Can Opener Submission: Tips, Guides and Resources

The can opener BJJ submission is a useful technique to force an opponent to open their closed guard. Primarily a spinal lock, this submission puts pressure on the neck and spine, making it an efficient, albeit controversial, move in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with this technique, both to increase your arsenal and to learn to defend against it.

When applying the can opener submission, you’ll grip your opponent’s collar or head with both hands while simultaneously pulling their head towards you and pushing their body away using your legs. Although this move is effective, it’s important to note that it may not be legal in all grappling competitions due to its potential for injury. Nevertheless, incorporating the can opener into your training offers an additional option for controlling an opponent and opening their guard.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the can opener BJJ submission, it’s time to further explore the technique and delve into its applications. Keep in mind the potential risks and ensure proper training to minimize injuries while mastering this potent submission move. Remember, knowledge is power, and understanding various submissions will make you a more well-rounded and formidable BJJ practitioner.

Understanding BJJ and the Can Opener Submission

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a ground-based martial art that emphasizes the use of leverage, technique, and submissions to overcome opponents. As a practitioner, you’ll learn to work your way through a variety of positions and techniques. One submission to be familiar with is the Can Opener. This submission hold can be a powerful and effective way to submit your opponent, especially if used correctly.

The Can Opener submission is typically applied from the guard position. To execute this move, you need to grip your opponent’s collar or head with both hands. Then, pull their head towards you while simultaneously pushing their body away with your legs. This creates a “lever” effect, placing pressure on their neck and spine.

It’s important to note that, although the Can Opener can be an effective submission tool in certain situations, it does have some drawbacks. One major concern is the risk of injury to your opponent’s neck and spine. Due to the level of pressure this move can generate, it is essential to apply the technique carefully and responsibly. Additionally, while attempting the Can Opener submission, you might leave yourself open to counterattacks from your opponent. Skilled BJJ practitioners can take advantage of the opportunity to pass your guard or set up their own submissions.

To defend against the Can Opener, focus on maintaining a strong and active guard. By controlling your opponent’s posture and constantly making adjustments to your position, you can minimize the leverage they have to apply the submission. It is also helpful to be familiar with various escapes and counters to the Can Opener so that you are well-prepared to deal with it if your opponent attempts the technique.

In conclusion, the Can Opener is a submission technique that has its place within the arsenal of BJJ submissions. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution when applying it, due to the potential risk of injury. As with any technique in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, practice and continuous improvement are key to mastering the Can Opener and other submissions. Keep training and honing your skills, and you’ll develop the confidence and knowledge necessary to use these techniques effectively in both competition and self-defense situations.

Mechanics of the Can Opener Submission

Pain and Pressure on the Neck

The can opener submission is known for causing significant pain and pressure on the neck. When you apply this technique, you aim to create an uncomfortable and painful situation for your opponent, often forcing them to open their closed guard. It’s crucial to understand that the can opener works as a spinal lock/neck crank, meaning that its effectiveness largely relies on the pressure applied to the opponent’s neck.

Applying Leverage and Control

To execute the can opener submission properly, you need to use leverage and control against your opponent. You should grip your opponent’s collar or head with both hands and pull their head towards you. Simultaneously, push their body away with your legs, creating a “lever” effect. This lever effect puts more pressure on their neck and spine, making it harder for them to resist the submission and increasing the chance of them opening their guard.

Variations in the Technical Execution

There are several variations in the technical execution of the can opener submission that you can explore. Some techniques focus more on the neck crank aspect, while others emphasize the use of leverage and control, as previously mentioned. It’s essential to experiment with different variations to find the most effective approach for your grappling style and body type.

Remember to be cautious when practicing the can opener submission, as the technique can potentially cause severe injury if applied incorrectly. Ensure that you refine your skills and carefully apply the necessary pain, leverage, and pressure for the can opener to be an effective tool in your grappling arsenal.

Controversy Around The Can Opener in BJJ

Are Can Openers Dangerous?

Can openers have been a topic of debate in the BJJ community due to their potential to cause injury. As a spinal lock, the can opener targets the neck and spine, applying pressure to force an opponent to open their guard. While this technique can be effective in certain situations, there are concerns about the safety of using can openers in BJJ practice or competitions.

