Reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion, “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, has proven that her Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills are top-notch with six of her nine career victories coming by submission.
As the youngest female mixed martial arts world champion in history, the 23-year-old has proven to possess a thorough understanding of the “gentle art” since her professional debut, kickstarting her career by winning her first five bouts with ONE Championship, pulling off a wide array of submission techniques such as armbars and rear-naked chokes.
She even pulled off the ultra-difficult Twister, a rare move in the mixed martial arts cage.
And when she isn’t forcing her opponents to tap, Lee is also guiding the next generation of young martial artists.
Lee shares her expertise and experience by teaching a BJJ class at her family-owned gym, United MMA, in Hawaii. If you’re training in BJJ and want to get a few pointers from Lee herself, look no further. Here Lee shares five tips to improve your ground game.
The submission you are attempting may not always succeed. If your opponent has properly prepared for that move, it would be nice to have a back-up plan to transition into so as not to waste your energy. Having knowledge of multiple holds and locks is a skill set that can lead you to victory.
“Have different options when you go for a submission,” Lee says.
“If option A does not work out, then go straight into option B, and if that does not work out, then go into option C. Have some different go-to’s. Also, flow from one transition into the other. And making that transition time shorter is what will make the difference in your technique.”
Know Your Inner Grappler
Some grapplers like to be on top, while others prefer the opposite. It’s a matter of where you are most comfortable, and whichever position you excel in can give you a decided advantage.
“It is important to know what kind of grappling your style is,” she begins.
“Know what positions you prefer, like if you are more of a top person or if you are more of a bottom person, and then obviously use that to your advantage.”
Rushing into submission is mostly an ineffective way to secure a lock that takes a huge amount of energy and can make you weak, thus unable to perform at your full strength. Bide your time and pounce on the opportunity as it opens up.
“Being patient is important because, with certain positions, it takes time, especially with chokes,” she says.
“It is going to take time to sink in, a couple of seconds, and sometimes if you just give up straight away, then you could lose that submission. So just be patient.”
Understand Your Immediate Situation
A regular mixed martial arts bout is composed of three rounds of five minutes each while a world title bout has an additional two rounds.
Assessing your current situation would tell you when to save and exert your energy may it be for offense or defense.
“Knowing when to scramble and knowing when to rest is important because, during a match or a bout, there are certain key moments where you need to scramble and cannot stay in that position,” the champ explains.
“Also, there are certain moments where it is ok to catch your breath and it is ok to rest.”
Commit To Your Submission
In a fast-paced sport, there are opportunities where a limb is exposed for you to slip in a submission hold. Once you quickly go in, make sure to commit as this opportunity may not present itself again in the future.
“If you are going to commit to a type of submission or try to use a technique in the moment, do it the right way and try to do it 100 percent first, because sometimes people put on techniques half-heartedly and it doesn’t end up working,” she explains.
“When you are drilling techniques, it is different. But in a match or a bout, you have to go full speed, like slap that armbar on and crank it. With all the adrenaline that goes on in a bout, sometimes people can power out of it. So learning to apply the submission, but also to follow through with it, is what you are going to have to do.”
Featured Image via ONE Championship