Power Submissions

(originally published April 2007 in Gladiator magazine)

Story and photos by Todd Hester

Josh Barnett and Erik Paulson

If there is a dynamic duo in today’s diverse world of mixed martial arts it is Erik Paulson and Josh Barnett.

Widely regarded as the best American cagefighter, and one of the top three or four top fighters in the world at any weight, Barnett is currently living in Fullerton, California and teaching and training out of Erik Paulson’s Combat Submission Wrestling Training Center at 4080 North Palm Ave.  #801, Fullerton, CA 92835. 818-915-3225.

Barnett is a rare breed of fighter who combines size, strength, agility, and quickness and who is known for his power submissions. Former world Shooto champion Erik Paulson, the Butch Cassidy to Barnett’s Sundance Kid, is one of the most technical no-gi submission experts of all time with a worldwide following.

Since both fought for years in Japan, it is no surprise that their techniques are heavily based on the Karl Gotch influenced submission style. Because of this they share very common grappling traits that utilize power submissions from a strong base position.

For information on training with Erik Paulson and Josh Barnett at the CSW Training Center, or arranging wordlwide seminars, email erik@erikpaulson.com

Bottom Position Key-Lock

Josh Barnett is caught on the bottow with his opponent passing his guard (1). As his opponent moves to cross-side, Barnett traps the wrist (2). Securing his opponent’s arm with a double-wrist lock (3), Barnett then rolls onto his back and bridges upward while applying pressure for the submission (4).

Cross-Side Bent Arm-Lock

Erik Paulson controls his opponent from cross-side (1). He traps his opponent’s right biceps (2), controls his head with his knee (3), then moves to north-south position with a double-wrist lock (4). He then releases the grip while controlling the forearm (5), keeps his opponent from escaping by pressuring his head (6), underhooks the elbow and traps the wrist with his knee (7), and then leans back (opposite view) to lock-in the submission (8).

North-South Bent Arm-Lock

Erik Paulson controls his opponent from cross-side (1). He overhooks his opponent’s arm and controls the wrist (2), then grabs his own wrist for the double-wrist lock (3). Quickly releasing the grip, Paulson grabs his biceps (4), and then spins to north-south position for the submission (5).

Top Control Ankle-Lock

Josh Barnett controls his opponent with an underhooked double wrist-lock (1). Barnett steps over the head to prevent an escape (2), then releases the position and slides down to grab the leg (3). Wrapping both of his legs around his opponent’s leg to trap it (4), Barnett squeezes his legs together and then leans back and extends the knee for the tapout (5). As an option, Barnett can also reach around the foot for a toe-hold submission (6).

1 thought on “Power Submissions”

  1. There is a guy at my gym who is a blue belt that has been doing the bottom position keylock as a side control escape for the past few months and he hits it with a lot of consistency. I’m glad to see it on here at a viable and teachable technique. Very impressive, as always.

    Also, I loved the most recent intereview on the Open Mat podcast. Let’s see more interviews with CSW guys!

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