The main issue is that neck cranks, such as the can opener, can be dangerous. They pose a higher risk of injury to the spine and neck than other submissions. The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), which sets the rules for many BJJ competitions, has banned the use of neck cranks, including can openers. This ban is a precautionary measure to protect competitors from potential harm.

Can Openers and Injuries

Injuries can occur when using can openers in BJJ, particularly if the technique is applied with excessive force or if the opponent is unprepared for the submission. The most common issues associated with can openers are damage to the spine, such as herniated discs, and neck injuries. These kinds of injuries can be severe and may require extensive recovery time.

To reduce the risk of injury, it is essential to practice can openers under the supervision of an experienced instructor and ensure that both you and your training partners understand the proper technique and safety precautions. Additionally, be aware of the potential dangers and know when to tap out if you find yourself in a can opener submission during training or competition.

Defending Against the Can Opener Submission

Guard Positioning Techniques

To effectively defend against the can opener submission, it’s important to optimize your guard positioning. In the closed guard position, make sure your legs are wrapped tightly around your opponent’s waist, applying pressure with your thighs. This hampers their ability to apply the can opener and provides a stable base for you to work from. Additionally, maintain a strong grip on their collar or arms to help you control their movement and posture.

Understanding and Breaking Grips

A crucial aspect of defending against the can opener submission is recognizing and breaking your opponent’s grips. When your opponent attempts to grip your head or collar, it’s essential to act quickly and decisively to break their hold. One technique to achieve this is the two-on-one grip break, where you use both your hands to grab their wrist, pulling it away from your head and creating space. This can help neutralize their grip and disrupt their attempt to apply the can opener submission.

Counters and Escapes

Lastly, having a repertoire of counters and escapes is invaluable for defending against the can opener submission. One effective counter is to use your legs to create a lever effect by pulling their head towards you while simultaneously pushing their body away with your legs. This can relieve the pressure on your neck and spine.

Besides counters, it’s important to have escapes at your disposal. For instance, you can employ one of the three advisable escapes against the can opener neck crank. These include bridging and rolling your opponent over, sliding your head out from underneath their grip, or transitioning to another dominant position such as the armbar.

By focusing on proper guard positioning, understanding and breaking grips, and utilizing counters and escapes, you can effectively defend against the can opener BJJ submission, ensuring your safety and success on the mat.

The Can Opener Submission in Different BJJ and MMA Competitions

Gi and No-Gi Submissions

In both gi and no-gi grappling competitions, the can opener is generally seen as a technique to force your opponent to open their closed guard. It may not be the most technical guard break, but it can be effective nonetheless. The technique involves gripping your opponent’s head or collar with both hands and then pulling their head towards you while simultaneously pushing their body away with your legs, creating a “lever” effect that puts pressure on their neck and spine. However, it’s important to note that in some competitions like ADCC, the can opener may be considered a neck crank and is, therefore, illegal, so be aware of the specific rules in your competition.

Can Openers in MMA

In mixed martial arts (MMA), you will find that the can opener is less frequently used as a submission and more as a tool to set up other techniques. In an MMA setting, fighters with strong grappling backgrounds like GSP have used the can opener to set up strikes and further advance their position. Since both fighters in MMA are usually competent in defensive grappling, finishing a can opener submission becomes less likely.

Famous BJJ Practitioners and Their Techniques

World-renowned grappling instructor John Danaher emphasizes the importance of technical proficiency in opening the guard rather than relying on pain-based techniques like the can opener. His approach encourages using leverage and maintaining control throughout the process.

On the other hand, some fighters like Jeff Monson, a grappling veteran, have successfully utilized can openers in professional matches. Though his preference was for a more pressure-based game, his strength and tenacity allowed him to utilize the can opener effectively in both BJJ and MMA settings.

In conclusion, the can opener BJJ submission has its place in competitions, both in grappling and MMA. Familiarize yourself with the specific rules of your competition to ensure you’re not penalized for attempting this submission. While it might not be the most technical option, the can opener can be an effective means of forcing your opponent to open their guard and create opportunities for transition.

Training and Safety Measures for BJJ and Can Opener

Training with a Partner

When practicing the Can Opener submission in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), it is essential to have a trusted training partner. Your partner should be someone who understands the technique well and can provide feedback on your execution. Remember that communication is key; always inform your partner of any discomfort or pain when performing the Can Opener, as this can help prevent injuries.

