Have you ever been rolling with someone and they have you in mount? You feel their hand reach into your collar, and then something weird happens. You’re given a gift. Space to sneak out. It seems too good to be true that someone could make such a mistake. You think for a moment on what you’re going to do with this newfound opportunity and then you take it. Before you suspect anything you’re gi tightens around your neck forcing you to tap. What went wrong?

In short, everything went according to plan, just not yours. It was a well-placed trap by your partner. You were given a “gift” by your opponent to bait you into moving a certain way so they could submit you. As you progress in your jiu-jitsu journey, setting traps becomes part of your repertoire. 

How Do You Set A Trap?

There is no correct way to set a trap and is something I’ve struggled to do consistently, but it happens very often to me. Here are the two things I’ve noticed:


  • Pressure! – When I’m given a gift, I am fighting for my life. I have fought off a few submission attempts, which has caused me to be in a vulnerable position.
  • Space – Just when I think things are their bleakest, my opponent gives me some space (they also have their hands in my collar, but it’s something I don’t often pay attention to because my brain thinks I’m finally free.)


(You can read more about this in a great post from Jon here)

Don’t Take The “Gift”

When you’re just starting out in jiu-jitsu, you’re going to get caught in traps. Lots of them. And that’s OK. It takes some getting used to and doesn’t always result in success (because sometimes the first “gift” is the set-up to something else), but I will often force myself to find another escape route. 

So while it is the giving season, it’s important you be wary of the “gifts” you’re given in jiu-jitsu.