that it focuses on the arm. It renders the arm relatively immovable, with the joints being either hyper-flexed or hyper-extended.

The lock can be applied to different parts of the arm, to create the shoulder lock, wrist lock, hammerlock, and armbar.

Chest Locks

Also called chest choke, the chest lock involves the use of the arm and shoulder, wrapped around an opponent’s head from the hind, with the hips facing their head to hold them in that position.

The aim is submission. It hyperextends the opponent’s spine and bends his head towards you as you apply pressure with your locked arms.

It causes breath disruption and will effectively lead to submission if your opponent cannot get out of the hold.

Neck Cranks

Another thing that separates BJJ submissions from catch wrestling submissions is the use of neck cranks. These brutal and painful submissions rely on you cranking the neck of your opponent until they submit.

Of course, today many in the no-gi BJJ circles are starting to adopt neck cranks into their arsenal, but it has been part of catch wrestling from the start.

Double Wrist Lock ( Aka the Kimura )

The double wrist lock ( also known as the Kimura ) is an essential catch wrestling submission. If you practice BJJ then you are probably already very familiar with this submission. However, you might not know that the double wrist lock was practiced by catch wrestlers long before BJJ was invented.

The name Kimura was named after the judoka Masahiko Kimura who submitted Helio Gracie with a double wrist lock. Many people suspect that these judokas learned the double wrist lock from cross-training with catch wrestlers.

That said, no matter what grappling sport you are part of you need to learn the double wrist lock. Here is a good tutorial from Josh Barnett on properly implementing the double wrist lock.

If you are interested in mastering the double wrist lock then I might suggest checking out Champion Ship Catch Wrestling by Josh Barnett. It is one of the digital programs I recommend in my best Catch wrestling instructional article.

In my opinion, there is no better person to learn the double wrist lock from than Josh Barnett. Not only has he won some of the highest level grappling competitions, he also used his catch wrestling to become a UFC heavyweight champion.

Key Lock

Similar to the Kimura the key lock is another amazing joint lock. So if you are having a hard time with your double wrist lock you might catch your opponent off guard with a key lock. Here is a great tutorial on how to implement the key lock in catch wrestling.

Face Lock

If you wanna learn an unconventional submission look no further than the catch wrestling face lock. Of course, this is one of those techniques that might get you into a fight if you try it during a bjj class. However, it can be a very effective submission when done properly. Just make sure you do it with the right partners and that you learn how to do it safely.

Here is an example from Josh Barnett!

Toe Hold

One of the main types of submissions that come to mind with catch wrestling is toe holds. Toe holds can be a very effective submission and you can attack them in many different ways. Though it might be difficult to pull off a toe hold on an experienced grappler, often a novice grappler will simply tap because they do not know what to do.

That said, if you get a good position you can submit advanced grapplers with a toe hold. Here are a few examples of catch wrestling toe holds from Erik Paulson! If you are not familiar with Eric Paulson he is one of the greatest Catch Wrestling instructors alive today.

Bulldog Choke

The bulldog choke is probably my favorite catch wrestling submission. For all of you UFC fans you might remember the famous fight between Ben Askren and Robbie Lawler. In the opening of the first round, Robbie Lawler almost knocks out Ben Askren but he is able to compose himself and ends up submitting Robbie Lawler with a bulldog choke.

This is a great catch submission that has been effective in both MMA and grappling. Many people do not like the bulldog choke because they think it is better to simply take their opponents back. However, I have personally found that most people are expecting that and the bulldog choke can catch your opponent off guard.

Neck Cranks

Neck cranks are catch wrestling submissions that you wanna make sure you know how to safely implement. In addition, you want to make sure your training partners are ok with neck cranks. Of course, they are expected if you are in a catch wrestling school. However, they might get you into a fight if you try them in BJJ class.

That said, under certain grappling rulesets many neck cranks are allowed. Just make sure you do them the right way, in the right place, and at the right time. Here are some great examples for Erik Paulson.

Calf Slicer

The calf slicer is a catch wrestling submission that has gained a lot of popularity lately. This is mostly because many no-gi BJJ players have adopted this catch wrestling submission into their arsenal. Check out this video of the calf slicer from Eric Paulson!

How To Learn These Catch Wrestling Submissions

If you don’t have a catch wrestling school in your area ( which is true for most people ) the next best thing would be to find an online course.

Some great digital catch wrestling programs can be found online. Here is a list of my favorite catch wrestling instructionals to learn from. 

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