Protecting the Spine and Neck

The Can Opener submission primarily targets the spine and neck, making it crucial to prioritize safety when training or applying this technique. To protect your spine and neck, ensure that you:

  • Warm up properly before practicing the Can Opener. This will help to increase blood flow and prevent muscle and ligament strains.
  • Maintain good posture throughout the technique. Keep your head in a neutral position and avoid bending or twisting your neck excessively.
  • Listen to your body when training. If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop immediately and re-evaluate your technique.

What Submissions are Disqualified or Banned

In BJJ competitions, some submissions are considered dangerous and are either disqualified or banned to ensure the safety of participants. Neck cranks, for example, often fall into this category. The Can Opener submission, being a spinal lock, is often frowned upon or even banned in some competitions.

Before entering a competition, make sure to familiarize yourself with the specific ruleset and forbidden techniques, as these tend to vary across different organizations. Practicing disallowed techniques or disregarding bans may lead to disqualification or even injury to your opponent. It’s crucial to prioritize safety and respect the rules at all times.

Other Submissions in BJJ

From Arm Bars to Chokes

In BJJ, there are a variety of submissions that you can use to gain leverage and control over your opponent. One of the most popular and effective is the arm bar, a joint lock that hyperextends your opponent’s elbow. The arm bar can be executed from various positions like mount, closed guard, side control, and knee on belly.

Chokes are another essential part of your BJJ arsenal, with various types to master. The kimura is a powerful submission that targets the shoulder joint, while the omoplata focuses on the elbow and shoulder. The bulldog choke can be used to control your opponent’s neck and limit their mobility.

Exploring Leg Locks

Leg locks offer another group of submissions to add to your repertoire. The heel hook is a particularly dangerous technique, applying rotational force to the opponent’s ankle and knee. While it is often restricted in competition, it remains an effective maneuver in self-defense scenarios.

Another common leg lock is the kneebar, which applies pressure to your opponent’s knee joint by extending their leg. It is similar to an arm bar but executed on the leg, and it is a highly valuable submission to have in your arsenal.

Incorporating Submissions into Your Training

Understanding and mastering various submissions is essential to excel in BJJ. To efficiently incorporate them into your training, you should focus on practicing different techniques and drilling them with your training partners. Make sure you maintain a balance of studying and practicing arm bars, chokes, leg locks, and other submissions that could come in handy during bouts.

By honing your skills and expanding your knowledge of submissions, you will become a more versatile and well-rounded BJJ practitioner. A theoretical understanding is vital, but the practical application will enable you to make the most of your training sessions and improve your performance in competitions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the risks of using the can opener neck crank?

Using the can opener neck crank comes with risks, particularly for your opponent. One risk is the potential for causing severe injury to the neck, such as intervertebral disc damage, muscle strains, or ligament sprains. It’s essential to be cautious and careful in training, since the line between a safe and dangerous can opener can be thin.

Which BJJ submissions are similar to the can opener?

The can opener submission is a type of neck crank, and other similar techniques include the guillotine, the rear naked choke, and the anaconda choke. Like the can opener, these submissions apply pressure to the neck, making them effective but potentially dangerous.

Is the can opener technique considered legal in BJJ competitions?

In most BJJ competitions, the can opener technique is considered illegal within certain divisions and age groups. It’s often classified as a type of “spinal lock” or “neck crank,” which are generally prohibited under the rules of BJJ competitions. However, there might be exceptions, so always make sure to familiarize yourself with the specific rules of the event you are participating in.

How does the can opener submission relate to other grappling techniques?

The can opener submission is a type of neck crank, which is a category of grappling techniques that include submissions targeting the cervical spine. While neck cranks can be simple to understand, they require proper knowledge and execution to avoid causing injury. The can opener technique is often used as a setup for other submissions and may help you gain positional advantage.

What are some common setups and transitions from the can opener submission?

The can opener submission can be utilized as a transition to other techniques. For example, applying the can opener pressure may force the opponent to react by opening their guard, allowing you to pass or attempt other submissions like the armbar or triangle choke. It is important to practice and explore various transitions from the can opener in order to expand your grappling arsenal and create more opportunities for success.

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