Hardest BJJ Submissions (Surprise Your Rolling Partners)

BJJ prides itself on being the submission-based martial art on the planet. Naturally, some are easier to do, while others require elaborate setups and control over multiple joints to work. But which are the hardest BJJ submissions?

The gogoplata, omoplata, Pace choke, twister, and Darce choke are among the hardest BJJ submissions to finish. Each has something that makes it challenging to execute and finish successfully, making them rarely seen in competition.

Each BJJ player is different, and what’s easy for one can be impossible for another. Still, when a submission is so rare in competition that it becomes an event when successful, then we can agree it is a complicated technique. This shouldn’t keep you away from these advanced moves, though. If you have what it takes, they can become your secret weapon.

What Makes A Submission Hard to Finish?

Like any martial art, there are basic and advanced techniques. Many BJJ submissions are considered advanced because they depend on certain physical traits only some have, usually flexibility. Others require longer limbs to wrap around the opponent. Then others may require more strength to apply enough pressure.

This is why submissions like the rear naked choke and armbar are among the most commonly used because anyone can do them.

Some people become specialists in “hard” submissions. Still, these moves can be considered difficult to pull off based on a few factors. The most important one we have already covered is flexibility. You need very mobile hips, knees, and ankles to lock some of the submissions on the list.

The other main factor is how the submission is set up. Multistage moves requiring you to make big moves and control the opponent at the different stages are much more complex than, say, a guillotine, where the opponent can often put himself into. But he will surely not end up in an omoplata by accident.

The Hardest BJJ Submissions


The gogoplata is one of the least attempted and finished submissions in BJJ and MMA. It is a very advanced move rarely used, even in high-level competition. The good news about the gogoplata is that once it’s locked, it’s tough to get out of, making it very effective for those who can pull it off in the first place.

The gogoplata is a painful choke where you place your shin on the opponent’s throat and pull his head with your hands, preferably aiding the pressure with the other leg. Unlike most chokes restricting the blood flow, the gogoplata targets the windpipe. This submission is usually done from full guard, but the rubber guard is a much better and more natural starting point.

MMA has a few notable uses of the gogoplata, like the famous Nick Diaz submissions over Takanori Gomi at Pride 33. But the true master of the gogoplata is Shinya Aoki.

What Makes it Difficult

Most of all, flexibility. The gogoplata has specific physical demands inaccessible for many BJJ practitioners, even at the higher levels. The final positions place a lot of stress on the ankle, knee, and hips, requiring exceptional flexibility in these joints.

So, to even attempt the gogoplata, you need to have the necessary flexibility. Then you must worry about setting it up, defending against counterattacks, and finishing the submission.

Pace Choke

Like many submissions named after the man who used them, this modification of the pillory choke has been named the Pace choke after UFC fighter Nick Pace became the first person to pull it off in an MMA fight.

It is a modification of the triangle choke but without the need to control the arm of the opponent. The choke happens by applying pressure on the top of the head with your leg and the forearm on the neck. With enough pressure, the forearm crushes the trachea.

Here is how the Pace choke was created, along with instructions on how to do it by the man himself:

What Makes it Difficult

As such a rare maneuver, most people have yet to try the Pace choke, so it’s not commonly drilled. Then again, you need a certain level of knee and hip flexibility. Furthermore, the opponent is not very likely to stay and wait to be strangled, so the Pace choke is not something you could easily lock against higher-level opposition.

The Twister

The Twister combines a neck crank and a spinal manipulation, making it one of the most painful submissions you can find yourself in. To pull off the twister, you must rotate your opponent’s spine by controlling their lower body with your legs while cranking their neck, driving their head towards their shoulder in the opposite direction their lower body faces.

The twister was originally a wrestling move, but Eddie Bravo is the one who introduced it to BJJ with heavy modifications. It is a very powerful move, but it’s also very dangerous and can cause serious trauma to the spine.

On top of that, it’s banned from most BJJ tournaments because it’s both a neck crank and a spine manipulation technique, techniques categories not allowed under the IBJJF ruleset. In no-gi submission grappling, however, the Twister is fair game.

We’ve also seen a few twisters in MMA. Pulling it off in the cage is an eye-catching way of winning the match.

The Korean zombie was the first to finish a twister in an MMA match, and there have been a few successful twisters after that, but it remains a rare treat in BJJ and MMA.

What Makes it Difficult

First of all, neck and spine cranks are not trained much because they are painful and very dangerous, and it’s hard to pull off in a match something you haven’t drilled.

Then the twister is a complex submission requiring multiple steps and specific conditions to be met. Starting from half back, it’s easy for the opponent to turn into half guard. You need to control the opponent’s legs and arms, making the Twister a complicated move to master.


The omoplata, also known as ashi sankaku garami in judo (leg triangle entanglement) and a coil lock in catch wrestling, is a technique in which you use your legs and hips to attack the opponent’s shoulder joint. The omoplata is a kind of Kimura lock. But, instead of doing a figure-four configuration with your arms, you do it with the legs.

You must position your leg beneath your opponent’s armpit and turn 180 degrees. This causes your leg to travel across the back of the other person and over their arm, placing them in a superb submission position and allowing you to set up more moves.

What Makes it Difficult

Grapples like Clark Gracie have become specialists at finishing people with an omoplata. Still, overall, it’s a very rare move to see. First, it’s done from the guard, and you must break the opponent’s posture enough, which is problematic.

Then it requires too big of a move leaving a lot of time for the opponent to escape. It’s difficult to both move into position and control his posture.

Darce Choke

The Darce choke, also known as the Brabo choke and screw choke, is a very powerful move but one that looks deceptively simple. The name Darce comes from American grappler Joe D’arce who popularized the move in BJJ.

The Darce choke is performed by applying an inverted triangle against the opponent’s neck. This way, you choke him with your forearm on one side, and on the other, with his own shoulder, cutting the blood flow to his brain. It is very similar to the Anakonda choke but with reversed hand positions.

What Makes it Difficult

On the surface, the Darce choke looks much easier to do than the rest of the moves on this list, but it is quite hard to finish. First, it requires long arms. Otherwise, you must readjust the position, giving the opponent time to escape.

Then finishing the submission is also difficult because it requires pressure on the right spot on the shoulder. You must press his shoulder with your hips at the right angle entirely by feel, which takes a lot of practice to do correctly.

What Is The Hardest Submission To Get Out Of?

Getting out of submission holds is as integral as applying them, and just like some moves are hard to pull off, some are very hard to get out of. This category is also very subjective because it depends on physical attributes and personal traits. Some people have flexible joints and can withstand gruesome-looking joint locks like armbars and knee bars.

Others have barrel necks and huge traps, and it’s hard to choke them. But some submissions are just too hard to escape from for anybody.

In my opinion, the rear naked choke and the twister are two of the hardest to get out of. A fully locked rear naked choke cuts off the blood flow very quickly, and the level of control the opponent has from the back leaves you with very few defensive options. It’s no coincidence it’s the most commonly finished submission in MMA.

On the other hand, the twister is just one of the most devastating submissions you can apply. Suffering a broken arm is bad, but suffering a spinal fracture, neck fracture, or dislocation can leave you paralyzed.

Once locked in, there is no escaping from the twister, and I strongly urge you not to test your resolve in this situation and tap as quickly as your hands allow you to. Unlike chokes, neck cranks can have very serious consequences.