“Position before submission” is one of the oldest sayings in BJJ and it’s one that you’ll likely hear repeated in every gym across the planet, but John Danaher believes there are some exceptions to the rule. As he explained in a recent post to his official Instagram account, there’s several very good reasons for the popularity of it as the saying does make perfect sense. In fact, Danaher has even gone on record in the past as supporting the general principle’s effectiveness and elaborating on how it can also apply to leglocks as well as upper-body submissions.
This time around he chose attacking the back as the position to use as an example of his theory, and it’s the one where his theory really is most applicable. The general idea is that it’s better to secure the back position by working your hooks in and getting a stable upper-body control like the the traditional seatbelt grip, before you start actually attacking the choke. As Danaher explains, this approach allows you to launch repeated attacks from a stable position and wear your opponent down over time as opposed to relying on an all-or-nothing single attack.
Given that the back position is generally the best position to attack from, especially for women grappling with men or smaller-men in the absolute division, it makes sense to try and stay there for as long as possible while you’re attacking. But John Danaher believes that attacking the choke in transition can sometimes be the preferable method of getting the submission when training with or competing against experienced grapplers. This is essentially because they will likely be comfortable defending from their back and capable of lasting there for a very long time, but may not be quick enough defending the choke before you take the back.